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.
Paul Knoke began his work with historic musical instruments while a student at Brighton High School. He spent two years working with the collection of instruments at the Rochester Museum and Science Center as an Independent Studies course. His Junior year whilst earning a degree in history at the University of Rochester included a semester abroad as an intern with the musical instrument collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. While there, he organized and catalogued the museum’s files of reference photographs of instruments, and designed and implemented new display techniques for the instrument gallery. In addition to piano, organ, and harpsichord, Paul studied harp with Marie Goossens and Nan Gullo. He has been the principal harpist of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra since 1990.
Mr. Knoke is a charter member and past president of the Historical Harp Society, and has lectured and performed at several of their conferences. In 2007 he was invited to act as guest curator for the Mildred Dilling Harp Collection, now on permanent display at Indiana University. In 2012 he performed in concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the 40th Conference of the American Harp Society on an 18th century harp from his collection.
Stephen Stubbs, who won the Grammy Award as conductor for Best Opera Recording in 2015, spent a thirty-year career in Europe. He returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and Baroque opera specialists.
In 2007, Stephen established his new production company, Pacific MusicWorks (PMW), based in Seattle, reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. The company’s inaugural presentation was a production of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera The Return of Ulysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. PMW’s performances of the Monteverdi Vespers were described in the press as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world.”
Stephen Stubbs is also the Boston Early Music Festival’s Artistic Co-Director along with his long-time colleague Paul O’Dette. Stephen and Paul are also the musical directors of all BEMF operas, recordings of whichwere nominated for six Grammy awards, including one Grammy win in 2015. Also in 2015, BEMF recordings won two Echo Klassik awards and the Diapason d’Or de l’Année. In 2017, they were presented with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMWand BEMF, other recent appearances have included Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Così fan tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Handel’s Agrippina and Semele for Opera Omaha, Cavalli’s Calisto and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie for Juilliard, Mozart’s Il re pastore for the Merola program, and six productions for Opera UCLA including Cavalli’s Giasone, Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Amadigi. In recent years he has conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, Birmingham, and Houston Symphony orchestras. His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist includes well over 100 CDs, many of which have received international acclaim and awards.
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.