artistic director & violin
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 at the University of Rochester and The Juilliard School.
manager & Sacred Drama Journal editor
Kate Bresee was born and raised outside of Richmond, Virginia. She attended Eastern University, a small Christian liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia, where she studied the great books as a member of the University’s Templeton Honors College and received a degree in Philosophy. While at Eastern, Kate was a founding co-editor of the Eastern-based undergraduate academic journal, Adorans, which explores topics relating to philosophy, theology, science, and culture. After graduating in 2014, Kate began a doctoral program in philosophy at Fordham University in New York City. While at Fordham, Kate has continued to explore her passion for editing through an assistantship with the ancient and medieval studies journal Traditio, which is housed at Fordham and printed by Cambridge University Press.
guest speaker & harpsichord
Marc Bellassai has degrees from the Oberlin conservatory [BMus ’85, Harpsichord], Indiana University [MMus ’89 and Artist Diploma] and, as a Fulbright IIE scholar from 1994–6, studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and the instrument collection of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy. He was a student of harpsichordists Lisa Goode Crawford, Elisabeth Wright, and Laura Alvini and now performs with a number of ensembles from Baltimore to New York. His interests include early keyboard performance practice, basso continuo, organology, art history, and the music and literature of the Italian sixth and seventh centuries. He currently teaches harpsichord, art history, and directs the Early Music Ensemble at Towson University.
Charles Weaver is on the faculty of the Juilliard School, where he teaches Historically Informed Performance on Plucked Instruments. He was music director for Cavalli’s La Calisto with New York’s Dell’Arte Opera in summer 2017, when The Observer remarked on “the superb baroque band led by Charles Weaver…it was amazing to hear what warm and varied sounds he coaxed from the ensemble.” He has served as assistant conductor for Juilliard Opera, and accompanied operas with the Yale Baroque Opera Project and the Boston Early Music Festival. Chamber music appearances include Quicksilver, Piffaro, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Folger Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Blue Heron, and Musica Pacifica. He also works with the New York Continuo Collective, an ensemble of players and singers exploring seventeenth-century vocal music in semester-length workshop productions. He has taught at the Lute Society of America Summer Workshop and the Madison Early Music Festival. This Summer he will join the faculty of the International Baroque Institute at Longy. He is associate director of music at St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he specializes in Renaissance polyphony and Gregorian chant.
Movement and Mime
movement director and mime
Tony Lopresti is Mime Director of the Festival Musica sull’Acqua on Italy’s Lake Como where he teaches classical mime and creates original theatrical interpretations of Festival music, including Igor Stravinky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, in which he also plays the Soldier. He co-founded MuMoMusement—a new fusion of music and movement—with Festival Artistic Director and Italian violinist Francesco Senese. Tony and Francesco created Apocalypse Man, a solo physical interpretation of Bela Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin, which premiered in L’Aquila, Italy and later at the Mantova International Chamber Music Festival. Tony was a principal performer with the New York Pantomime Theatre under the direction of Moni and Mina Yakin presenting original full-length works at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
Elisabeth K. Pace
Dr. Elisabeth K. Pace specializes in Music Analysis and the History of German Music Theory during the late Renaissance and Baroque eras. She has presented invited lectures and colloquia at various universities including the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Yale.
Translators (Italian to English)
Mara’s background is in the performing arts and classical music, with additional extensive study of European languages and literature. As a translator of Italian to English, her experience ranges from sports news, journalism and PR material for numerous cultural and artistic organizations to short stories, literature and narrative nonfiction by the most current and contemporary authors active in Italy today. Other interests include sunny days, coffee, cats, 20th century history and, increasingly, punk music.
Lucy T. Yates, internationally acclaimed soprano and keyboardist, teaches Italian grammar and poetics for Bel Canto at Caramoor/Teatro Nuovo and for dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. She serves as language coach and dramaturg for the New York City Opera, and in 2017 joins the coaching staff of UCLA. Miss Yates holds a BA in piano and English from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MM in voice from the Manhattan School of Music. She is a regular panelist on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Quiz.
Andrew Leslie Cooper
Andrew Leslie Cooper enjoys a multifaceted and multinational career as a countertenor, conductor, and keyboardist. The 2019-20 season represents his first as the new second countertenor in the acclaimed early music group The Gesualdo Six. With them, he tours domestically and internationally and records under contract with Hyperion. Other recent and upcoming ensemble engagements include Tenebrae, Gallicantus, Sansara, Ex Cathedra, and the Voces8 Foundation Choir, to name a few. Also active as a soloist, Andrew’s voice has been heard alongside Academy of Ancient Music, Academy of Sacred Drama (NYC), BWV: Cleveland’s Bach Ensemble (Ohio), and several choral societies around Kent. Andrew is Principal Lay Clerk at Rochester Cathedral and regularly deputises in other ecclesiastical choirs, most frequently at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, Canterbury Cathedral, and Westminster Cathedral. Before 2018, Andrew was based in the United States, where he was active with ensembles such as TENET, the Bach Choir of Holy Trinity NYC, Westminster Choir, Spoleto Festival USA Chorus, the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, and more.
Praised by the Washington Post for her “gorgeous singing” in her Kennedy Center debut, “silken-voiced” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) soprano Madeline Apple Healey is a soloist and chamber musician based in New York, NY. Recent and upcoming engagements include the Russian premiere of Steinberg’s Passion Week with The Clarion Choir, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Bernstein’s MASS with Choral Arts Society of Washington, Schütz’s Musikalishe Exequien at the Amherst Early Music Festival, Ticheli’s Songs of Love and Life with the Baldwin Wallace Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the U.S. premiere of “Here All Night” with Gare St. Lazare Ireland at The White Light Festival at Lincoln Center. In the fall of 2014, Madeline founded AMPERSAND, a vocally-centric project-based ensemble, with longtime friend and colleague Anna Lenti. This season she can also be heard with Apollo’s Fire, Amor Artis, Academy of Sacred Drama, The Clarion Choir, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, The Choir of St. Luke-in-the-Fields, The Thirteen, and TENET.
Michael Jones performs nationwide as a soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared as a professional tenor with some of the nation’s finest choral ensembles including the GRAMMY-award-winning group The Crossing, GRAMMY-award-winning group Conspirare, Santa Fe Desert Choral, Apollo’s Fire, Variant 6, ekmeles, Choral Arts Philadelphia and Madison Choral Project, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, William Ferris Chorale, Grant Park Opera Chorus, the Bridge Ensemble, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and Chorosynthesis. Michael has recorded on Parma, Albany, World Library Publications (WLP) and GIA. He has performed on five Downbeat Award-winning recordings. Michael studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for his Bachelors in jazz trumpet and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music for his Masters in jazz trumpet.
Clifton Massey was raised on a steady diet of country and western, bluegrass, and other close-harmony singing in Dallas, TX. These early influences instilled a love of pure tone and ensemble work, leading to rich musical experiences in a variety of styles. He collaborates frequently with notable early-music ensembles such as the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the American Classical Orchestra. Highlights of recent seasons include performing with pop icon Madonna at the Met Gala, modern premieres of Baroque-era oratorios with the Academy of Sacred Drama, and performing in the inaugural two month installation of Reich Richter Pärt at The Shed, a vibrant new venue in NYC. Clifton is an alumnus of the Grammy-award-winning group Chanticleer.
Praised for his “powerful baritone and impressive vocal range” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and as a “musicianly, smooth vocalist, capable in divisions” (Opera News Online), bass-baritone and hurdy-gurdyist Andrew Padgett is an accomplished interpreter of both baroque and medieval vocal and instrumental music. Notable performances include his appearances under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki as the bass soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore and as the bass soloist in Bach’s Johannespassion at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC, as well as his Alice Tully performance as Harapha in Handel’s Samson directed by Nicholas McGegan. He has also been featured as a soloist with The American Classcal Orchestra, Dartmouth Handel Society, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Brandywine Baroque, and Pegasus Early Music, among others.
Making her mark as an “especially impressive” (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach. These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and symphonies around the country, where she has been praised for her “astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post). Nola’s 2019-2020 season will feature her debuts with the Seattle and Pittsburgh Symphonies, Philharmonia Baroque, Tenet (in concert with American violinist Hillary Hahn), and an appearance at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2020 as a soloist with the Bethlehem Bach Society. She will make her stage debut next summer at the Caramoor Festival in Rameau’s Dardanus, directed by Julian Wachner and James Darrah. Nola is an Athlone Artist and is currently completing a DMA at Yale.
Corey Shotwell is a tenor specializing in the performance of music from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. His most frequent engagements include solo concert work from the Baroque period, including Handel’s Messiah and the cantatas of J.S. Bach. His St. John Passion Evangelist has been praised as being sung with “dramatic involvement and seeming ease” and whose “involvement in the text and its declamation was total” (ClevelandClassical.com). He also sang the role of the Evangelist in the modern-era premiere of C.P.E. Bach’s St. Luke Passion (1775). Recent concert engagements include performing Handel’s Alexander’s Feast with Masaaki Suzuki in New York City and appearances with Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia Orchestra, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Newberry Consort, Haymarket Opera Company, The Thirteen, Quire Cleveland, Cleveland Chamber Choir, and the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne.