2020 Presenters

Maxine Eilander plays on a range of specialized Baroque and classical harps. She has most recently started working on a project of harp and violin music by little known female composers of the Classical and Romantic periods with violinist Tekla Cunningham. She is a regular harpist for Pacific MusicWorks in Seattle and with the Boston Early Music Festival. 

She has appeared as a soloist with many leading ensembles including Tragicomedia and Tafelmusik. Maxine has performed at numerous opera houses and festivals including the Covent Garden Festival, Staatstheater Stuttgart and Netherlands Opera, playing continuo in productions of various baroque operas and chamber music. In 2012 Maxine was invited to perform Handel’s Harp Concerto at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver.

Recordings include Handel’s Harp, released on ATMA, with all of Handel’s obligato music written for the harp, including his famous harp concerto.


Chris O’Connell has been providing “music at the bedside” to hospice patients since 1998.   From 2001- 2004 he coordinated Hospice of San Luis Obispo’s Supportive Music Program.  In 2004 he founded the Hospice Music Program for Wilshire Hospice, which serves the terminally ill in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, California.  Today he leads a team of hospice musicians for Wilshire Hospice while continuing to provide music to hospice patients and their caregivers.   Chris has served as Presenter on the subject of Music and Hospice Care  and The Musical Imagination at conferences throughout the West Coast of the US.  As a performing artist, he has performed at festivals and for retreats and conferences around the U.S.


Dr. Craig Russell is steeped in the music of Spain and the Hispano-American world; he speaks often at international conferences andconventions in North America, Mexico, Spain, France, Venezuela, Bolivia,and Austria and has published over 100 articles on eighteenth-century Hispanic studies, Mexican cathedral music, the California missions, and American popular culture.

In 2013 Dr. Russell was elected into honorary membership of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi in Barcelona—an exceedingly rare privilege for a non-Spaniard.  He authored 26 articles for the newest edition of The New Grove Dictionary and collaborated with Chanticleer on a DVD film and four CDs, two of which received Gramophone award nominations.

His publications have also won numerous awards. His book “From Serra to Sancho: Music and Pageantry in the California Missions” won the 2010 Edna Kimbro award as the most distinguished publication dealing with missions. “J.B. Sancho: Pioneer Composer of California” won the Historical Society of Southern California’s Norman Neuerburg Award for outstanding writing in early California history in 2007.


Jennifer Sayre has researched Spanish 16th and 17th century harp techniques and music at the Biblioteca National, Madrid; El Escorial, San Lorenzo; and the Hispanic Society in New York City.

Her radio broadcasts include Artists in Concert on WQXR, New York and the nationally-broadcast Millenium of Music on WETA, Washington DC. Her solo recordings are Harp Music of the Americas, issued by Musical Heritage Society, and Renaissance Soul: Music of Antonio de Cabezón. 

She has appeared with Apollo’s Fire, Chanticleer, Chatham Baroque, Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, Magnificat Baroque of San Francisco, and New York Ensemble for Early Music.


Nancy Thym’s programs, which combine harp music, songs, stories and dance, are warmly received all over the world. In her native California she studied theater, dance and anthropology and later folklore and ethnomusicology. For over 40 years she has lived in Germany where she transforms her extensive research on the history of the harp into programs which are both entertaining and educational – storytelling combined with songs and harp music, ballad programs on specific themes or one-woman theater pieces in which she portrays harpists of the past. Nancy is also recognized as the leading scholar on the history and playing technique of the Norwegian krogharpe. She leads workshops and performs regularly in Norway.


Jan Walters enjoys a varied career, having performed all over Europe, in Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and the USA. She has been a featured soloist in both concerts and recordings with many of Europe’s leading period instrument ensembles including The Consort of Music, The Sixteen, and The Purcell Quartet. She has played at The Proms in The Royal Albert Hall, recorded the soundtrack for the Merchant Ivory film; Jefferson in Paris; on her Erard single-action pedal harp, and appeared with The Netherlands Opera as a continuo player. A Fulbright Senior Research scholar, Jan has uncovered music for the Italian Baroque triple harp and the single-action pedal harp in European music archives; some of which she has recorded for BBC Radio. Jan has appeared on both Radio and Television in the USA, Canada, and Europe. She has released five compact disc recordings under her own name on ASV Records’ Gaudeamus;series including solo disc of music by Jean Baptiste-Krumpholtz on the single-action pedal harp.