The State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music will present a guest artist recital featuring the Elixir Baroque Ensemble on Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The Elixir Baroque Ensemble is a Toronto-based group comprised of baroque violinist Elyssa Lefurgey-Smith, viola da gambist Justin Haynes, and harpsichordist Sara-Anne Churchill. They will offer a historically informed concert of rarely performed masterpieces in the beautiful and acoustically magnificent Rosch Recital Hall. The program takes audiences on a historical journey through seventeenth and eighteenth century Germany, Italy, France and England, featuring works by Biber, Handel, Purcell, Rameau and Castello.
Lefurgey-Smith is a member of the Aradia Baroque Ensemble on both the orchestral and chamber music series, and has made six recordings with the group under the Naxos Label. She appears regularly with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Opera Atelier, Talisker players, Opera in Concert, Orchestra London and the Hamilton Philharmonic. Elyssa has been invited to perform as a guest artist with the I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble and has appeared as a soloist with the Corktown Chamber Orchestra, Georgetown Bach Chorale and the Alicier Arts Concert series.
Her international tours have included performances in Russia, Australia, France and Ireland. This summer she will be traveling with Aradia Ensemble to festivals in both St. John's, Newfoundland and Sulmona, Italy.
She has been teaching and coaching chamber music for over a decade and has served on faculty at summer music programs in Langley, B.C., and Seattle, Wash., as well as at several festivals in Ontario.
Recipient of the 2007 Montreal Baroque Prize for Audaciousness and Musicality, harpsichordist Churchill is increasingly in demand as an orchestral player, chamber musician and soloist. She has recently appeared with I Furiosi Baroque Ensemble, Aradia Ensemble, Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Mississauga Symphony and The Musicians in Ordinary and Capella Intima. One of the first graduates of the new Advanced Certificate in Performance-Baroque Option, jointly offered by the University of Toronto and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Sara has also received instruction from Olivier Fortin, Skip Sempe, Richard Egarr, Carole Cerasi and Luc Beausejour. She currently studies harpsichord with Charlotte Nediger and is a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Harpsichord Performance at the University of Toronto.
She was first introduced to music by her mother, in the form of piano lessons, and later went on to study with John Hansen, Walter Delahunt, Robin Wood and Ronald Turini. While completing a bachelor's of arts in music at the University of Western Ontario she developed an intense interest in early music and historical keyboards and studied harpsichord with Sandra Mangsen. Sara completed a master's of arts in musicology at UWO in June 2006. Her thesis research consisted of a translation and commentary of a French baroque harpsichord continuo treatise. An article based on her thesis was later published in Performance Practice Review. Her current research focuses on keyboard transcriptions of Handel opera arias and is funded by a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
Haynes studied cello and viola da gamba at Harvard and the Royal Dutch Conservatory in the Hague where his principal teachers were Philippe Pierlot, Anneke Pols and Reiner Zipperling. Currently based in Toronto, he has performed with Folia, Scaramella, Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier, as well as with the Boston-based Arcturus Chamber Ensemble and Les Bostonades. He is also a founding member of the newly formed baroque chamber ensemble, L'Indiscrete. Justin's interest in the viola da gamba includes the history and construction of the instrument itself. After making the violin he currently plays on, he was awarded a Shaw traveling fellowship to study instrument making in London and to explore the great Northern European viol collections. He maintains an atelier in Boston, where he is curator of Harvard's historical instrument collection.