Rebecca Cypess, founder and director of the Raritan Players, is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. A historical keyboardist and scholar, she frequently presents recitals and lecture-recitals based on her current research, with recent performances at venues such as the American Philosophical Society, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Center for Jewish History, Duke University's collection of historical instruments, the "Chamber Music Live" series at Queens College, and many others. In addition to her work as a performer, Cypess is the author of Curious and Modern Inventions: Instrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo’s Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2016); Women and Musical Salons in the Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2022); and over 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is co-editor of the volumes Sara Levy's World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin (University of Rochester Press, 2018) and Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy: New Perspectives (Indiana University Press, 2022).
About the Musicians
Early string specialist Dongmyung Ahn is a performer, educator, and scholar whose interests span from the twelfth to eighteenth centuries. She is co-founder of Guido’s Ear and has performed with the Sebastians, TENET Vocal Artists, Raritan Players, and Pegasus. She has played rebec in the The Play of Daniel at the Cloisters. A dedicated educator, Dongmyung is the director of the Queens College Baroque Ensemble and has taught music history at Vassar College and Queens College. She received her PhD in musicology at the Graduate Center, CUNY and has published an article on medieval liturgy in the Rodopi series Faux Titre.
Soprano Sonya Headlam has performed across the United States and around the world, in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is active in the New Jersey area as a music educator and singer of a diverse range of repertoire from the Baroque to the 21st century. Sonya began 2019 in the recording studio as the soprano soloist on the Trinity Wall Street Choir’s soon-to-be-released recording of Dreams of the New World, by Los Angeles-based composer Ellen Reid. Upcoming performances include a recital of art songs, folk songs and spirituals by African American and Caribbean composers, and, in April, the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Light Opera of New Jersey. Sonya holds performance degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and she received additional training at Mannes College of Music in New York City. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
Eve Miller is a freelance musician, recording artist, composer, and music educator. She received her bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in Music History from Temple University, studying cello with David Teie, Stephen Kates and Jeffrey Solow, and baroque cello and viola da gamba with Ann Marie Morgan. Eve is currently principal cellist of Philadelphia’s Bach Collegium and is a member of the city’s leading baroque orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, having formerly served as its principal cellist. As a member of La Rocinante baroque ensemble, she helped to found Festival Internacional de Música Barroca de Barichara in Colombia. Eve has also performed, recorded, and toured as a rock cellist in bands such as Rachel’s, Matt Pond PA, and Lewis & Clarke. She has recorded and performed as a guest artist with The Swivel Chairs, Trolleyvox, Mazarin, Mission of Burma, Low, Arcwelder, Rosu Lup, and Swearing at Motorists, and frequently performs as a session cellist for rock and alternative artists. Eve composes music for film and theater, notably for the American Friends Service Committee’s 90th anniversary documentary Spirited Engagement, and has collaborated with the SITI Company of New York on several theater pieces.
In recent seasons, pianist Yi-heng Yang has appeared at The Boston Early Music Festival, The Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Friends of Mozart (NYC), MusicIC (Iowa City), The Midtown Series at St Bart’s (NYC), Music Matters (Connecticut), Serenata of Santa Fe, Sunday Chatter (Albuquerque), Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival (NH), The Cobbe Collection (UK), The Finchcocks Collection (UK), and The Frederick Collection (MA). A dynamic collaborator, she works with such groups as The Sebastians, Gretchen’s Muse, and Trio Pasqualati, and will be directing a festival of chamber music this Fall at the Frederick Collection of Historical Pianos. Her recording of the complete Mendelssohn Violin Sonatas on period instruments, with violinist Abigail Karr, has recently been issued on the Old Focus label. She holds a doctorate in piano performance from The Juilliard School, where her teachers were Veda Kaplinsky, Julian Martin, and Robert McDonald. She studied fortepiano there with Audrey Axinn and also earned a Masters of fortepiano from the Amsterdam Conservatory, where she worked with Stanley Hoogland. Yang lives with her husband and son in New York City, and is on the piano faculty of The Juilliard School’s Evening Division.
Steven Zohn performs on historical flutes with many ensembles in the eastern United States, including (in his home base of Philadelphia) the Bach Collegium and Night Music. From 1995 to 2004 he served as founding Artistic Director of the period-instrument orchestra Publick Musick in New York State. In addition to concertizing, he has taught for The Juilliard School’s graduate program in historical performance and Amherst Early Music. His contributions to the study and performance of early music was recognized by the American Musicological Society with its Noah Greenberg Award. Among his recordings are world premieres of recently discovered Telemann flute duets and the composer’s moral cantatas, with soprano Julianne Baird. Also active as a musicologist, he has published widely on eighteenth-century topics, especially on Telemann and the Bach family, and is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Music History at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Christine Gummere has been playing baroque and classical cello since 1985, when she was invited by harpsichordist James Richman to be principal cellist for Concert Royal. During her tenure with the group she had the great good fortune to work closely with Mr. Richman, baroque dancer Catherine Turocy and the New York Baroque Dance Company, all of whom deeply influenced her understanding of baroque and classical style. Other groups she has enjoyed performing with include Concordia, a chamber symphony led by Marin Alsop; String Fever, a string swing band; and the Riverside Symphony, an orchestra specializing in 20th century music, where she was principal cellist for 19 years. Ms. Gummere free-lanced in NYC for 35 years on both modern and baroque cellos and taught cello as an adjunct at Columbia University for 12 years. She now lives in the Hudson Valley where she gives house concerts and teaches music in correctional facilities. Ms. Gummere plays a cello by Aegidius Klotz from Mittenwald, Germany, ca. 1760. His grandfather Mattias Klotz founded the Mittenwald School of violin making in the 17th century. The school continues to train luthiers in the present day.
Violinist Rebecca Harris performs on both modern and period instruments. In demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader and in the field of historical performance, Ms. Harris serves as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Bach Collegium, and as principal second violin of Tempesta di Mare, with whom she has recorded extensively for Chandos. She has performed with notable early music ensembles across the United States, including Piffaro, Washington Bach Consort, REBEL, the Dryden Ensemble, and for the Haydn Society of North America/Society for Eighteenth Century Music. Her discography includes a GRAMMY nominated recording of Thomas Lloyd’s Bonhoeffer with The Crossing. Ms. Harris is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music (England). Ms. Harris plays on a violin by Sebastian Dalinger (Vienna, 1794).
Violinist Benjamin Shute studied at the New England Conservatory and the conservatories of Freiburg and Frankfurt, where his principal teachers included Masuko Ushioda, Rainer Kussmaul, Lucy Chapman, and Bernhard Forck. He has enjoyed diverse performing engagements on modern and period instruments internationally, including appearances as chamber musician, recitalist, concerto soloist, and concertmaster of the Boston Chamber Orchestra and other ensembles. He performs frequently as a member of the Highlands Duo with harpsichordist Anastasia Abu Bakar. Supplementing his performance activities, he has produced critical reconstructions of J. S. Bach’s incompletely surviving D-major sinfonia (BWV 1045) and lost D-minor violin concerto (BWV 1052R) for PRB Productions and is the author of the book Sei Solo: Symbolum? The Theology of J. S. Bach’s Solo Violin Works (Pickwick, 2016). In fall 2016 he joined the faculty of Oklahoma Baptist University as Assistant Professor of Music. Shute plays on a violin by Joseph Ruddiman, Aberdeen, 1775.