HARMONIE is a Canadian/American period-instrument ensemble dedicated to exploring little-known musical treasures of 17th- and early 18th- century Europe. Our mission is to perform masterworks that demonstrate the emotional depth and richness of musical life in those challenging times, presented in frames and contexts that open new windows on music’s past.
JANET SCOTT, historical keyboards
Harpsichordist JANET SCOTT has been active as a soloist and continuo player for over twenty-five years, performing in Canada, the United States, England, and Austria. Among her teachers are the well-known British scholar and harpsichordist, Colin Tilney, and Elisabeth Wright, professor of harpsichord and forte piano at the Early Music Institute, Indiana University, where Janet earned her Masters degree in Harpsichord Performance. While living in Canada, Janet was a recipient of numerous Canadian government Arts Grants. She was also a founding member of two Baroque ensembles, served as manager of a Baroque orchestra, was the artistic director of the summer music series Music on the Red in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and toured the province of Nova Scotia performing two-harpsichord music at historical churches in the famed Canadian concert series, Musique Royale.
She now lives in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband, harpsichord-maker David Jensen, where she is a sound recording cataloger for the William & Gayle Cook Music Library at Indiana University. Janet is the harpsichordist with Génération Harmonique, a baroque ensemble based in Bloomington. She is also organist and choir conductor at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Martinsville, Indiana. Janet gives harpsichord lessons privately, performs regularly with the Fort Wayne Bach Collegium, and freelances with ensembles in the U.S. and in Ontario. A keen amateur viol player, Janet was editor of the VdGSA News, the Viola da Gamba Society of America’s quarterly newsletter from 2010-2012.
PHILLIP W. SERNA, viola da gamba
PHILLIP W. SERNA performs on double bass with numerous Midwest orchestras as well as on violas da gamba with period-instrument Early Music ensembles including Ars Antigua, the Bach Collegium of Fort Wayne, Burning River Baroque, the Callipygian Players, the Chicago Early Music Consort, Duo fantaisie en Echo, Madison Bach Musicians, the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, New Comma Baroque, the Newberry Consort, the Oriana Singers, the Second City Musick, the Secret of the Muses, the Spirit of Gambo – a Chicago Consort of Viols, and many others. In performance, Phillip has appeared on Chicago’s 98.7FM WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio and WUIS NPR and can be heard on CD releases from Clarion, Cedille, Soundbyte and Varèse Sarabande Records. On viol, Phillip appears as a recitalist performing old and new works for viol and as an orchestral concert soloist. In addition to teaching privately in the greater Chicago-area, Phillip is instructor of double bass and viola da gamba at Valparaiso University. Phillip is the founder and music director of the Early Music outreach program Viols in Our Schools, Early Music America’s Outreach Award recipient of 2010. Phillip has been a recipient of Viola da Gamba Society of America Grants-in-Aid to Young Artists and featured on numerous occasions at the Gamba Gamut, a VdGSA-hosted showcase at the Boston Early Music Festivals. Phillip holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Masters and Doctorate degrees from Northwestern University School of Music where he studied viola da gamba with Newberry Consort founder Mary Springfels. Phillip continues to study the viol at workshops and master classes with instructors including Erin Headley, Wieland Kuijken, Catherina Meints, Gail Ann Schroeder, Christel Thielmann and Brent Wissick.
Phillip Serna performs on a 7-string bass viol ‘Natalia La Reveuse – The Dreamer’ (after Colichon) by Jane Julier, Devon, UK, #129, 2007.
SHEILA SMYTH, Baroque violin
SHEILA SMYTH is a busy performer with many ensembles, both Baroque and modern, on violin, viola, and treble viola da gamba. She is principal violist of Nota Bene Baroque Players and of Opera York. She has performed with many early music ensembles in and around Toronto, including Tafelmusik, Opera Atelier, Aradia and Musicians in Ordinary. Sheila is a frequent guest soloist with the Toronto Continuo Collective, and as a chamber musician, has performed on several concert series, including Scaramella, Luminato, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, Primavera Concerts, TEMC’s Musically Speaking, and the MidWest Early Keyboard Society’s annual conference. As a modern violinist/violist, Sheila has worked with many orchestras throughout Ontario, including Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Orchestra London, Brantford, and Musica Viva. She has performed in the backup orchestra for various pop artists, including Led Zeppelin, Smokey Robinson, and Natalie Cole. Sheila has been heard live in performance with the Emperor Quartet on CBC Radio and on CFMX Radio and has recorded with Aradia Ensemble for Naxos Records. She is a founding member of Musathena and The Cardinal Consort of Viols.
VALERIE SYLVESTER, Baroque violin
VALERIE SYLVESTER received a Master’s Degree in violin performance from the Mannes School of Music in New York after completing undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto. She is concertmaster of the Niagara Symphony, Opera York, and Talisker Players Choral Orchestra. As a Baroque violinist, Valerie has performed with many ensembles including Opera Atelier, Aradia, and Tafelmusik, and is a founding member of Nota Bene Baroque Players. She also enjoys a busy freelancing schedule on modern violin, performing with many of the province’s symphony orchestras including Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, and Esprit Orchestra, and she was a member of the onstage band for the television show ‘Canadian Idol’ during its last five seasons, playing both modern and electric violin. As a chamber musician, Valerie has performed extensively. She is a founding member of the Yorke String Quartet and Musathena, and is a regular guest soloist with the Toronto Continuo Collective. She has premiered many new Canadian works and has performed in several series and summer festivals including Elora, Ottawa, Vancouver International, Luminato, KWCMS, Primavera, and IlluminAqua. Valerie also plays bass viola da gamba, and is a member of The Cardinal Consort of Viols.