Board of Directors
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President – Term Expires 2024
Catherine Liddell is much in demand for her sensitivity and skill as a continuo player on theorbo and lute and has appeared with many of the leading period instrument ensembles in the U.S., including the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, and the New York Collegium.
Cathy co-founded and performs regularly with Ensemble Chanterelle and with Charivary. A frequent participant in the Aston Magna Festival, she has also performed in the Boston Early Music Festival and the Northwest and New England Bach Festivals.
Cathy has nurtured a special interest in 17th Century French lute music for many years, recording music by Jacques Gallot and others for Centaur Records. She is also editor of a volume of sacred music for lute, available through Lyre Publications.
Term Expires 2024
Brandon Acker is a classical guitarist and specialist on early plucked instruments such as the theorbo, baroque guitar, and lute. His latest passion has been running his successful YouTube channel which now has over 330,000 subscribers and 20 million views. His channel provides educational content about early plucked instruments as well as guitar tips and artistic performance videos. In 2020, he and his wife started an online school for “all things that go pluck!” called Arpeggiato. The school offers lessons from professional musicians from around the world on lute, baroque guitar, vihuela, mandolin, oud, classical guitar, and more. Within the first year of opening, they have taught over 2000 lessons to students in over 20 countries.
Brandon’s performance career has varied from starting out playing electric guitar in metal bands to his current main focus researching and performing on early plucked instruments from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He has toured extensively throughout Canada and the UK, and performed with notable groups such as the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, Piffaro, the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, the Newberry Consort, Haymarket Opera Company, Music of the Baroque, Third Coast Baroque, Opera Lafayette, and Bella Voce. For more information, please visit www.brandonackerguitar.com.
Term Expires 2023
While working at the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library at Duke, Dr. Gary Boye completed a Masters of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In July 2000, he was hired as the Music Librarian at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and has held the position ever since. Through the years, Dr. Boye worked on primary sources for plucked strings, compiling an extensive list of prints and manuscripts in two web pages: Music for the Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela (1470-1799) and Music for the Baroque Guitar.
“Creating research that is freely available to the public is important to the future of our field and, I believe, more can be done in this area. While I still publish in peer-reviewed journals on occasion and pursue traditional publishing venues, research in early music is an ongoing process and a collaborative one. Research publication only in expensive scholarly editions or journals limits the audience and impact of our research. Some of my research is online, in a rather rough, unedited form, and some is in scholarly books and journals. There is a role for both in our future.”
Term Expires 2023
Ryan Closs is a Long Island-based specialist of Historical Plucked Strings Performance. He performs in Operas, Cantatas, and Orchestras and works with dancers, singers, and chamber ensembles. Because of his duties as an outreach soloist for the LSA Ryan is head of its NY chapter. His performances have contributed to the growing knowledge and appreciation of the lute, its times, and its music – a mission he continues and expands upon with his own period ensembles ‘4&20Strings’ and ‘Early Music Long Island’.
Ryan participates in many outreach concerts bringing the lute to new audiences by performing traditional music, complimented with new contemporary folk songs in a troubadour fashion. He formed Early Music Long Island, a community-based ensemble that performs songs using ground bass progressions and improvised divisions. He is also recognized as an ‘ambassador’ for the LSA as an outreach performer, and Head of the New York Chapter of the LSA.
Ryan has an A.A.S in Classical Guitar performance from SUNY Nassau Community College, a B.S. in Lute Studies from Adelphi University, and studied at CUNY Queens College before completing his Bachelors. His primary instructors for these degrees have been Steve Leonard, Bill Zito, Chris Morrongiello, and Pat O’Brien.
Term Expires 2024
James Louder is a retired organbuilder living in Montreal, Quebec. James started life playing the classical guitar, but in time had to admit he was unlikely to have a career. He turned instead to another musical love, the pipe organ—not as a player, but as a builder. He apprenticed with the Swiss-Canadian organbuilder, Hellmuth Wolff, and spent the next forty years building tracker-action pipe organs. With his organbuilding days behind him, James now has returned to plucking—a musical circle closed, perhaps? With no ambitions as a player, his woodworking and instrument-making skills have led James to an avocation in lutherie.
In 2019 when the LSA’s Lute Rental Program expanded into Canada, James was asked to manage the comings and goings of lutes north of the border. A year later James agreed to take on the same work for the Lute Rental Program as a whole. Recently James has assumed the program’s administrative duties as Lute Rental Program Director. With his election to the LSA’s Board, James Louder is eager for the challenges facing the Lute Society of America, as we consolidate our organization and expand our scope in the years ahead.
Term Expires 2023
Trained as a classical guitarist, Jeffrey Noonan has played lute, theorbo and early guitars for some forty years across the Midwest. Based in St. Louis, he performs throughout the region with a large number of midwestern ensembles and is in demand as an accompanist and continuo player. A recognized expert on the early guitar, Jeff has produced two books and several articles for Oxford Music Online. Jeff’s current project is an edition of seventeenth-century arias by Bernardo Pasquini he uncovered in the Newberry Library. In 2016, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission awarded Jeff an Artist Fellowship in recognition of his accomplishments in scholarship, pedagogy and performance.
Jeff has been a director for several not-for-profit organizations including a literary journal and a theatre company. In 2019, he founded the presenting organization Early Music Missouri and its concert series Early Music@First. He looks forward to bringing them back for a post-covid season.
Jeff holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame, the Hartt School of Music and Washington University in St. Louis. From 1999 to 2015, Jeff taught at Southeast Missouri State University, where he directed the classical guitar program. He retired from Southeast as a Professor of Music in 2015.
Anna F. Porcaro
Term Expires 2025
Dr. Anna F. Porcaro began playing classical guitar as a teen and while in college, a music professor introduced her to the lute. Since then, she has enjoyed soloing, accompaning and performing in ensemble with a variety of instrumental and vocal soloists. During her time at Brigham Young University, she played lute for the Baroque Ensemble (directed by organist Dr. Doug Bush). While at the University of North Carolina, she played lute and archlute for the Baroque Ensemble (directed by viola da gambaist Brent Wissick).
She organized an early music faculty ensemble while on faculty at the University of Dayton and was also actively performing and had an active private guitar studio. At Wichita State University, where she is currently an administrator, she has performed with local ensembles and accompanied soloists both on guitar and lute.
She earned a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied early music under Dr. John Nádás, Dr. Tim Carter, and Joshua Rifkin. She has published articles and reviews in American Music, Lute Society of America Quarterly, Notes, The Choral Scholar, and for Ashgate Press, Salem Press, and Oxford University Press.
Term Expires 2024
Based in New York City, Jason Priset performs in the United States and internationally. He has appeared through the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Early Music New York, and the Riverside Symphony including performances in Manhattan and Barcelona, Spain. As an international artist Jason has appeared in concerts in Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Jason holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from Stony Brook University and a post-doctorate degree from Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) in Barcelona, Spain and specializes in historical guitars and lute. He has studied with James Piorkowski (State University of New York at Fredonia), Jerry Willard (Stony Brook University), Xavier Diaz-Latorre (ESMUC) and Pat O’Brien. Dr. Priset is currently serving as Executive Director for the Lute Society of America (LSA) summer festival, faculty for Amherst Early Music (AEM), and faculty for Montclair State University in New Jersey.
Outside of degree programs, Jason has studied under and worked with some of the greatest guitar and lute players of this generation. The list includes; Pablo Cohen, Eduardo Eguez, Lucas Harris, Nigel North, Paul O’Dette, Luca Pianca, Raphaella Smits, Stephen Stubbs, Benjamin Verdery, Jason Vieaux, Andrew York, and Luis Zea.
Vice President – Term Expires 2025
Mark’s Rimple has been praised for his “transparent…” and “extraordinary sensitive” lute playing. He has appeared with Trefoil, The Newberry Consort, The Folger Consort, Severall Friends, Piffaro, Tempesta di Mare, Les Délices, and Blue Heron, among many other groups. As countertenor and lutenist, he has recorded the music of the ars subtilior with Trefoil and The Newberry Consort, Renaissance broken consort music with Seven Times Salt, and daring new music with Cygnus Ensemble and Network for New Music. As a composer, he often writes for early instruments. His works have been featured by the 21st century consort, ChoralArts Philadelphia, counter(induction, Mélomanie, The ISCM Chamber Players, and Parnassus. He is a specialist in early notation, particularly the notation of the ars subtilior, and has written articles on early theory, composition, and poetry/literature. Mark holds the rank of Professor in the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition at The Wells School of Music at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches composition, counterpoint, theory, aural skills and the collegium musicum among other courses.
Neal Z. Shipe
Neal is known for his sensitive performance of 17 th century Scottish lute music. His
unique arrangements of this repertoire on the seldom heard soprano lute have
drawn him into the folk scenes of the midwestern and eastern United States. Neal
attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. At UNCSA, he
received the Aaron Shearer Scholarship for Guitar and took a Bachelor of Music.
Neal’s passion for performance ignites when he shares his journey into early music
in common everyday settings. Often found in bookstores, record shops, farmers
markets, or coffee houses, Neal’s performance is community focused. He recently
presented a live, four-part concert series of Scottish lute music in collaboration
with KKFI, 90.1, Kansas City Community Radio. In 2021, Neal was selected as a
featured artist for Early Music Missouri’s concert season. In Fall of 2022, Neal
performed in the 25th annual Carrboro Music Festival.
His passion for serving the community and research have blended into career in
library services over the last decade. Neal has held positions with the Kansas City
Public Library, The Bernard Becker Medical Library at Washington University in St.
Louis, and currently with Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript
I first joined the LSA in 1976 and became active in 1986 attending my first lute fest/seminar at Oakland University. I was bookkeeper/treasurer from 1992 until 2015 when I stepped down. I stepped back into the role in October 2021 and have been training the future bookkeeper, Anna Willson, who sings and studies lute with me.
I am a professional musician with degrees in Music Education. I studied voice, acting and dance in New York City, plus lute with Patrick O’Brien for 15 years. I have been a musical director/musician/actor in a dozen Equity productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Because of this lifetime passion, I have created a digital file of Renaissance arrangements for every song in Shakespeare’s plays which I am donating to
the LSA. I have performed and toured live in Renaissance attire with my lute in almost every type of venue imaginable: small concert halls, the New York Stock Exchange, the World Trade Center, Great Adventure, department stores, discos, libraries, classrooms, Renaissance and street fairs, and hundreds of private living rooms. I have been featured in Humans of New York for my street performing, having busked in Central Park for 50 years. My not-for-profit organization is Good Pennyworths, Inc. and as a
quartet, duo or soloist have given many performances over the last 35 years.