The Baroque ensemble Les grâces formed in Berkeley, California in the spring of 2008 in order to explore seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. The ensemble’s performances are equally inspired by the four young performers’ passionate musicianship, as well as their collective study of historical performance practices at leading conservatories in Europe and the US.
The name Les grâces stems from a long literary and artistic tradition. The number of graces varies in different depictions, but there were usually three. Daughters of Zeus and Hera, they were representations of brightness (Aglaia), joyfulness (Euphrosyne), and bloom (Thalia). Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century artists frequently depicted them as nude females, united by a sash, representing harmony. Taken as general symbols of love, beauty, and fertility, they are often accompanied by Cupid or Mercury, their male counterparts.
JONATHAN RHODES LEE (keyboards) has performed as soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras in the United States and abroad. After finishing undergraduate studies at Colgate University, Jonathan completed his Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory, and subsequently studied at the Royal Conservatorium of The Hague, Netherlands as a Netherland-America Foundation Fulbright scholar. Jonathan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Around the Bay Area, Jonathan has appeared with groups such as the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Vermillion, and the Sarabande Baroque Ensemble, which he co-directed from 2001-2004. Jonathan has served as guest lecturer for the California Music Teachers’ Association and the Music Teachers’ National Association, has adjudicated for the Jr. Bach and Contra Costa County Baroque Festivals, and has offered masterclasses in Baroque Performance Practice for the San Francisco Conservatory’s Preparatory Division. He has recorded music of seventeenth-century Italy on the Fafarela label, and is currently recording a solo harpsichord album of late eighteenth-century French music. In addition to his performing activities, Jonathan offers services as an instrument technician. Jonathan is also the co-author of The Goldberg Variations Reader: A Performer’s Guide for Teachers and Students, which appeared in print in September, 2002. His harpsichord instructors have included Jacques Ogg, Davitt Moroney, Laurette Goldberg, and Joscelyn Godwin.
REBEKAH AHRENDT (viola da gamba) has been described as “a player to watch” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and praised for her “dark, rich tone” and “fine form” (Fanfare). She appears in the United States and Europe as a soloist and with a variety of ensembles, including Les grâces, Les Violettes, Long & Away, Sonnambula, and Disperata. Rebekah is particularly known for her sensitive accompaniment of singers, one of her favorite occupations. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands, where she studied viola da gamba and historical performing practices, Rebekah also holds the Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley. She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Tufts University.
ANNETTE BAUER (recorder) <www.annettebauer.com> A native of Germany, Annette studied medieval and renaissance music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, specializing in recorder techniques with Conrad Steinmann (2001). She holds an MA in music from UC Santa Cruz (2004), and has been a student at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California since 1998, where she studies North Indian classical music on sarode.
As a recorder player, Annette regularly performs with Istanpitta medieval music ensemble, and has appeared at the Santa Cruz Baroque and the Carmel Bach Festivals, as well as with Texas Early Music Project, Chamber Music San Francisco, the Catacoustic Consort, and the California Bach Society. She has served on the recorder faculty for several of the San Francisco Early Music Society summer workshops, as well as for the Texas Fall Toot and the San Francisco Orff Certification Course. Annette currently teaches music at a K-8 school in Oakland, CA, and regularly conducts recorder workshops and classes in medieval notation in the San Francisco Bay Area.
JENNIFER PAULINO (soprano) <http://www.jenniferpaulino.com/> has been called a “standout among emerging Baroque vocalists,” and has performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe. Solo highlights include the title role in Acis and Galatea (Handel), the role of Daniele in Stradella’s La Susanna, and a solo concert at the Bach Festival of Gliwice, Poland. She has appeared with the Southwest Florida Symphony, Magnificat Baroque Ensemble (Berkeley), Leiden Baroque Ensemble (Netherlands), and the Catacoustic Consort (Cincinnati).
As an ensemble singer Jennifer has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, as well as on recordings contracted by the Spoleto Festival USA and the Washington National Cathedral. Jennifer has studied Baroque singing with Julianne Baird, Jill Feldman, and Michael Chance, and holds performance degrees from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Netherlands and Westminster Choir College of Rider University.