at St. Mary's, Barnstable, MA
The 2016 festival has concluded.
2017 dates will be posted when available
Thomas Dressler is known for exciting, passionate performances on the organ and harpsichord which combine warm musicality with historic techniques. He has been performing for more than thirty years, often on historic instruments, including some of America's oldest and most historic organs. He has appeared on local television in NY, the Poconos, and Philadelphia. His playing at the opening concert of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Round Lake organ was described by audience members as "riveting" and "stunningly elegant." In August of 2001 he recorded the 1847 Ferris organ at Round Lake, NY, and the CD was released in 2003; it received a feature review in The American Organist magazine. In 2012, he released a CD recorded on the Paul Fritts organ at Princeton Theological Seminary, which was featured on Pipedreams on National Public Radio.
“Mr. Dressler is an organist with solid technique, well known for his exquisite rendering of Renaissance and Baroque music." —NJ chapter, American Guild of Organists
“He is a quiet, unassuming individual, but his playing is anything but subdued. There is a continuing musical sensitivity, maturity, and technical security here that is impressive by any standard, and the instrument literally comes to life under his thoughtful touch. A graduate of both Susquehanna University and Westminster Choir College, one hopes the organ profession will hear much more of this fine young artist in the years ahead. From beginning to end, the playing is carefully considered, always sensitive to performance practice, and faultlessly accurate. . ." Stephen Pinel - The American Organist
But he does not only specialize in "early" music. He also spends much time exploring performance practices of the 19th century, trying to uncover possible modern misconceptions about this music and present it in a manner the composers would have recognized. As a teenager, Mr. Dressler studied organ with James Boeringer and practiced on an 1894 Felgemaker organ. During this time he developed a strong interest in historic "tracker action" organs. He also began to have an interest in historic performing practices (using the information available in old treatises to attempt to play music in a way similar to how the composers may have originally heard it.) When historic fingerings and articulations are matched with the music being played, it is possible to infuse it with a degree of emotion and excitement not possible using purely modern techniques. He pursued these techniques throughout his college years, earning a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, cum laude, from Susquehanna University, and a Master of Music in Performance, with honors, from Westminster Choir College. At Westminster, he studied organ with Mark Brombaugh and Joan Lippincott.
Mr. Dressler has held large church positions in Philadelphia and New Jersey, where he is also known as a choral director. He is currently employed as Organist/Director of Music at First United Church of Christ in Reading, PA. He has also been a featured lecturer in various venues in addition to lecturing at Warren County Community College (NJ), speaking on topics such as Performance Practices of the Baroque Era, various topics in music history and appreciation, and Music and Holistic Health. His special abilities to communicate, both as a speaker and performer, are combined in his performances, where he discusses much of the music he performs. Audiences respond enthusiastically. A reporter from a local newspaper in Pennsylvania has said, "Dressler interacts with the audience on a very personal level, appealing to young and old alike. One comes away from each program knowing they have learned something."
Directed by Simon Carrington since 2003, Canto Armonico began several years earlier as a small graduate student choral group at Harvard University devoted to the performance of early music. Original conductors and founders Akiko Fujimoto and Amy Dethman Vestbo have gone on to pursue careers elsewhere, but the original aim of the ensemble is still in effect: to strive for engaging, polished, and professional music-making. While Canto group picture Armonico's membership has varied from 14 to 26 singers according to its repertoire choices, the group now includes select young professional choral singers from the Boston area along with graduate and undergraduate students from schools such as Harvard University, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston University, Wellesley College, and the Longy School of Music. Canto Armonico is unique among Boston choruses in remaining an educational group: students learn from their more established peers.
“Canto and Carrington gave us a rousing, dynamically vital interpretation in which the expressive character of the all-important chant between sections lent just as much to the piece’s terrific thrust as did the massed, full-throated parts. Canto’s choral tuning and intonation were a delight, as was their brilliant power in the final bars.” -Boston Musical Intelligencer
Canto Armonico Artistis Director and Cotuit native Cheryl Ryder studied at Cape Cod Conservatory, then later at Dana Hall School of Music and Wellesley College, participating in most of the musical organizations on campus as singer, keyboardist or wind player. After college she continued her concentration in organ in master classes with Europeans Harald Vogel and Klaas Bolt and their tours to many historic instruments. She also studied recorder and baroque violin. In 1978 she began a 32-year association with the Choir of the Church of the Advent in Boston, serving as singer, editor of many motets, and occasional assisting conductor and organist. With fellow Advent soprano Noël Bisson and Scott Metcalfe, she co-founded Blue Heron Renaissance Choir in 1999, and that same year she entered Boston University’s MBA program where she won the business plan competition for a nanotechnology startup in 2001. She also has a graduate degree from Harvard University. Currently she is artistic director and manager of the ensemble Canto Armonico. Since 2011 she has been a member of the choir and assisting organist/director at Boston’s First Lutheran Church, where Canto Armonico is Ensemble in Residence.
Ensemble Passacaglia is a Cape Cod-based instrumental quartet specializing in ancient music. The group formed as a trio in 2001 to accompany the Solstice Singers renaissance choir, with viola da gamba player Molly Johnston joining in 2007. The core of our repertoire is medieval and renaissance music from across Europe and beyond, featuring cantigas, madrigals, canzonas, lute songs, and a variety of dance pieces from estampies to galliards. Passacaglia aims to transport listeners to another time and place and to bring ancient music forward with fresh interpretations and an emphasis on cross-cultural connections. Members of the group are Jan Elliott (recorder, crumhorn, cornamuse); Lisa Esperson (percussion); Tom Hanna (lute, mandolin); and Molly Johnston (viola da gamba, vielle).
Jan Elliott (recorder, crumhorn, cornamuse, concertina) has performed and taught music and dance for many years. Studying recorder as a child with Ruth Guillard and Patricia Brown in Falmouth, she developed a deep interest in medieval, renaissance, baroque and world music. She earned a BA in music from Wesleyan University and an MA in dance ethnology from UCLA, taught music education at Boston University and studied ethnomusicology at the University of London. She currently teaches music in her home studio and dance at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod, and maintains an active interest in traditional music and dance from the British Isles.
Lisa Esperson (riqq, darbuka, tambourine, tar, and other percussion) got her start in early music by singing and playing recorder and percussion with the group In Praise of Folly, which performed at the Boston Early Music Festival in 1991. She teaches percussion to children and adults in the Falmouth, MA community with an emphasis on traditional music and techniques, and directs the world music ensemble Intersection. Dr. Esperson is a Chiropractic Physician and has been in private practice since 1982.
Tom Hanna (lute, mandolin, guitar, oud) has been playing classical guitar for over four decades and lute for about 17 years. He has maintained an active interest in medieval and renaissance music since his college days, though he was raised with heavy metal music and also plays with the rock band Med Hedz. Dr. Hanna is an internist in Sandwich and has practiced medicine on Cape Cod for over 25 years. He lives in Sandwich, MA with his wife and son.
Molly Johnston (viola da gamba, vielle) holds degrees in Music History from Wellesley College and Yale University and has taught Music History at Duke University, where she directed the Collegium Musicum. She also directed the Utah Shakespearean Festival Consort and the renaissance and baroque music group Quidam Musici of New Haven, CT. She has recorded with the New England Consort of Viols and taught viola da gamba and early music performance at the Viola da Gamba Society of America Conclave.
Douglas Keilitz is Director of Music Ministries and Organist at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Barnstable, Massachusetts. For ten years prior to his appointment on Cape Cod, he was Organist and Choirmaster at St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Mr. Keilitz is active as a recitalist, performing concerts in many of New York’s landmark churches, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. Mary the Virgin, the Church of the Transfiguration, and St. Paul’s Chapel. Quoting the Lehigh Valley Chapter AGO newsletter after a performance in Allentown, Pennsylvania: “Douglas Keilitz amazed the listeners with a breathtaking performance of the (Bach) Pièce d’Orgue“...and “His playing was outstanding...“
"Douglas Keilitz amazed the listeners with a breathtaking performance of the (Bach) Pièce d’Orgue...His playing was outstanding." —Lehigh Valley Chapter AGO newsletter
He has performed in master classes with renowned organists Marie-Claire Alain (filmed by the American Guild of Organists as part of its “Masters Series” DVD collection), Olivier Latry, James David Christie, Charles Callahan, and Martin Jean. An experienced choral director, he has founded several community choruses and is a former director of the Greater Trenton Choral Society. He is also active as an accompanist and vocal coach, and serves in that capacity for several community choruses and synagogues.
Mr. Keilitz is a member of the Executive Board of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, previously holding the position of Registrar, and currently serving as Archivist. An elected member of the St. Wilfrid Club (New York City’s organists ‘society’), he is also a member of the Anglican Association of Musicians, the Royal College of Organists, and the Gregorian Society.
In addition to his musical career, Mr. Keilitz is also active as a pipe organ builder, restorer, technician, and curator. He is skilled at cabinet and furniture-grade woodworking, is fond of all things nautical, and enjoys his automobiles and motorcycles..
BREVE specializes in performing music of the 17th and 18th centuries on original instruments. Based in New York City since 1990, the group has toured the United States, Mexico, and Europe, offering unique programs of extraordinary variety and charm to audiences of all ages and cultures. The core members are Deborah Booth (recorder & traverso), Stephen Rapp (harpsichord & organ) Lisa Terry (viola da gamba and cello will also perform on the Cape Cod Early Music Festival with BREVE.
BREVE has given performances at Boston Early Music Festival, and in New York City at Merkin Hall, Trinity Wall Street, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Midtown Concerts, Jewish Museum and Roerich Museum. Other concerts include Columbia University, a tour of Tuscany as artists-in-residence at University of Siena (Italy), and colleges and universities throughout the US.
“…a rich approach, wonderful results, vigorous yet nuanced playing, lively, clever and substantive conversation ...” —American Recorder
Several renowned performing artists and ensembles bring their talents to Barnstable for two weeks in July 2015. The Cape Cod Early Music Festival offers professional performances of music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods in an intimate and air-conditioned setting. Enjoy a stroll through the church's English-style gardens, and then attend a concert performed by some of the finest musicians on the Early Music scene. A reception follows each concert in the parish house.
Bach & Before
Music by J.S. Bach and composers who influenced him
Celestial Harmonies, Divine Inspiration:
Tudor Music of John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis, and William Byrd
Masterful choral works from the tumultuous years during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, as England's allegiance to the Pope fell into disfavor and music for the church transformed radically.
Cheryl Ryder, conductor
Miri it is – A Garland of Ancient Music
Ensemble Passacaglia presents a garland of musical gems, from the 12th through 18th centuries, on Renaissance winds, strings and percussion.
Jan Elliott, Lisa Esperson, Tom Hanna, Molly Johnston
Better Early AND Late
Organ works of Sweelinck, Cornet, Buxtehude, Bach
Music of the 17th & 18th centuries by Castello, Hotteterre, Sainte-Colombe, Mancini, Telemann & J. S. Bach
Deborah Booth, recorder & traverso; Stephen Rapp, harpsichord & organ; Lisa Terry, viola da gamba and cello
All Tickets: $20;
Advance purchase tickets are available by emailing
or calling 508-362-3977 ext 15
Remaining tickets will also be available at the door
beginning one-half hour prior to
the start of each performance.
Please feel free to contact us for further information.
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