2023-24 Guest Artists

2023-24 Guest Artists

Eric Thomas, clarinet. Time Changes Sept and Oct concerts

Eric Thomas, clarinet

A chamber music Concert Artist Guild winner, clarinetist Eric Thomas is an active performer, having appeared as a guest artist with several groups including the Apple Hill Chamber Players, the Sylvan Winds, the Bar Harbor Music Festival, the Boston Pops Traveling Ensemble, the Bravo! Festival at Vail, the Wellesley Composers Conference, The Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival and the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival.

As a freelance artist he has toured with Goldovsky Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera New England, The New England Ragtime Ensemble, The New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble, and The National Gilbert and Sullivan Tour. He has been a substitute with several orchestras including The Florida Orchestra, The Charlotte Symphony, La Orquestra Sinfonica de Monterrey, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New York City Opera in the Park Orchestra, The Southwest Florida Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.

As a composer, his most recent commissions have come from the Sonad Project, Colby College Symphony Orchestra, concert pianist Ilya Friedberg, and the Bar Harbor Music Festival. Eric has been a guest lecturer/performer at several colleges and universities including Brown, Harvard, Boston University, Centenary College, Southeastern Louisiana University, Boston Conservatory of Music and Duke.

Recently retired as the Director of Bands at Colby College, Mr. Thomas is the newly appointed Conductor and Director of Music of the Keene Chamber Orchestra and Director of Music at the Putney School in Putney VT. and adjunct faculty at University Maine Augusta.

Flutist Vanessa Holroyd joins WCMS for Effervescence, music for the season

Vanessa Holroyd, flute

Flutist Vanessa Holroyd enjoys an active and varied freelance career in the Boston area with a focus on chamber music. She is a frequent soloist and principal flute of the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music where she performs regularly as part of their weekly Bach Cantata Series, having performed close to 100 Bach cantatas. Other notable collaborations include performances with the Arneis Quartet, the Apple Hill String Quartet, the Craft Ensemble, multidisciplinary artist Helga Davis, A Far Cry (including both the Boston and New York premiers of Matthew AuCoin’s opera “Crossing” in collaboration with the American Repertory Theater), and her most recent chamber music project, “Trichrome” with harpist Franziska Huhn and violist, Daniel Doña. She has performed with numerous chamber music series including the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Emmanuel Music, Steinert & Sons, Rochester Chamber Music Society, and Winsor Music, in addition to having presented recitals throughout the US and British Virgin Islands with pianist, Joy Cline Phinney. Vanessa is a tenured member of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and also appears with many regional groups including the Portland Symphony, Cantata Singers, the Boston Ballet, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic, among others. For ten years, Vanessa was a member of Arcadian Winds, a woodwind quintet specializing in contemporary music and recipient of Chamber Music America’s “Residency Partnership Grant.” With the quintet and with other ensembles, Vanessa has premiered numerous works and collaborated on recording projects for Centaur, PARMA, BMOP, and ECS Publishing. 

An experienced talent agent, administrator, and producer, Vanessa worked with the entertainment agency, Music Management for twenty-five years, in addition to being co-owner from 2012 to 2022 where she facilitated over close to 800 events per year and employed hundreds of local musicians. She is the former Concert Series Manager and Concert Tour Director for Phillips Exeter Academy, where she managed the prestigious Gilbert Concert Series and helped curate performance tours to Vietnam, Canada, California and New York. 

In addition to her commercial business endeavors, Vanessa taught at Phillips Exeter Academy and with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra for many years, has performed and taught as a guest faculty artist at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music since 2007, and teaches at the Bach Institute of Emmanuel Music, in addition to several private students.

Vanessa holds a B.A. in Literature from Yale University, a M.Mus. in Flute Performance from McGill University, and an Artist Diploma from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She is eternally grateful for her teachers including Geralyn Coticone, Robert Willoughby, Timothy Hutchins, Michael Parloff, and Elssa Green. 

John McKean, guest harpsichord for Effervescence music for the season

John McKean, harpsichord

John McKean is a harpsichordist and musicologist based in Boston, where he serves on the faculty and is chair of the Historical Performance Department at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Frequently in demand as both a soloist and continuo player, he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America, with concert engagements bringing him to venues as far afield as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Fondazione Cini (Venice), Museu da Música (Lisbon), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), Norðurljós Hall (Reykjavík, Iceland), and the Philips Collection (Washington, DC). Critically acclaimed for his “intelligent” and “precise” playing (The Washington Post) as well as his “sonorous brilliance and thrilling, dance-like energy” (Allgäuer Zeitung), John performs with leading American and European ensembles, including Apollo’s Fire, Emmanuel Music, the Catacoustic Consort, Camerata Vocale Freiburg, Habsburger Camerata, and has appeared with the Jacksonville, Naples, Portland (Maine), and Pittsburg symphony orchestras (among others). He counts among his live radio broadcasts performances on NPR, BBC Radio 3, and Deutschlandradio Berlin.

John holds degrees in German Studies and Harpsichord Performance from Oberlin College/Conservatory and an advanced performance diploma from the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg (Germany), where he studied with Lisa Crawford/Webb Wiggins and Robert Hill respectively. He received additional instruction over the years from some of the greatest modern masters of historical keyboards, including Arthur Haas, Jacques Ogg, Skip Sempé, Jesper Christensen, Ketil Haugsand, Mitzi Meyerson, Richard Egarr, and Gustav Leonhardt. He also holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Cambridge (U.K). His master’s thesis unearthed new details concerning the life and works of French harpsichord composer Gaspard Le Roux, while his doctoral dissertation examined the development of keyboard technique during the German Baroque. For several years he served as an assistant editor of the Oxford University Press journal Early Music. Beyond his musicological work and performing career, he also maintains an active interest in instrument building (he regularly performs on a 17th-century style Flemish harpsichord of his own making), music publishing, typography, and exploring the remote corners of his home state of Maine.

Deborah Selig, soprano performs with WCMS November 10 and 12

Deborah Selig, soprano

Soprano Deborah Selig’s voice has been described by the press as “radiant,” “beautifully rich,” “capable of any emotional nuance,” and “impressively nimble.” Ms. Selig performs repertoire spanning baroque to contemporary in opera, oratorio and art song across the United States. Passionate about teaching and mentoring the next generation of singers, Ms. Selig serves on the voice faculties of Wellesley College, Brown University and the summer Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In addition, Ms. Selig joined Boston University’s faculty in Fall of 2022 as Lecturer in Voice to teach Performance Techniques.

Operatic highlights include Micaela in Carmen with Dayton Opera, Sybil Vane in Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray with Odyssey Opera, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Boston Lyric Opera, Musetta in La Boheme with Central City Opera, Rose in Street Scene and Pamina in The Magic Flute with Chautauqua Opera, and both Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Kentucky Opera.

Ms. Selig’s concert performances have included Brahms’ Requiem with Buffalo Philharmonic, Bach Cantatas 37, 92 and 97 with Handel and Haydn Society, Orff’s Carmina Burana with Fairbanks Symphony (AK), Haydn’s Creation with Harvard University Choirs, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Masterworks Chorale, and Handel’s Messiah with Rhode Island Philharmonic.

Ms. Selig earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and MM in Voice degrees from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a summa cum laude BM/BA in Voice and English from the University of Michigan. Apprenticeships included Chautauqua Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, and Tanglewood Music Center.

Kate Foss, double bass, is a WCMS 2023-2024 guest artist.

Kate Foss, double bass

Originally from the Midwest, double-bassist Kate Foss relocated to the East Coast to pursue her passion for music. She holds a Master of Music in Double Bass from New England Conservatory of Music, where she had the privilege of studying under the guidance of Todd Seeber, a renowned bassist from the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Kate has also studied and performed in various parts of the world, including Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her orchestral and continuo experience extends to notable groups such as Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera, and the Plymouth Philharmonic.  In the realm of headline and other genres, Kate has appeared at venues like TD Garden, performing with esteemed artists such as The Eagles and Andrea Bocelli.

Kate’s versatility as a musician extends beyond the double bass, as she is also skilled in playing electric and synth bass. She regularly engages in musical theatre performances, having performed with organizations such as Lyric Stage Theatre, Emerson College, and North Shore Music Theatre.  Kate has participated in multiple world premiere productions such as Jagged Little Pill, We Live in Cairo, and The Black Clown featuring Davóne Tines, all presented by the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA.