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It takes a lot of talent and dedication to be a professional musician, and Sunday Baroque host Suzanne Bona invites some of the BEST to share their inspirations, challenges, and triumphs on her podcast SUNDAY BAROQUE CONVERSATIONS. These top-tier artists give a fascinating insider's look at what makes them tick, and what fuels their passion. Go to sundaybaroque.org for more information or subscribe to Sunday Baroque Conversations wherever you get your podcasts.
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Award-winning musician Shawn Okpebholo earned his degrees at the prestigious University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. But he credits his start in music to The Salvation Army church, where he received free music lessons as a child, and to his mother's tenacious support. The breadth of Dr. Okpebholo's work is extraordinary: chamber wor…
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From the time he was just a small child, Charles Wilson III – aka BLKBOK – showed extraordinary musical talent. The budding piano virtuoso's family nurtured his interests, which blossomed to include many genres of music: classical, hip-hop, rap, and much more. BLKBOK chose his name, in part, as a way to honor his admiration for Johann Sebastian Bac…
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"Being an artist is living a life of service." The words of Jessie Montgomery, who has earned acclaim, awards, and praise for her growing body of work as a composer, violinist, teacher, and activist. The musician credits her many teachers and mentors – and her parents – for opening up worlds to her. Jessie Montgomery shared stories about her experi…
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Scotland-based American conductor Kellen Gray is Assistant Conductor of the English National Opera and Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He's attuned to the orchestral repertory, including Bela Bartok, Antonin Dvorak, Aaron Copland, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. He's also passionate about championing African-diasporic comp…
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Grammy-nominated flutist Brandon Patrick George is a member of Imani Winds and has appeared as a soloist with soloist with the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Albany symphonies, American Composers Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, among others. He's also on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. Suzanne spoke with Brandon Patrick George ab…
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As a music lover, you may be familiar with Melvin Chen for his recordings of piano music by Dmitri Shostakovich or Ludwig van Beethoven. He put his double degrees from The Juilliard School to work as Professor in the Practice of Piano at Yale School of Music and is Director of Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, which is Yale's Summer School of Music. …
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Acclaimed harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani - the first and only harpsichordist to be named a BBC New Generation Artist, and the youngest ever recipient of the Wigmore Medal – is an outspoken and passionate advocate for his instrument. Although the harpsichord is most closely associated with baroque music, Mahan Esfanai’s repertory is large and diverse…
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Loki Karuna (formerly Garrett McQueen) began his life in music as a bassoonist, earning degrees in music and performing in orchestras. His passion for music and justice propelled his career as a musician, leading him to become a radio and podcast producer, and an activist. An eloquent storyteller, Loki Karuna spoke with Suzanne about his weekly pod…
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Howard Bass, Tina Chancey, and Susan Gaeta are the members of Trio Sefardi, a group they formed in 2010 to perform traditional songs of the Sephardim – the descendants of Jews exiled from Spain in 1492. They draw on their individual experience and expertise in many different genres of music, including jazz, folk, and early music, and they mine the …
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Tammy McCann loves music. She lives and breathes her craft, and starts each day acknowledging and celebrating Music's importance in her life. She talked with Suzanne about her life as a professional jazz singer, her start as an opera singer, and how playing the double bass is the instrument she feels she was meant to play.…
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Kelly Hall-Tompkins is a dynamo – full of energy, positivity, passion, and initiative. The talented violinist is an award-winning and acclaimed musician with an international career, as well as an entrepreneur, humanitarian, and social justice advocate who founded MUSIC KITCHEN – FOOD FOR THE SOUL. She brings together other professional musicians t…
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Award-winning and critically-acclaimed singer Elijah McCormack's repertory includes baroque music, contemporary music, and everything in between. He is a male soprano who grew up in a family in which music was and is an important priority – they all sing in the church choir, and his late father played viola in a local professional orchestra. (Growi…
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Lauren Rico is a veteran classical music broadcaster who keeps countless listeners across the United States company with her friendly, down-to-earth approach. In 2016 she started sharing her passion for classical music with a different audience: readers of romance novels. Beginning with her self-published erotic thriller, REVERIE – in which she set…
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For as long as I can remember, naysayers have been predicting the "death of classical music." Audiences are aging, and ticket sales are often a struggle for classical music concerts, and some people are concerned that the art form will "die" as a result. Andrew Ousley leaned into that fear when he established his concert series, THE DEATH OF CLASSI…
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Violinist Yanet Campbell Secades is featured on the 2023 recording BREAKING BARRIERS with Carlos Bastidas leading Ontario Pops Orchestra. The Camagüey, Cuba native is one of three up-and-coming young women instrumentalists performing as soloists in concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Yanet Campbell Secades joined Suzanne to chat…
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Alison DeSimone is a musicologist – someone who is a scholar of music and its relationship with a wide variety of other disciplines. She is an Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City – and she specializes in music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Alison DeSimone joined Suzanne to talk about what a musicologis…
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James O'Donnell is a Professor in the Practice of Organ at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level organ majors and other students in sacred music. He also directs a newly-established professional liturgical vocal ensemble at Yale. James O'Donnell brings to New Haven his exceptional …
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There's a particular type of collaboration that exists in a chamber music ensemble. The award-winning Catalyst Quartet's collaborative efforts involved choosing projects and conducting scholarly research that will have maximum impact in their mission to achieve unity and celebrate composers of color whose works have been overlooked by the tradition…
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The talented young pianist Clayton Stephenson's story is more than just an inspiring example of the power of music. It is also a story of tenacity and resourcefulness, and the importance of teachers and mentors. The New York City native loves to immerse himself in the work of the countless musicians he admires. Clayton Stephenson is currently enrol…
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Violinist Holly Mulcahy is concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony, and has previously held that position in other symphonic orchestras across the country. She is also a busy soloist and chamber musician who regularly performs at a maximum security prison. Holly Mulcahy is the founder and leader of an organization that strives to " … help people in n…
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Dr. Rochelle Sennet is a versatile musician, with a wide repertory. The prize-winning pianist has recorded (so far) two albums called BACH TO BLACK in which she combines works by Johann Sebastian Bach with works by Black composers including Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Frederick Tillis, and R. Nathaniel Dett, Florence Price, and many others. Dr. Sennet…
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Randall Scotting's 2022 debut recording THE CROWN is a tribute to famed 17th century Italian castrato singer, Senesino. Scotting collaborated with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Laurence Cummings, and their collection of these Heroic Arias is receiving critical acclaim. The countertenor spoke with Suzanne about how he found…
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Since her 1984 debut with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, American violinist Rachel Barton Pine has been a trailblazer. Her musical tastes are broad and inclusive – from the baroque era, through all the major classical and romantic works, to contemporary commissions, and heavy metal – and she's a seasoned soloist and chamber musician. Rachel spoke …
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Brooklyn native Eric Rice did not set out to become a professional musician and musicologist. He discovered early music while studying at Bowdoin College and, after four years as a schooner captain at the South Street Seaport Museum, he earned his PhD in Musicology and a Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance studies from Columbia University. He w…
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North Carolina native André Raphel is an award-winning orchestral conductor with an international career. An expert in the classic orchestral repertory as well as a proponent of new music, Maestro Raphel's experience with US orchestras includes appearances with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and t…
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Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! The celebrated French violinist and composer Jean-Marie Leclair was found murdered in his Paris apartment. Despite several obvious potential suspects, no one was ever charged with the crime. It remains an unsolved mystery, and the Canadian group Infusion Baroque has crafted a unique and clever concert exper…
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In 4th grade, Stephen Schultz had a chance to learn an instrument to play in the school band. He ended up being assigned to play his third choice – the flute – which was a very good thing, because the instrument is his perfect match. Stephen Schultz is one of the foremost baroque flute players, and he says that baroque music is his first love. He s…
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When Jason Vieaux started playing guitar he was immediately smitten with the instrument and with music, in general, practicing long and hard on his own. His tenacity paid off with some early competition wins, and he continued to hone his skills thanks to teachers and mentors who recognized and further cultivated his talent and determination. Now th…
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The multi-talented performer Anthony Roth Costanzo is a young countertenor whose projects include operas, recitals, films, and Broadway. The New York Times called him "Vocally brilliant and dramatically fearless." Suzanne spoke with the remarkable, Grammy-winning musician about his multi-faceted passions and interests.…
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There have been numerous studies over the years about the positive impact of music on people's lives. Children, especially, seem to benefit from early musical training, although not all kids have equal access to quality musical education. Music Haven in New Haven, Connecticut is a program that offers tuition-free music education, mentoring, and per…
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Baroque music expert JungHae Kim is a sought-after harpsichordist who performs as a soloist and chamber music collaborator all over the world. Her training included studies at Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam with legendary Dutch musician Gustav Leonhardt, who profoundly influenced her own approach to teaching music theory, ear training, keybo…
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Cellist Khari Joyner is a sought-after musician who performs with numerous top ensembles such as Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. The charismatic young American instrumentalist is also a passionate music teacher who has inspired students all over the world. Dr. Joyner has performed for a number of important occasions, such as the 2008 Maya Angelou Birthd…
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Flutist Demarre McGill exudes energy and passion – for music, for his students, for whatever project he is working on. The Seattle Symphony's Principal Flute is also a busy soloist and chamber musician who immerses himself in the moment, applying his extraordinary talent to playing everything from baroque, classical and romantic era music, to cutti…
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Professional musician and teacher Patricia Ann Neely is also a highly respected advocate for diversity and inclusion in the world of classical music and, specifically, early music. She and Suzanne have an ongoing discussion, and in this interview they address the question: what is Black History Month and is it still needed in the year 2022?…
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British violinist Rachel Podger is internationally renowned as a leading interpreter of music from the Baroque and Classical periods in history. Since childhood, when she was still a beginner violin student, she was a trailblazer – secretly signing up for lessons on Baroque violin in addition to her other studies. Rachel Podger is founder and direc…
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Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons Concertos are some of the "greatest hits" of the baroque era. They've been recorded many times, and in many different instrumentations. Conductor and keyboard player Jeannette Sorrell and her group Apollo's Fire collaborated with violinist Francisco Fullana on a recording of the Four Seasons that uniquely reflects the…
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"Davóne Tines Is Changing What It Means to Be a Classical Singer" That was headline of a New Yorker article about the versatile bass-baritone. It's just one of many profiles of the extraordinary young musician and his passion for opera, gospel music, spirituals, and so much more. The award-winning musician spoke with Suzanne about his life in music…
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Dr. Albert Lee is a tenor who has crafted a broad career as a classical vocalist in opera, oratorio, recital, and liturgical music. Dr. Lee received his degrees from The University of Connecticut, The Juilliard School, and Florida State University. Since summer of 2021, Dr. Lee has been Associate Professor of Music and the inaugural Director of Equ…
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Emily Lau is a composer, singer, teacher and restauranteur who has carved out her own, unique career blending many art forms – and her projects often bridge the gaps between ancient music and modern themes. Her work includes helping creative people channel their empathetic impulses in healthy ways, and impart a spirit of true understanding and coll…
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Mexican musician Krishnasol Jiménez is an expert in baroque guitar and lute, and historical performance practice. He studied in his native Mexico City, as well as in Spain and Switzerland. Krishnasol Jiménez talked with Suzanne about his career in music, including his collaboration with singer Maria Cristina Kiehr and bassist Roberto Koch on a prog…
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Laury Gutiérrez is a performer, scholar, teacher, and passionate advocate for underrepresented musicians. The Venezuelan viola da gamba player became a Fellow in 2008–2009 for the Harvard Radcliffe Institute working on a project to develop the repertory of music composed by Italian women into concert and educational programs for performance and pro…
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Award winning cellist Bion Tsang is an international soloist and chamber musician, as well as a teacher. He recently released a recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's 6 Suites for Unaccompanied Cello – the "holy grail" for all serious cellists. Bion Tsang's performance is extra-special because he used an extraordinary instrument considered one of the…
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Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello are such exquisite compositions that it's not only cellists who are eager to play them. Zachary Carrettín is a violinist, violist, and conductor. He has a new recording of Bach's Cello Suites played on viola, and he joined Suzanne to talk about it, and about his varied career as a musician.…
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Rafael Sanchez Guevara is a viola da gamba player and cellist based in his hometown of Mexico City. Suzanne discovered one of his exquisite performances on YouTube and featured it on her daily BEAUTIFUL MUSIC blog. She connected with the musician about his early introduction to music, his passion for the baroque era, and his international career as…
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Award-winning American musician Richard Danielpour is a prolific composer, and many of his high-profile works have embraced timely, topical and historic subjects. In early 2020, Danielpour was deeply troubled by COVID-19. Suffering from insomnia and anxiety, he found solace in pianist Simone Dinnerstein's Bach recordings. As he witnessed extraordin…
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Dr. Joyce Chen is an award-winning harpsichordist who performs frequently as a soloist and in various ensembles in the northeast US, across the country, and internationally. She is a woman of many talents, interests and accomplishments, and Suzanne was fortunate to speak with her about some of them, including her pandemic-era apprenticeship in maki…
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Bassoonist Andrew Brady is at the top of the top tier instrumentalists. Immediately after graduating from the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles he won the audition to become Principal Bassoonist in the Louisiana Philharmonic in 2013. Soon after, he earned the Principal Bassoon job in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The young virtuoso has al…
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Acclaimed soprano Sherezade Panthaki has an international career as a singer, teacher, and expert in the field of baroque and early music. Born and raised in India, Ms. Panthaki began her musical education at an early age, first as an accomplished pianist, until she discovered that singing was a more personal and expressive means for her to connect…
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Guitarist Richard Savino and his group El Mundo released a new recording in Spring 2021 featuring music from the Cathedral of Guatemala City. The Grammy-nominated musicians are exploring a rich variety of music from colonial Latin America during the baroque era. Richard Savino and two of the singers on the recording, Nell Snaidas and Jennifer Ellis…
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