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Ensemble Galilei (Instrumental Ensemble)

Founded: 1990 - USA

Ensemble Galilei (= EG) is made up of six women with classical and folk music training, all of whom have more than a passing acquaintance with higher education and musical excellence. They take their name from composer and father of the astronomer Galileo Galilei. Although they are all classically trained, most of them participate in the folk music world as well, either playing in sessions or judging competitions. While their academic credentials demonstrate discipline and explain the technical expertise evident in the songs, Ensemble Galilei have blended medieval, classical and folk pieces to create a peaceful and stately work. They are very technically precise but do not let that overwhelm the emotional qualities of the various pieces. The Ensemble performs Irish, Scottish, Early and Original music.

For the 2005-2006 season, Ensemble Galilei are offering a series of innovative programs, including two with guest artists -- the group will be joined by renowned Scottish folk singer Jean Redpath for selected concert appearances; and will be joined by NPR journalist Neal Conan (host of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation) for programs of music, spoken word and projections of new images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mixing the colors and styles of early instruments with Celtic traditions, the group includes Liz Knowles, fiddler from Riverdance, and Sue Richards, US National Scottish Harp Champion. Equally at home with Irish Reels, Medieval Cantigas and English Country Dance tunes, they are versatile, virtuosic, energetic, and very entertaining. Ensemble Galilei bring to CDs and the stage "All the precision of a first rate classical string quartet" and "communication between performers and audience at it best."


Liz Knowles (fiddle)

Fiddler Liz Knowles holds a B.A. in Music from SUNY Stony.
She began her many-faceted career in the freelance scene of New York City, most notably performing and/or recording with such varied artists as pianist Marcus Roberts, singer Paula Cole, and composer Steve Reich. After finding Irish music, her career took an abrupt turn. She was the fiddle soloist with Riverdance, a member of Cherish the Ladies, soloist with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and was featured on the soundtrack for Michael Collins. She released "The Celtic Fiddle of Liz Knowles" and has recorded and/or performed with such artists as Altan, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Dennis Cahill, Natalie MacMaster, Don Henley, Rachel Barton and Tim O'Brien.
As a member of Ensemble Galilei, Liz Knowles has been able to integrate her classical and traditional backgrounds in performance as well as composition and arrangement. Her tunes and arrangements can also be heard on albums by John Whelan, Liz Carroll, The String Sisters, Beolach (Cape Breton), Bachue (Scotland), and Flook (Ireland).

Kathryn Montoya (oboe & recorder)

Kathryn Montoya is completing a doctorate at Indiana University, where she studied historical oboes with Washington McClain and recorder with Eva Legêne. She holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University.
Kathryn Montoya has performed with many ensembles, including Apollo's Fire, The Newberry Consort, Ensemble Arion, the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theatre, Aradia Ensemble, and the Washington Bach Consort. She is a recipient of the prestigious Performers Certificate at Indiana University and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany. Kathryn Montoya was a finalist in the American Bach Soloists Competition and has appeared as a soloist with the Bloomington Early Music Festival Orchestra and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. In the summer of 2005 she performed with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra in the world premiere of Johann Mattheson's Boris Goudenow and was on faculty at Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute.
Kathryn Montoya has recorded for the Naxos label.

Deborah Nuse (Scottish small pipes and fiddle)

Deborah Nuse finished high school unsure of what she wanted to be when she grew up. She settled on fine arts and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.F.A. in drawing. She worked as a graphic artist, portrait painter, nursery school teacher, pet-sitter and calligrapher.
In 1990 she discovered Celtic fiddle music and was introduced to Scottish small pipes by piper extraordinaire, Hamish Moore. It was then that her love affair with the pipes began. She went home and began playing with contra dance bands Spontaneous Combustion and later Absence of Mallards, singing in the folk duo Farther Shore, and providing Scottish music for country dancing, balls and other affairs in the New York Metropolitan area. She has worked on many projects with Martita Goshen's Earth Works Dance Troupe, including a film project in Greece. She has been an on-stage musician in a production of She Stoops to Conquer at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.
At present she is also part of the Celtic duo "Calanish" and spends her spare time with her elderly parents, cats, dog, and hedgehog.

Sue Richards (Celtic harp)

Sue Richards is a collector of tunes, mostly Celtic and Scandinavian. She has played the harp, both pedal and Celtic, since childhood, and found it to be the perfect instrument for her passion. To this end, she has won the Scottish Harp Society of America championship four times, studied and taught in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and recorded with many friends, a natural outgrowth of a good party or session. She has sat in with the Chieftains and played for President and Mrs. Clinton. She also performs with "HEN" harp duo and "Harp and Fool" with mime Mark Jaster.
Her solo recordings are on the Maggies Music label.

Carolyn Anderson Surrick (viola da gamba)

Carolyn started performing early music professionally at age 14. At the ripe old age of 16, she took up the viola da gamba and never looked back. While working on her BA in music at UCSC, she became the first student director of the early music ensemble, and then as a graduate student at George Washington University, she directed the instrumental ensemble for their early music consort. In 1990, she started the Music in the Great Hall Series in her hometown of Annapolis, Maryland bringing some of the finest early music and traditional music to the city. In the same year she founded Ensemble Galilei wanting to create a group that was based on a shared passion for music, rather than a genre. Her official title has always been navigatrix—which refers to her uncanny ability to dream up cool things for the group to do, and then make them happen.
Over the years she has recorded for Dorian, Maggie’s Music, Telarc, and NPR Classics. She loves her work.

Source: Mostly from Ensemble Galilei & Jonathan Wentworth Websites
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Under their name


BWV 508

Links to other Sites

Ensemble Galilei (Official Website)

Ensemble Galilei (Jonathan Wentrorth)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 03:08