Seattle Baroque Soloists
This stellar touring ensemble features five principal players from the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, who capture all the passion, virtuosity, and magic of Seattle’s own world-class orchestra in a distilled form.
SBO directors Ingrid Matthews and Byron Schenkman are joined by violinist Tekla Cunningham, cellist Nathan Whittaker, and lutenist John Lenti, forming a chamber group of Baroque specialists who will represent SBO beyond its beloved home city.
The formation of the Seattle Baroque Soloists is an exciting new step in the continued partnership between the Early Music Guild and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. Together, we’ll continue to spread the joy and vitality of the music you love!
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Ingrid Matthews is the Music Director of Seattle Baroque Orchestra and one of today’s most respected baroque violinists. First prize-winner in the 1989 Erwin Bodky International Competition for Early Music, Matthews has performed extensively around the world as soloist, guest director or concertmaster with many leading period-instrument ensembles including the New York Collegium, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Tafelmusik and many others. She founded the Seattle Baroque Orchestra in 1994 with harpsichordist Byron Schenkman. Among the most-recorded baroque violinists of her generation, Matthews has won international critical acclaim for a discography which ranges from the earliest solo violin repertoire through the Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach. Of the latter recording the critic for American Record Guide writes “this superb recording is my top recommendation for this music… on either modern or period instruments.” . She has served on the faculties of the University of Toronto, the University of Washington, Indiana University, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the International Baroque Institute at Longy and Amherst Early Music, and is currently on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Matthews is a graduate of Indiana University, where she studied with Josef Gingold and Stanley Ritchie.
Byron was voted “Best Classical Instrumentalist” by the readers of the Seattle Weekly in 2006. A recipient of the Erwin Bodky Award from the Cambridge Society for Early Music, Schenkman has recorded more than thirty CDs of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century repertory, including recordings on original instruments from the National Music Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As a pianist he has been a featured guest with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, the Daedalus Quartet, the Northwest Symphonietta, and Philharmonia Northwest. He has played solo piano recitals in Boston, New York, Peterborough (NH), Portland (OR), Seattle, Vancouver, Winston-Salem, and on a Chilean tour sponsored by Partners of the Americas. His CD of Haydn sonatas on modern piano (CRC 2806) has been acclaimed for its “elegance, wit, and refinement” (American Record Guide), “imagina¬tive, cleanly articulated form” (Seattle Times), and “astonishing sense of humor” (All Music Guide). In 2009 he participated in the Haydn and Mendelssohn bicentennial celebrations with performances at the Frick Collection in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Schenkman is a graduate of the New England Conservatory and received the Master of Music degree with honors in performance from the Indiana University School of Music.
John has performed on lute and theorbo across the United States and abroad and his performances have been broadcast on Performance Today and Harmonia. His playing has been cited as “a joy to behold” (Seattle Times) and praised for its “nuanced beauty and character” (Gramophone). His recording credits include And I remain…, an album of lute songs and lute solos with soprano Linda Tsatsanis, The Courtesan’s Arts for Oxford University Press, and The Amorous Lyre with La Monica. John plays continuo for the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and is a founding member of the ensembles Plaine & Easie and the I-90 Collective, besides maintaining a busy freelance career performing frequently on both coasts. He studied lute with Nigel North, Jacob Heringman, and Elizabeth Kenny and holds degrees from the North Carolina School of the Arts and Indiana University.
Tekla received her musical training at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory (where she studied History and German Literature in addition to violin), Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she completed a Master’s degree with Ian Swenson. She freelanced in Northern California and further afield with Apollo’s Fire, Los Angeles Opera, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Carmel Bach Festival and San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. She has appeared as concertmaster or soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and Musica Angelica (Los Angeles). An avid chamber musician, Tekla enjoys exploring the string quartet repertory of the 18th and early 19th century with the period-instrument Novello Quartet, with a special interest in the music of Haydn. She is also a member of La Monica, an ensemble dedicated to music of the 17th century, whose concerts have been reviewed as “sizzling”, and praised for their “irrepressible energy and pitch-perfect timing”. She can be heard on recordings with the American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Bach Choir, various movie soundtracks including Disney’s Casanova, as well as on La Monica’s recent release The Amorous Lyre, a recording of repertory of Merula and his contem¬poraries. Recent recordings include Wayne Horvitz’s new chamber opera Heartsong of Charging Elk, and the soundtrack of Valve Software’s latest video game Left 4 Dead. Since moving back home to Seattle in 2006, she founded the Whidbey Island Music Festival, a summer concert series presenting period-instrument performances of repertory ranging from Monteverdi to Beethoven. In Seattle, she plays with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Gallery Concerts, Pacific Operaworks and the Northwest Sinfonietta, and recently coached and led the University of Washington Orchestra in performances of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers. She is also pursuing Suzuki teacher training, and recently completed Book II training with Cathy Lee in San Francisco. She teaches Suzuki violin in both German and English, and is on the faculty of the Cornish College for the Arts where she teaches Baroque violin and coaches Baroque Performance Practices. When not playing the violin, Tekla enjoys gardening, baking and exploring printing techniques of the past, including letterpress and intaglio printing. She lives in Seattle with her husband David and son Sebastian.
Nathan has been described as “a soloist that was not merely good but rather extraordinary”, with “musicianship of the highest order.” (Sanford Springvale Journal Tribune) As a member of Plaine & Easie, he won the Grand “Unicorn” Prize in the 2009 EMA Medieval and Renaissance Competition. He has performed in early music festivals in Bloomington and Vancouver, and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Mr. Whittaker is a member of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and Pacific Baroque Orchestra, regularly performs with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and teaches at the Academy of Music Northwest. He can be heard on CBC broadcasts, and has recorded with the NPR and ATMA Classique labels. Graduating Cum Laude from Indiana University with a Bachelor and Masters of Music Degree in Cello Performance, currently Mr. Whittaker is a DMA candidate in cello performance with Toby Saks at the University of Washington. His private instructors have included Helga Winold, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Stanley Ritchie, and Peter Wiley.