Heather Miller Lardin
Heather Miller Lardin enjoys a diverse career performing and teaching on historical and modern double basses and viola da gamba. In Philadelphia, she appears with Tempesta di Mare, the Philadelphia Bach Collegium, and nearby Brandywine Baroque. Other recent engagements have brought Heather to perform with the Staunton Music Festival, the Handel & Haydn Society, the Dryden Ensemble, NYS Baroque, and Pegasus Early Music. Lardin is also the founder and co-director of Night Music, a "serenade" chamber ensemble that presents engaging performances of chamber music from the Revolutionary and Romantic eras on instruments of the time.
As director of the Temple University Early Music Ensemble, Heather leads viol and recorder consorts, voices, lutes, and Baroque ensembles. She also directs the annual Amherst Early Music Winter Weekend Workshop held each January in Old City Philadelphia and Camden. In January 2018, Lardin launched an in-school Suzuki double bass program sponsored by Musicopia at Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia. In her home studio, she teaches Suzuki double bass and viola da gamba to young students with her two Maine Coon cats assisting.
Heather is the editor of the early bass feature “Rumblings” in Bass World, the journal of the International Society of Bassists (ISB), and regularly presents lectures and recitals at the ISB’s biannual conventions. She serves on the faculty of the Curtis Young Artists Summerfest and on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association. From 2006-2013 she served as Artistic Director of the Ithaca, NY-based period instrument ensemble NYS Baroque. Heather holds a DMA in Historical Performance Practice from Cornell University and is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.
Heather joins Brandywine Baroque as a soloist in The Triumph of Love in October and as a member of the Brandywine Baroque Orchestra in December and March.
Described by The New York Times as a "glowing countertenor", Augustine Mercante enjoys an active career performing repertoire from the Baroque to the more recently created. His 2014-2015 season includes multiple performances with the American Spiritual Ensemble, including a debut at Avery Fisher Hall, a return to the West Coast for Messiah with the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Bach's Magnificat with the Delaware Choral Artists, a concert featuring airs from William Shield's Robin Hood with Brandywine Baroque (Wilmington, DE), and his return to the Oregon Bach Festival as a soloist in Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Cantata 150.
In 2014 he premiered Aaron Grad's Old-Fashioned Love Songs for countertenor and electric theorbo, an instrument which the composer created and built, and was praised by the Washington Post for his "full-bodied sweetness, exemplary pitch, and a reliably musical imagination." He also joined the Delaware Choral Artists for Purcell’s Come, Ye Sons of Art, the Newark Symphony Orchestra for its annual holiday concert, and Brandywine Baroque for an all-Vivaldi program. Additionally, Gus joined the American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) for a tour of Ireland, France, Spain, and the southern United States and in St. Paul for Minnesota Public Radio.
In 2013, Gus was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. He was also a Vocal Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center where his performance in the American premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin was described by the Wall Street Journal as "riveting" with a voice that "soared above the texture, lining the text with the haloed elegance of gold-leaf inscription". Written on Skin was named by some critics as the highlight of the Festival and was later broadcast on New York Classical Radio.
Other recent or noteworthy engagements include Handel's Dettinger Te Deum under the baton of Ton Koopman at Carnegie Hall, Bach’s Magnificat with the New York City Master Chorale and Amor Artis (NY), Orff's Carmina Burana with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with the Mid-Columbia Master Singers in Washington State, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with CoroAllegro, and Messiah with the Turtle Creek Chorale (Dallas), Ft. Worth Symphony, and at the Grand Opera House (Wilmington, DE). With the Dallas Bach Society he was heard as Pontius Pilate in Handel’s rarely heard St. John Passion and in Stradella's La Susanna with Brandywine Baroque. At the University of North Texas (UNT), he appeared as Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Lidio in Cavalli's L'Egisto. Gus has twice appeared on Xiang Gao's Master Players Concert Series at the University of Delaware and was also the only non-faculty soloist at the 75 Anniversary of the University of Delaware Department of Music. He performed his cabaret recital, No Diva Left Behind, for the Wilmington Fringe Festival and participated in a concert remembering the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.
For winning the 2007 Austrian American Society (of Wilmington, DE) Competition, Gus earned a fellowship to study in Salzburg at the Internationalen Sommerakademie Mozarteum where he was named one of two outstanding vocalists and invited to sing at the Salzburg Festival. In 2008 he won second place in the Bel Canto Vocal Competition held in Providence, RI, and was the youngest finalist in the 2008 Ft. Worth Opera Marguerite McCammon Vocal Competition. He holds additional awards from Early Music America, the University of Delaware Alumni Association, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Five Towns Music and Art Foundation, the Long Island Masterworks Chorale, the Donna Reed Foundation, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
As a 2010 Fulbright Scholar, Gus completed post-graduate studies in Augsburg, Germany with soprano Edith Wiens and performed with opera companies in Munich, Augsburg, and Nurnberg for the International Gluck Festival. His earlier degrees are from the University of North Texas and the University of Delaware, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Robert King Memorial Scholarship.
Gus and his partner, Justin, live in Wilmington, Delaware where Gus maintains a private teaching studio, is on voice faculty at The Music School of Delaware, and is an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University.
Augustine Mercante joins Brandywine Baroque for Love in a Village in March.
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. He has collaborated with several early music luminaries, and has been featured as a soloist in concert venues worldwide. Notable performances include his 2013 appearance as the bass soloist in Bach's Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore, and his 2014 appearances at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC as Harapha in Handel's Samson (HWV 57) under the direction of Nicholas McGegan and as the bass soloist in Bach's Johannespassion (BWV 245), directed by Masaaki Suzuki. This summer he was also the bass soloist for the Dartmouth Handel Society's performance of Bach's Magnificat in D (BWV 243) and Dvořák's Stabat Mater (Op. 58), directed by Robert Duff.
As an avid performer of medieval and Renaissance music, both as a vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player, Andrew has had the opportunity to study and perform with leading experts in the field. In 2012 he worked with Susan Hellauer, a founding member of Anonymous 4, on a performance based on the plainchant First Vespers for Christmas with polyphonic selections from the Las Huelgas Codex. In the summer of 2013 he attended Early Music Vancouver’s Mediaeval Programme, where he worked with members of the medieval music ensemble Sequentia and its founder, Benjamin Bagby, on a performance entitled The Unknown “Carmina Burana”, featuring 12th-century music from the collection of medieval songs now known as the Carmina Burana. In 2015 Andrew performed a series of concerts with The Thirteen featuring a broad selection of Franco-Flemish polyphony, followed by several 2016-2017 performances with TENET, featuring songs in the 14th-century ars nova and ars subtilior traditions and the 15th-century Burgundian School.
Andrew holds a B.S. in physics, an M.M. in voice from UC Santa Barbara, and an M.M. in Early Music, Oratorio, and Chamber Ensemble at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied under tenor James Taylor, and was a member of the internationally-acclaimed Yale Schola Cantorum. He is based in New York City, where he sings with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys under the direction of Daniel Hyde.
Andrew will join Brandywine Baroque as a Soloist in Two Philosophers in February and will sing the role of Hawthorne in Love in a Village in March.
A native of Kansas City, MO, tenor Andrew Fuchs is in high demand as a soloist and chamber musician. Passionate about performing the music of our time, his recent solo appearances include Steve Reich’s Three Tales, Daniel Variations, and You Are (Variations), all with Ensemble Signal at Disney Hall and Miller Theatre; the world premiere of Alexander Goehr’s Verschwindenes Wort at The Juilliard School’s Focus Festival; the world premiere of Zachary Wadsworth’s oratorio, Spire and Shadow, with Downtown Voices; Tomasso in Laura Schwendinger’s opera, Artemisia, at Trinity Wall Street’s Time’s Arrow Festival; 21st-century American art songs with Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest; and the NY premiere of David Leisner’s song cycle, Of Darkness and Light, on the Music on Madison recital series. Other recent highlights include Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes, Curlew River, and Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group; Misael in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and Tristan in Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé with Montreal’s Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime; the Evangelist in both the St. Matthew and St. John Passions with the Saint Andrew Chorale and Canticum Novum; Bach’s Magnificat with the American Classical Orchestra (Lincoln Center solo debut); and Monteverdi’s Vespers with The Thirteen (Kennedy Center solo debut).
An adept chamber singer, he frequently performs with preeminent ensembles such as ARTEK, Pegasus Early Music, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, New York Polyphony, Seraphic Fire, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Musica Sacra, and the Clarion Choir. He has collaborated on numerous commercial recordings, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe, the Clarion Choir’s 2017 Grammy-nominated Steinberg: Passion Week, Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli with New York Polyphony, and Paola Prestini’s Oceanic Verses.
Andrew spent two summers as a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center (where he studied with Dawn Upshaw and Håkan Hagegård); was a Fellow at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, focusing on American art songs by living composers, led by Stephanie Blythe and Alan Louis Smith; and was a finalist in the 2015 Joy In Singing competition. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University where he also earned his master’s degree. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. He lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with his partner, oboist Scott Bartucca, and their mischievous tuxedo cat, Lucy.
Andrew will perform the role of Eustace in Love in a Village in March.
“Pure and shining” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) soprano Clara Rottsolk has been lauded by The New York Times for her “clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction” and by The Philadelphia Inquirer for the “opulent tone [with which] every phrase has such a communicative emotional presence.” In a repertoire extending from the Renaissance to the contemporary, her solo appearances with orchestras and chamber ensembles have taken her across the United States, the Middle East, Japan and South America. She specializes in historically informed performance practice, singing with ensembles including American Bach Soloists, Tempesta di Mare, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Les Délices, Pacific MusicWorks, St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue, Virginia Symphony, Atlanta Baroque, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Piffaro—The Renaissance Wind Band, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Trinity Wall Street Choir, Seraphic Fire, New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, ARTEK, and the Masterwork Chorus under the direction of conductors including Joshua Rifkin, Bruno Weil, Paul Goodwin, Jeffrey Thomas, Andrew Megill, John Scott, David Effron, and Daniel Hyde.
She has performed at the Carmel Bach Festival, Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Berkeley Early Music Festival, Philadelphia Bach Festival, Whidbey Island Music Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, and the Festival de Música Barroca de Barichara (Colombia) as well as on myriad concert series across the country. In collaboration with pianists Sylvia Berry and Byron Schenkman, and guitarist-lutenist Daniel Swenberg, Ms. Rottsolk has given recitals of song from the 17th to 21st centuries in venues including the Goethe-Institut Boston, Town Hall Seattle, St. Mark’s Church Philadelphia, and Swarthmore College. Among her stage roles are Eurydice (Orphée et Eurydice), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Ilia (Idomeneo), Micaëla (Carmen), Semele (Semele), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Arminda (La finta giardiniera), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), and Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief).
Her recordings are Myths and Allegories, French Baroque cantatas with Les Délices and “supple and stylish… and unflaggingly attractive” (Gramophone Magazine) Scarlatti Cantatas with Tempesta di Mare on the Chandos-Chaconne label. Due out soon are a recording of new compositions by Rachel Matthews, including three songs set to Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry, as well as Monteverdi Madrigals with ARTEK.
A native of Seattle, Ms. Rottsolk earned her music degrees at Rice University and Westminster Choir College, and was awarded for musical excellence by the Metropolitan Opera National Council (Northwest Region). Currently she is based in Philadelphia and teaches voice at Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.
Clara will perform the role of Lucinda in Love in a Village in March.
Donna Fournier plays viola da gamba and baroque cello with Mélomanie and La Bernardinia Baroque Ensemble and has been a guest artist with such groups as Opera Lafayette, Tempesta di Mare, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Classical Symphony. The Philadelphia Inquirer acclaimed her solo work as "poised, soulful ... [and] played with particular depth." She specializes in repertoire from the French baroque period as well as works featuring solo viola da gamba by J.S. Bach. Donna has recorded Buxtehude cantatas for PGM, Telemann trio sonatas for the Lyrichord, Boismortier trio sonatas for A Casa Discos, Jaquet de La Guerre and Bousset cantatas for Plectra Music, new music for baroque ensemble for Meyers Music and Furious Artisans.