SIREN Baroque is New York City’s only all-female early music ensemble, dedicated to luring audiences to the irresistible music of the Baroque. Critics laud SIREN Baroque’s “unusual freshness” (Seen and Heard International) and “secure and stylish” playing (The New York Times). Out IN Jersey hails the "effervescent and committed ensemble" and praises their "rapt attention to detail...never stinting on drama or virtuosity.”
The passionate musicians of SIREN are especially committed to shedding light on rarely heard music by women composers, celebrating and perpetuating their art through distinctive performances that compel and delight. SIREN concerts pack a powerful punch, enthralling audiences in the States and abroad with a unique blend of historically informed music-making and lively narrative histories of the composers who inspire it.
SIREN Baroque aims to support the voices of women artists, past and present, collaborating with leading artists and historical musicologists to bring little-known gems, sometimes all the way from a dusty archive to a glittering concert hall, to the public. As Gotham Early Music Scene writes, “Like Odysseus, you should lash yourself to the mast before listening to...SIREN Baroque; it is irresistible.”
SIREN Baroque was founded in 2011, in a tiny music cafe in the west village in New York City. Since it's quaint beginnings, SIREN has been dedicated to supporting women in the arts both past and present. In 2012, SIREN traveled to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico to present it's SIREN Songs program: Women composers of the Baroque period. SIREN has presented over 30 concerts in and around the New England area to sold out audiences and to great praise. Their series, "SIRENS Captives" has included esteemed soloists Marc Destrubé and Christoph Huebner as well as Arnie Tanimoto and Doug Balliet in thought and emotion-provoking programs.
In 2014, SIREN produced their first album, SIREN Songs and continues to explore unknown women composers of the Baroque. As collaborators, SIREN has worked with highly esteemed Company XIV that presents Baroque pastiches of grand opulent works and counts Morningside Opera, who also present re-imagined Baroque and new works, as one of their closest and most admired collaborators. SIREN's music has been played on many radio stations throughout the states and Canada. As artists, they continue to accept invitations to perform at prestigious colleges and universities such as Rutgers, St. Johns University and Drew University where they happily lecture, workshop and perform to students and faculty. As producers, the vision for SIREN Is un-ending: with Opera projects, tours and concerts pairing wonderful women musicians together, SIREN is brimming with ideas for future concert goers.
SIREN Baroque has been praised by Seen and Heard International for its “unusual freshness,” Out New Jersey stated that “The sopranos and quartet of musicians exhibited rapt attention to detail, with effervescent and committed ensemble, while never stinting on drama or virtuosity.” the New York Times praises SIREN Baroque for its “secure and stylish playing.” In addition, New York’s Gotham Early Music Scene wrote after a recent concert, “Like Odysseus, you should lash yourself to the mast before listening to this performance by SIREN Baroque; it is irresistible.”
Highlights of Season Performances
Violinist Antonia Light Nelson is the founder and Artistic Director of SIREN Baroque. Antonia performs regularly with The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, Musica Sequenza, DiCapo Opera, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, World Civic Orchestra (concertmaster) Morningside Opera, the New England Symphonic Ensemble to name a few. She honed her early music practice and obsession at Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Vancouver Early Music Festival and Amherst Early Music Festival under the tuleadge of teachers Marc Destrubé and Julie Andrijeski. In 2005 Antonia founded Anthology Strings, a string quartet specializing in commercial work. It was awarded 2011 Best of New York. Antonia believes in supporting women in the arts and created both SIREN and Anthology with the intention to highlight and support talented and creative women. She received her undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and Masters from New York University.
Anneke Schaul-Yoder is SIREN’s cellist General Manager. She studied at Yale University, the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, and the Mannes College of Music with Marcy Rosen and Julia Lichten. As a chamber musician and principal cellist with Pocket Opera of New York, Morningside Opera Company, the Mimesis Ensemble, Dorian Baroque, and other freelance ensembles, Anneke performs regularly at New York’s foremost venues in both modern and period styles. She is also a member of the Piano Music & Song Trio, a trumpet/cello/piano trio that performs art songs from all eras and genres at such venues as the Rockwood Music Hall, John Zorn’s Stone, the Cornelia Street Café, and the Nicholas Roerich Museum. She participated in the American Bach Soloists Festival during the summer of 2011, and in 2009 she completed a four-month Creative Residency at the Banff Centre. Anneke also records and collaborates with members of Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Antibalas, and the Sway Machinery. To stay in touch with her literary side, she does freelance editing work for Carnegie Hall and the Oxford University Press
Harpsichordist Kelly Savage is Music Director of SIREN Baroque, performs frequently as a soloist, continuo player and chamber musician, recently working with Vertical Player Repertory, Ensemble 212, Foundling, Big Apple Baroque, and Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall. She also plays regularly with her own chamber group, Biber Baroque, and is co-founder and music director of the newly formed orchestra Vilas Baroque. The New York Times praised Ms. Savage's “deft accompaniment” in the pasticcio opera Amore & Psyche. She holds a doctorate from Stony Brook University, where she studied with Arthur Haas, and also holds graduate degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the organist and choir director at St. Stephen and St. Martin's church in Brooklyn, New York.
Violinist Marina Fragoulis performs with Westchester Chamber Symphony, St. Cecilia’s Orchestra and New England Symphonic Ensemble, has served as concertmaster of Project Opera Manhattan, Amherst Festival Orchestra and Pocket Opera of NY and is principal of the Astoria Symphony, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Sinfonia Celeste, and the Monmouth Civic Chorus. Festivals include the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Amherst Early Music Festival and Harmonia Mundi Festival in Italy. She is the founder and director of Dorian Baroque, a conductor-less chamber orchestra that performs on period instruments. Marina studied with David Nadien, Cynthia Roberts and Marc Déstrube and is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music.
Violinist Liv Heym, whose playing has been described as “elegant and sensual, stylishly wild” by the New Yorker (April 2010), performs on both modern and baroque violin. She is member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra during it's season 2011-12. Since January she joined the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Apprenticeship Scheme and will work under Simon Rattle, Laurence Cummings and Roger Norrington. In NYC she plays and records with Trinity Baroque Orchestra and performs at the ARTEK Midtown Concert series and at WMP Concert Hall. A native of Berlin, Germany, Ms. Heym studied Violin and Chamber Music with Heinz Dinter, Ulrike-Anima Mathé, Eberhard Feltz and Daniel Phillips. Masterclasses with András Schiff were an important artistic influence. As part of the Historical Performance program at Juilliard Ms. Heym studied baroque violin under Monica Huggett and Cynthia Roberts. She is founding member of Waits Trio, a young baroque chamber group dedicated to historically informed performance practice. She also performs regularly with the New York based baroque collective UNCOMMON TEMPERAMENT and has performed with contemporary music ensemble "Lunatics at Large".
Violinist Claire Smith received her Masters of Music in violin performance in Boston studying under David Kim and she currently studies baroque violin with Judson Griffin. Early music performances include Siren Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Biber Baroque, Dorian Baroque, Big Apple Baroque and Vox Ama Deus. Modern work includes Astoria Symphony, Sinfonia Celestis (both as Concertmaster), Greenwich Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Di Capo Opera, Bronx Opera, Staten Island Philharmonic and Connecticut Grand Opera and on Broadway. Performances with Sean “Puffy” Combs on “Saturday Night Live,” “David Letterman” and “The View” and with “Mana” in New York concerts. Recordings on Shakira’s album, “She Wolf”. She is also the violinist for Ritchie Blackmore’s band, “Blackmore’s Night.”
Soprano, Brittany Palmer is Coordinator of SIREN Baroque. She received degrees from Florida State University and the Eastman School of Music. She is also currently pursuing a second Masters degree in Speech Pathology. Her performing career has included performances/roles with Opera North, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Gotham Chamber Opera, Tallahassee Symphony, Morningside Opera, University of North Florida, Dance Company XIV, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Trinity Wall Street Choir, and Encompass New Opera Theatre among many others. Ms. Palmer was praised in the New York Times as “a solicitous vixen as Venus” in Judgment of Paris, a burlesque Baroque pastiche with Morningside Opera, of which she is the Director of Operations. She is also a member of the all-female, internationally acclaimed Baroque ensemble, SIREN Baroque. Recently, Ms. Palmer was seen in the New York City production of the Filipino national opera, Noli Me Tangere, performing the role of Sinang. For more information, please visit www.BrittanyLeighPalmer.com.
Soprano Brett Umlauf has been praised by the New York Times for her "pealing, focused sound" and "luminous yet earthy" performances. In addition to being an original member of SIREN Baroque, she is also a founding and/or core member of Company XIV, Morningside Opera and Skid Rococo. Brett frequently collaborates with new music composers such as Larry Lockwood and Kate Soper and has held the position of soloist at Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist since 2004.
Violist Kristina Giles (neé Hendricks) enjoys a creative and varied performing career. Trained as a classical violist with degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.), Rice University (M.M.), and SUNY Stony Brook (D.M.A.) , she has become known for her artistry on the baroque violin, modern violin and baroque viola, in addition to the modern viola. Kristina has recorded under the Albany Record label, and as a soloist on indie-folk and country albums. She is the creator ofThe Sequenza Show, a series of performances featuring all of Luciano Berio's Sequenzas, and the founder of THE COLONIALS, a mixed-period ensemble. Kristina is a member of SIREN Baroque and the Arcos Chamber Orchestra, and also performs with REBEL and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Highlights for the 2013-14 season include a tour of Germany and Switzerland with Arcos Orchestra and an alumna recital at Oberlin Conservatory in collaboration with Webb Wiggins and David Breitman.
PHOTO BY ADRIAN BUCKMASTER