Sospiri is a baroque ensemble based out of St. Paul, Minnesota offering evocative performances that combine voices with period instruments in repertoire centered around the 17th century. Artists in the ensemble strive to use historically-informed practices, consulting treatises and musical editions of the period, and using ornamentation and improvisation when appropriate. Sospiri particularly aims to follow the baroque ideal of moving the affections by heightening emotional contrasts in the text and music, while also exploring the playful aspects of the baroque in its canzonettas, villanelles, and ciacconas.
New York based singer, performance poet, and writer Rocky Duval (she/her) has been performing professionally since the age of 11 and has appeared in opera, television, stage, concert, off-Broadway, and the TEDx stage.
Ms. Duval specializes in singing baroque and contemporary classical music, and has performed with many companies, including: The Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Glimmerglass Festival, Festival Bach Montreal, Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, The Colorado Music Festival, The Seattle Symphony, Opera Steamboat, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, Amherst Early Music, among many others.
viola da gamba
Mary Burke, viola da gamba, has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across the US with numerous ensembles, including Consortium Carissimi, the Rose Ensemble, Catacoustic Consort, Bach Society of Minnesota, Ensemble Polaris, the Gregorian Singers, Duo Geminiani, and
Camerata Pacifica Baroque, and has toured with the crossover group Ensemble Galilei. She has performed at the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Bach Festivals of Baldwin-Wallace College and the University of Minnesota. Ms. Burke has
recorded on Naxos, Sony Classical, Voces Novae, and treblehook records, and has been heard on Minnesota Public Radio, NPR, WNYC, and Concert FM (New Zealand).
baroque violin, vielle, and rebec
Ginna Watson is a Minneapolis-based violinist who specializes in historically-informed performance. She plays baroque violin and viola with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra and medieval bowed strings and harp with The Rose Ensemble for Early Music. Ginna also performs with Consortium Carissimi and Sprezzatura, ensembles dedicated to performing 17th-century music on historic instruments.
Ginna has performed in concert series and festivals around the country, including the Boston Early Music Festival, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and Princeton
University. She is concertmaster of the annual Early Music Montana festival. Internationally, she has performed throughout France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Bolivia. Ginna frequently gives masterclasses on medieval and baroque performance practice, including Houston Baptist University, Colorado State University, Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity in Los Angeles. Ginna is the violin instructor at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
bagpipes and becorders
Dick Hensold (B.M., Oberlin Conservatory) is a freelance musician specializing in early music, traditional music of Scotland, Northumberland, and Cape Breton Island, and Cambodian traditional music. He performs on Northumbrian small-pipes (a quiet bagpipe), Montgomery smallpipes (an historical smallpipe), recorder, medieval greatpipes, Swedish bagpipes, traditional Cambodian reed instruments, seljefløyte, and low whistle. He is currently the foremost Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, has performed in both Scotland and England, and has taught Northumbrian smallpipes at workshops in the United States, Canada, and Northumberland.
Hensold has regularly appeared as recorder soloist with the Twin Cities-based baroque orchestra Lyra Concert since 1986, also appearing with the Chicago Early Music Consort, Ex Machina, Circle of Sound, and the Minnesota Orchestra. His research interest in early Scottish music resulted in a lecture and concert appearance at the 1997 Lowland and Border Piper’s Society collogue in Peebles, Scotland. The proceedings of this conference, along with Hensold’s two other related papers, were published as “Out of the Flames” in 2004.
He is principal composer and arranger for the Celtic-oriented quartet Piper’s Crow, and also performs with several other folk groups and as part of a 4-piece traditional Cambodian ensemble. He released his solo CD, Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes, in August 2007. He is a 2006 Bush Artist Fellow.
Michelle Wenderlich (pronouns: they/them) has worked, toured and recorded with many of the top early music orchestras and conductors in Europe, such as Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Leipziger Barockorchester and Die Kölner Akademie, as well as with innovative crossover groups like Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop and Pera Ensemble. They work locally with La Grande Bande, Bach Society of Minnesota, Consortium Carissimi, and Flying Forms. After studying with Joe Carver at Stony Brook University they moved to Europe for early music studies with Dane Roberts at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.
They also have performance degrees from the Orchestra of the Enlightenment and the Formation Supérieure of the Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes, in cooperation with l’Orchestre de Champs-Elysées, specializing in period classical and romantic orchestra and chamber music. They have been featured as a soloist, especially for Viennese bass repertoire, at the Limberger Musiktage and Baroque Nights in the Frankfurt area. They received the Edith Salvo Music Prize at Stony Brook and were supported by a Postgraduate Fellowship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation for musical studies in Germany. Michelle moved back to the US for doctoral studies and is currently completing a Ph.D. in human geography while remaining an active performer.
Maria Jette, soprano, has appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra: the Symphonies of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Charlotte, Santa Rosa and Buffalo; Vocalessence (formerly The Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota), the Handel Choir of Baltimore, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and Los Angeles Master Chorale; and with original instrument ensembles Angelica Cantanti, Portland Baroque Orchestra and The Lyra Baroque Orchestra. She has been a regular guest at the Oregon Bach, Victoria Bach and San Luis Obispo Mozart Festivals, the Oregon Festival of American Music, and on Public Radio International’s A Prairie Home Companion. With conductor Helmuth Rilling, she has sung Bach, Mozart and Monteverdi in Germany, Spain, Japan, and Canada, as well as in Minneapolis, New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. In a 20+ year association with conductor Philip Brunelle, she first appeared as the coloratura dog, Fido, in Britten’s Paul Bunyan; and has gone on to sing everything from fully-staged operas by Mozart opera and Virgil Thomson through oratorios by Handel, William Bolcom and Francis Grier, and most recently, Dominick Argento’s glorious Evensong (2009).
Her 45+ operatic roles range from Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Cleopatra through Mozart’s Pamina, Countess and Fiordiligi, many of them with the late, lamented Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre in the Twin Cities. With The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she starred as the Mrs. in the May 2002 premiere of Garrison Keillor’s operatic excursion, Mr. and Mrs. Olson. She has performed her own production of Seuss/Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham for more than 50,000 kids, with symphonies and music festivals around the USA.