2023-24 Guest Artists

2023-24 Guest Artists

Leslie Amper, piano

Sought after nationally for her one-of-a kind performances, Leslie Amper began her career with a critically acclaimed New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. She went on to delight audiences in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco as well as at Monadnock Musicʼs Virtuoso Piano Series. A member of New Hampshire Music Festival, she is a frequent participant in Boston’s Emmanuel Music solo and chamber music celebrations. After two years at Oberlin College, she continued her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music with Rudolph Kolisch, Gunther Schuller, and Russell Sherman. An acknowledged scholar and practitioner of contemporary music, Amper hasrecorded Andrew Imbrieʼs Short Story for Neuma Records which was chosen for the international radio broadcast, Art of the States. Equally adept at accompanying silent film, she has compiled piano accompaniments at the Harvard Film Archives for the short films of Georges Méliès and King Vidor’s The Crowd, among others. As a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts solo recitalist grant, she presented Messiaenʼs monumental Vingt Regards sur lʼenfant Jésus in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Other performances include the musical component for the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition 1934: A New Deal for Artist which toured the United States and the onstage piano performer in Peter Sellars’ production of Chekhov’s A Seagull at the American National Theater. Leslie Amper’s multi media piano performances related to the visual arts have been presented at museums and colleges nationwide including the National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, California State University East Bay, Carnegie Mellon. Her piano duo performances with her husband, Randall Hodgkinson have included Monadnock Music, Emmanuel Music, Harvard Bach Society Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, and a command performance for the President of Iceland.

Leslie Amper is on the faculty of New England Conservatory Preparatory Department, and Wheaton (MA) College.

Pascale Delache-Feldman, double bass

Praised by the New Music Connoisseur for her “technical certainty and musical imagination,” French double bassist Pascale Delache-Feldman has been described as “a gifted colorist who produced an entire range of orchestral effects” (Boston Phoenix).

In her recent appearance at the Kennedy Center, Ms. Delache-Feldman performed her own arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires which will be included in her soon to be released “Let’s Tango” album with Duo Cello e Basso and pianist Victor Cayres.  Other recital credits include performances at Radio France; Franz Liszt Academy, Hungary; and Teatro Victoria Eugenia, San Sebastian, Spain.  As a soloist, she has performed with the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic, the North Shore Philharmonic, and the Greensboro Festival Orchestra.

A prizewinner at the Prague International Chamber Music Competition, Ms. Delache-Feldman has collaborated with the St. Petersburg, Borromeo, and Lark String Quartets and recorded chamber works with violinists Midori and Joel Smirnoff, and soprano Dawn Upshaw.  As a member of Duo Cello e Basso, Pascale has partnered with cellist Emmanuel Feldman to premier over 20 new works, performing across Europe in Austria, Germany and France, and through out the US.  Pascale can be heard on the Albany, Archetype, and CRI labels and has been featured on Jason Heath’s podcast Contrabass Conversations.

A committed educator and arts entrepreneur, Ms. Delache-Feldman founded and directs the Family Chamber Music FestOnline Edition as well as the Boston Bass Bash and the Virtual Double Bass Summer Intensive, both international festivals that have drawn guest faculty performers Edwin Barker, Peter Lloyd, Tim Cobb, John Clayton and Rufus Reid. 

She’s on the faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Tufts University, and has presented master classes at Colburn Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Boston Conservatory and the University of Texas. 

In the summer, she has taught at the Killington Music Festival, VCU Global Summer Institute of Music, Yellow Barn and Summit Music Festivals.

As an orchestra player, Ms. Delache-Feldman has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Toulouse Capitole National Orchestra (France), and as principal bassist with Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, New England String Ensemble and BMOP, among others.

A second-generation bassist, Pascale studied with her father, Jean-Claude Delache at the Toulouse Conservatory, and went on to the Paris Conservatory with Jacques Cazauran and Frédéric Stochl to earn her first prize with honors.  Ms. Delache-Feldman came to the US to study with Roger Scott at the Curtis Institute of Music where she received her Artist Diploma.  Additionally she has also studied with Edwin Barker, Evgeny Kolosov, and violinist and renowned pedagogue Burton Kaplan.  

Through her training with peak performance coach Dr. Don Greene, her Feldenkrais Method and Tai Chi studies, Pascale brings a wealth of perspective to her teaching and residency work, creating personalized workshops for musicians and broader audiences.

Jonathan Hess headshot

Jonathan Hess, percussion

Praised for his “power and finesse” (Boston Classical Review) and “exacting milieus” (Boston Globe), percussionist Jonathan Hess is the principal timpanist for the Handel and Haydn Society (Boston), Boston Baroque, Teatro Nuovo (NYC) and Bach Akadamie Charlotte. He performs and records regularly throughout New England with some of the region’s premier organizations including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, A Far Cry, Celebrity Series, Odyssey Opera, Aston Magna, Blue Heron, the Connecticut Early Music Festival. In addition to his versatility and command as a performer, He is also a dedicated and passionate educator, currently teaching percussion at the College of the Holy Cross. Jonathan is a graduate of St. Olaf College and the Boston Conservatory.

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.

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.

Nathan Varga, double bass

Nathan Varga, double bass

Nathan Varga maintains a vibrant career as a double bassist in the Boston area. His experience ranges from orchestral and chamber music to period performance, opera, and theater. He appears regularly with the Cape Symphony, Marsh Chapel Collegium, Bach Consort of Worcester, Grand Harmonie, and The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Other recent appearances include Nth Degree, Boston Opera Collaborative, Music from Salem New York, MetroWest Opera, Speakeasy Theatre Company, and the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society.

Nathan holds degrees from Boston University and Baldwin Wallace College, having studied with Edwin Barker, Benjamin Levy, and Henry Peyrebrune. His orchestral training includes fellowships at Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival. Desiring to engage a diverse audience, he also enjoys playing original music and arranging covers with friends. Other interests include cycling, woodworking, and bicycle and auto-mechanics.