Introduction to the Academy

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The Academy of Sacred Drama presents a short concert of rare and extraordinary sacred dramatic music from the time of J.S. Bach. Excerpts of oratorios for soprano and countertenor by Antonio Draghi, Giovanni Battista Bassani, and Antonio Gianettini are paired with instrumental music for two violins and continuo. Academy artistic director Jeremy Rhizor guides guests through the musical excerpts and offers an exclusive introduction to the Academy vision.

The Academy of Sacred Drama seeks to revive one of humanity’s great art forms present in rituals, in liturgy, and on stage: the sacred drama. The Academy’s 2019–2020 season features the work of Antonio Gianettini (1648–1721), the once-celebrated composer of Baroque oratorio and opera whose name is now almost entirely forgotten in the world of music.

Jeremy Rhizor, music director and violin
Sara MacKimmie, soprano
Daniel Moody, countertenor

Dongmyung Ahn, violin
Arnie Tanimoto, viola da gamba
Adam Cockerham, theorbo
Parker Ramsay, harpsichord

Noted for playing “virtuosically but with fluid grace” by The New York Times, Jeremy Rhizor is the founder and artistic director of the Academy of Sacred Drama, an organization that explores history, music, and culture through the philosophical and storytelling lens of the sacred dramatic music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He performs on baroque violin with numerous ensembles including Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, and the American Classical Orchestra. He is a specialist in 17th-century oratorio and is exploring ways to extend historical performance practices to performance contexts. Jeremy has directed oratorios by Stradella, Pasquini, and Scarlatti through the Academy and for the Festival of Sacred Arts in Skanör-Falsterbo, Sweden. Jeremy holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and The Juilliard School.

Sara MacKimmie is a Washington, DC-based soprano who specializes in ensemble singing and early music. Recent highlights include Vivaldi Gloria with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, many oratorios with the Academy of Sacred Drama in New York, Couperin’s Leçons de ténèbres with the Denver Early Music Consort, music from the court of Henry VIII with Mountainside Baroque, and several engagements with New York Baroque Incorporated, with whom she has sung at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and for the San Diego Early Music Society. She also performs with Kinnara Ensemble, The Thirteen, the Washington Bach Consort, hexaCollective, and the Peabody Consort and sings weekly with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Daniel Moody has performed with Atlanta Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a duet concert with famed mezzo-soprano Anne Sophie von Otter, Apollo’s Fire, Mark Morris Dance Group, and recently made his Carnegie Hall debut with Oratorio Society of NY and Off-Broadway debut in a production of Hans Christian Andersen. Upcoming engagements include: Minnesota Orchestra, Desire by Hannah Lash at the Miller Theater at Columbia University and Handel’s Orlando. Mr. Moody has won awards from the Metropolitan National Council, George London Competition, Sullivan Foundation & Handel Aria Competition and a graduate of Peabody Conservatory and Yale School of Music/Institute of Sacred Music.

Early string specialist Dongmyung Ahn is a performer, educator, and scholar whose interests span from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. She performs with the Sebastians, TENET Vocal Artists, Raritan Players, Pegasus, and Marginalia. She has played rebec in the critically acclaimed production of 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, Rutgers University, and Queens College. She received her PhD in musicology at the Graduate Center, CUNY and published an article on medieval liturgy in the Rodopi series Faux Titre.

Gold medalist of the 7th International Bach-Abel Competition, Arnie Tanimoto is equally at home on the viola da gamba and baroque cello. He was the first-ever viola da gamba major at The Juilliard School, where he soloed on both instruments. Described by The New York Times as a “fine instrumental soloist” Arnie performs in venues across the United States, Europe, and Japan. The recipient of a 2017 Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Fellowship he has also performed and recorded with Barthold Kuijken, the Boston Early Music Festival Ensemble, and the Smithsonian Consort of Viols. As a teacher, he serves on faculty at the Mountainside Baroque Summer Academy as well as maintaining a private studio.

Early music artist Adam Cockerham specializes in theorbo, lute and baroque guitar. Beginning his performance career as a classical guitarist, he then gravitated toward historical plucked strings, preferring the collaborative opportunities of chamber music from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. As an accompanist and continuo player, Cockerham has performed with numerous ensembles in New York and San Francisco. He founded voice and plucked string duo Jarring Sounds with mezzo-soprano Danielle Sampson, and helped form chamber ensemble Voyage Sonique. Beyond chamber music, Cockerham concentrates on 17th-century Italian opera and has been involved in numerous modern world premiere performances with companies such as Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik and Ars Minerva. Cockerham is a doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School.

Parker Ramsay’s career is distinguished by its breadth and crossing of instrumental boundaries and genres at the harp, organ and harpsichord. At age seventeen, Parker was awarded the organ scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge where he served under the direction of Stephen Cleobury. In addition to his work as a performer, he works as a staff writer for VAN Magazine (Berlin) and maintains his blog, Harping On: Thoughts from a Recovering Organist. He holds degrees from Cambridge University, Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School.

The program consists of excerpts from four oratorios of the Baroque complemented with instrumental music.

Excerpts from Antonio Gianettini’s La Creatione de’ Magistrati (1688)
Excerpts from Giovanni Battista Bassani’s Giona (1689)
Excerpts from Antonio Draghi’s Oratorio di Giuditta (1668)
An exclusive preview of Antonio Gianettini’s La vittima d’amore (1690)
in anticipation of its modern premiere in February 2020

Thanks to the generous efforts of three supporters, the Academy of Sacred Drama will perform for an exclusive audience in New York City on September 20th. The performance of September 18th will prepare the Academy musicians for this opportunity and provide an introduction to Westchester residents as it continues to expand its operations in Westchester County.