SIREN Baroque is an all-female baroque ensemble from New York City. Presenting passionate historically informed performances and newly composed works by living composers throughout the States and overseas, the women of SIREN are committed to infusing spirited historical accuracy with a tinge of modern dynamism. Critics praise SIREN Baroque’s “unusual freshness” (Seen and Heard International) and “secure and stylish” playing (New York Times).
Founded in 2011, the all-female SIREN Baroque’s inaugural season garnered enthusiastic reviews including an invitation to perform at the Festival de Musica Barroca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. SIREN developed a program dedicated to Women Composers of the Baroque era, which became their debut album, “SIREN Songs” (2014). As collaborators, SIREN has performed regularly with Morningside Opera and Company XIV, presenting new adaptations of Baroque productions. Other collaborations include their “SIRENS’ Captives Series”, where male soloists are invited to perform such as Marc Destrube (2013) and Christof Huebner (2014). Concerts and lectures and educational series have and will be presented at Drew University, Rutgers University, Penn State University, St. John’s University and Gotham Early Music Scene. SIREN Baroque also commissions new works for the Baroque ensemble. In 2014, SIREN performed portions of “A Strange Loop”, written and composed for SIREN by composer, Jordan MacLean as well as “Sonnets” by Larry Lockwood. Future commissions include a cantata by Mr. Lockwood (2015) as well as the completion of MacLean’s work.
2011-2012, SIREN's inaugural season, garnered enthusiastic reviews and an invitation to perform at the Festival de Musica Barroca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Programs highlighted early Italian antiphony (“Surround Sound”); English love songs and music (“The Course of Love”); women composers from convents and courts (“Women All-Stars of the Baroque Era”); and the musical exchange between Venice and Spain in the High Baroque (“Counter Culture,” featuring cellist Katie Rietman). In May, SIREN collaborated with Company XIV on Judge Me Paris, a burlesque/baroque adaptation of The Judgment of Paris, and in August SIREN performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Art After 5" series.
The 2012-13 season included a program of cantatas and concertos by Bach and Vivaldi (“Venice Connection”); a selection of vocal music by women composers on Gotham Early Music Scene’s popular Midtown Concert Series; and a concert of French music featuring renowned violinist Marc Destrubé (“In His Court”). In March, SIREN collaborated with Morningside Opera to present Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. In April, SIREN recorded its debut album, “Women All-Stars of the Baroque Era,” presenting rarely-heard masterpieces by women composers, a program that SIREN performed at the Boston Early Music Festival in June. July brought a tour of upstate New York, with performances in Saratoga and Ulster Counties.
The 2013-2014 features “Fyer, Fyer,” the first of four concerts exploring the ancient elements in collaboration with innovative baroque dancers, at the trendy Gershwin Hotel; “Winter Songs,” a collection of delightful seasonal favorites; “Women All-Stars II,” with more masterpieces by women of the era (at the Gotham Early Music Scene’s Midtown Concert Series and at Drew University’s acclaimed concert hall); In April, SIREN premiered a newly composed/commissioned work by composer Jordan MacLean "A Strange Loop". In June, SIREN performed at Le Poisson Rouge, premiering modern composer Larry Lockwood's "Sonnets"along side works by Monteverdi and Vivaldi. SIREN'S Final season concert concluded with an intimate chamber concert of "Summer Songs", highlighting solo chamber works from the 18th century.
What the Critics are Saying:
“The sopranos and quartet of musicians exhibited rapt attention to detail, with effervescent and committed ensemble, while never stinting on drama or virtuosity.” –Ralph Malachowsk, Out New Jersey
"Good energy, technique, stage presence and a passion for the music... is able it all to the audience" - Rodrigo Antonio Treviño Lozano, Director of The Baroque Music Festival of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Violinist Antonia Light Nelson is the founder and Music Director of SIREN Baroque. Antonia performs regularly with The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Musica Sequenza, DiCapo Opera, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Morningside Opera, the New England Symphonic Ensemble & Blue Hill Troupe. She has participated in the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Vancouver Early Music Festival and Amherst Early Music Festival. Her teachers include 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 and Artistic and 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 Artistic 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 sings regularly with Morningside Opera, SIREN Baroque and frequently with troupes including Company XIV, Dances of Vice and the newly formed Skid Rococo, a trio with cellist Anneke Schaul-Yoder and lutenist Daniel Swenberg, which grew out of a love for the songs of Sweden's beloved Gustavian era poet CM Bellman. She is proud to have debuted new works by composer Larry Lockwood and looks forward to premiering an operatic work by composer Kate Soper on Morningside Opera's 2014 season. Brett has held the soloist position at Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist in Greenwich Village since 2004. brettumlauf.com
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