Clayton F. Zeller-Townson is a bassoonist, ensemble leader and educator living between New York and Los Angeles.
A performer of early bassoons, he plays with the leading period instrument ensembles in North America including Tafelmusik, The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists and Musica Angelica. With a deep passion for contemporary music, Clay has produced and premiered many new works for early instruments. From 2011-2016 he taught at The North Carolina Governor’s School as Instrumental Music Faculty where he developed a curriculum for gifted high school students centered around exposure to contemporary music, improvisation exercises, composition projects and listening development. He has given masterclasses at The University of Missouri and The Eastman School of Music.
Clay was born in Nova Scotia, raised in eastern North Carolina, and found his way to the baroque bassoon by way of the tenor saxophone. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from The Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School.
Paul Holmes Morton is native to Pennsylvania, growing up his first musical veneration was American folk music.
His studies began in earnest under the direction of the Cuban guitar virtuoso Ernesto Tamayo.While studying in conservatory, Paul Holmes was introduced to baroque performance practice and was captivated by the variation in tone and texture of ancient instruments as well as the improvisatory collaboration of the musical process.
With a variety of plucked string instruments in hand, he works to research and refine the musical practice of the past centuries, and strives with equal passion to discover the possibilities of such instruments in today’s musical language and culture. Paul Holmes performs and records with the hope and belief that music, as a temporal form of art, has the ability to lend a moment of articulation and consonance to the present day noise.
Praised by The Strad as “stylish and accomplished,” internationally respected viola da gamba player and cellist Shirley Hunt embraces an eclectic musical life as a soloist, chamber musician, and continuo player. Ms. Hunt has performed and recorded with the nation’s leading period instrument ensembles including Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Musica Angelica, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Bach Collegium San Diego. Ms. Hunt performs regularly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the renaissance ensemble Sonnambula, and appears in recital annually at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, where she is an artist in residence. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Ms. Hunt was born into a musical family and is the younger sister of the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
Elliot Figg is a keyboardist, conductor, and composer from Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of the Historical Performance Program at The Juilliard School where he studied harpsichord with Kenneth Weiss. He has also studied with Arthur Haas at the Yale School of Music. Elliot is an active member of several New York-based early music and contemporary ensembles, including Ruckus, ACRONYM, New York Baroque Incorporated and New Vintage Baroque. Recent engagements include: Conductor and harpsichordist for L’Amant Anonyme with Little Opera Theatre of New York; assistant conductor and harpsichordist for Vivaldi’s Farnace, and Cavalli’s Veremonda, both with Spoleto Festival USA; and assistant conductor and harpsichordist for Dido and Aeneas with L.A Opera. Elliot received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music composition from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Cindy McTee, Joseph Klein and harpsichord with Leonora McCroskey.
Doug Balliett is a composer, instrumentalist and poet based in New York City. The New York Times has described his poetry as “brilliant and witty” (Clytie and the Sun), his bass playing as “elegant” (Shawn Jaeger’s In Old Virginny), and his compositions as “vivid, emotive, with contemporary twists” (Actaeon).
Popular new music blog I Care if You Listen has critiqued Mr. Balliett’s work as “weird in the best possible way” (A Gnostic Passion) and “light-hearted yet dark…it had the audience laughing one minute and in tears the next…” (Pyramus and Thisbe). He is a tireless performer of new music, and is professor of baroque bass and violone at the Juilliard School. With a constant stream of commissions, a weekly show on New York Public Radio, and nearly 200 performances per year, Mr. Balliett has been identified as an emerging voice for his generation.
We’ve teamed up with our ongoing collaborator and “bona-fide star” Anthony Roth Costanzo for a recital of repertoire for voice and continuo. Anthony has a viscerally dramatic and sensitive approach to baroque music that really complements our own way of doing things.
The recital is structured around three works that sort of show a development of the solo voice cantata. Our earliest work, Sigismondo D’India’s Infelice Didone, depicts Dido’s inner world right before her death on the pyre, and is a stunning example of the early baroque style of dramatic musical declamation. Zoom forward a hundred years or so and we have the tight structure and trademark vivid effects of Vivaldi in his dark and stormy Qual per Ignoto Calle. Sitting squarely between the two is Scarlatti’s O Pace del Mio Cor, which moves seamlessly between recitative and song, and has perhaps the most gentle touch on this program.
In between these pillars, there’s a delicious and sensual Purcell song (because we want to) and a sprinkling of instrumental works along the way to keep the textures changing.
Antonio Vivaldi Qual Per Ignoto Calle
Alessandro Scarlatti O Pace del Mio Cor
Sigismondo D’India Infelice Didone
Henry Purcell ‘Tis Nature’s Voice
with additional instrumental music by Vivaldi, Saint-Colombe and Marcello.
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (NY)
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo began performing professionally at the age of 11 and has since appeared in opera, concert, recital, film, and on Broadway. He is an exclusive recording artist with Decca Gold, and his first album will be released in September of 2018.
Costanzo has appeared with many of the world’s leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Dallas Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Spoleto Festival USA, Glimmerglass Festival and Finnish National Opera. In concert he has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed at a wide-ranging variety of venues including Carnegie Hall, Versailles, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, Minamiza Kyoto, Joe’s Pub, The Guggenheim, The Park Avenue Armory, and Madison Square Garden.
Costanzo is a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and won first prize in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his role in a Merchant Ivory film. He has begun working as a producer and curator in addition to a performer, creating shows for National Sawdust, Opera Philadelphia, the Philharmonia Baroque, Princeton University, WQXR, The State Theater in Salzburg, Master Voices and Kabuki-Za Tokyo. Costanzo graduated from Princeton University where he has returned to teach, and he received his masters from the Manhattan School of Music. In his youth he performed on Broadway and alongside Luciano Pavarotti.
featuring cantatas, madrigals, arias and instrumental works by
COUPERIN SCARLATTI SAINTE-COLOMBE VIVALDI
PURCELL D’INDIA FORQUERAY HANDEL
Caramoor Center for Music and Arts
April 22nd, 2018, 3pm