Online Lute Fest 2023 – Faculty & Concert Performer Biographies

Paul Beier

Paul Beier graduated in 1978 from the Royal College of Music with a degree in Lute Performance under Diana Poulton. In 1980 he was invited to Milan to create a lute course for the Early Music Institute at the Scuola Civica di Musica (now called SCM Claudio Abbado), where he taught for 40 years. He has performed in Europe, the Americas and Australia as lute soloist, accompanist, continuo player on theorbo, and director. His group Galatea recorded 5 CDs and included distinguished performers such as Bruce Dickey, Monica Huggett, Fabio Bonizzoni, Gianluca Capuano, Emanuela Galli and Michael Chance. His 16 solo CDs include music by Capirola, da Milano, Fiorentino, The Knights of the Lute, Molinaro, Terzi, Piccinini, Galilei, Dowland, Reusner, Weiss, Falckenhagen and J.S.Bach. He has performed with Ensemble Concerto, dir. Roberto Gini; Ensemble Aurora, dir. Enrico Gatti; La Risonanza, dir. Fabio Bonizzoni; La Venexiana, dir. Claudio Cavina; Ars Nova Cantandi, dir. Giovanni Acciai, and in opera productions at La Scala, Milan, The Santa Fe Opera, etc. In addition to playing the lute, Mr. Beier has been involved with historical lute research, leading to articles in The Lute and the Lutezine (the Lute Society [England]), the Quarterly and Journal of the LSA and has been on the Editorial Board of the Journal since 1987, and the Bollettino of the Italian Lute Society. He has also written lute related software for stringing and fretting the lute, and for editing and transcribing lute tablature.

Artist’s Website:

Sylvain Bergeron

Sylvain Bergeron

Considered a “supremely refined, elegant and cerebral musician” (Ottawa Citizen), Sylvain Bergeron is a master of the lute family of plucked instruments, including the theorbo, archlute, and baroque guitar. He is one of the pioneers of early music in Canada and his work has confirmed the importance of lutes and his work has helped validate their place in baroque ensembles and orchestras in Canada.

Sylvain has performed in more than sixty concerts each year with renowned early music ensembles and orchestras. He has performed and recorded with artists such as Emma Kirkby, Jordi Savall, David Daniels, Daniel Taylor, Suzie LeBlanc, Anne Azéma and Patrizia Bovi and performed in concert halls including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris Salle Galveau and New York’s Lincoln Center. Sylvain teaches lute, baroque guitar and continuo at McGill University and Université de Montréal.

His most recent solo album, Gioseppe Antonio Doni’s Lute Book, was widely praised for his “strong lute technique combined with outstanding musical intelligence and impeccable phrasing” (The Whole Note), while Goldberg magazine described it as “imbued with both great rhythmic
vitality, delicacy and nuance.” Sylvain Bergeron has participated in more than seventy recordings, many of which have won prizes and awards.

Co-founder and co-artistic director of La Nef, Sylvain has directed award-winning productions of Montreal ensembles since 1992.

Xavier playing theorbo

Jan Čižmář

Jan Čižmář is a versatile performer on plucked instruments, focusing on a wide range of historical lutes and early plucked instruments. He performs playing solo renaissance and baroque repertoire as well as chamber music. He is a core member of {oh!} Orkiestra, Ensemble Inégal and his own ensemble Plaisirs de Musique. He has been busy playing continuo and regularly performs with groups such as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, 18th Century Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Collegium 1704, Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Ensemble Elyma, Arte dei Suonatori, Vox Luminis, Florilegium in Europe, the USA and Asia. He has worked under conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Christophe Coin, Christopher Hogwood, Giovanni Antonini, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Václav Luks.

After completing his guitar and musicology studies in his native Brno, Czech Republic, Jan Čižmář he studied at the Royal College of Music in London, first classical guitar and later lute with Jakob LindbergHe continued his studies with Nigel North, Joachim Held and Mike Fentross at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He graduated from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno with a doctoral thesis on “The Lute Trio, a Phenomenon of Chamber Music with Obbligato Lute after Examples from the Rajhrad Lute Collection.”

In his non-early music past he was busy as a rock and jazz guitarist, and later as a classical guitarist. He enjoys exploring unwritten music, researching the musical environment of early musicians, as well as exploring the contemporary musical landscapes.

His research, educational and concert activities focus on Bohemian renaissance and baroque lute sources. In 2018 Jan founded the Czech Lute Society and leads their ensemble, the Bohemian Lute Orchestra. He is editor of the CLS editions with titles focusing on the Bohemian lute sources. The titles so far include Codex Jacobides (2020), Losyana (2021), Gottfred Finger: Lute works (2022) and Fundamenta mandorae (2023). He is programming director of several concert series and director of the summer school on the interpretation of early music MusAcad. In 2002 he started and was editor of the Czech guitar and lute magazine Kytara.

He regularly contributes to musicological periodicals and is busy researching, editing and performing music from Central European archives. He has also worked as a musical editor for several publishing houses including Bärenreiter.

Jan currently teaches at MUK Wien, the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. In the past he has also taught at the Academy of Ancient Music, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

Artist’s Website:

Xavier playing theorbo

Xavier Díaz Latorre

Xavier Díaz Latorre studied guitar with Oscar Ghiglia at the Musikhochschule, Basel, graduating in 1993. His subsequent interest in early music led him to study the lute with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. From 1996 to 2005 he was actively involved in baroque opera, participating in major productions with conductors such as René Jacobs, Jordi Savall, Thomas Hengelbrock, Attilio Cremonesi and Wieland Kuijken.

Diaz-Latorre is a member of well-known orchestras and chamber groups including those conducted by Jordi Savall: Hesperion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert de Nations. He has been invited to perform with other orchestras and ensembles such as the Orquesta Nacional de España, the Ricercar Consort, the Rare Fruit Council, the Harp Consort and Al Ayre Español.

He directs his own ensemble, Laberintos Ingeniosos, which specializes in performance of music from the Spanish Golden Age. The group’s first disc was Danzas de Rasgueado y Sones de Palacio, with music by the Aragonese composer Gaspar Sanz. Laberintos Ingeniosos has made additional CDs of music from the Iberian Peninsula performed on period instruments, such as Goyesca, seguidillas boleras, with music by Fernando Sorn 2008 and in 2009 …entre el cielo y el infierno…, with works by Francisco de Guerau and José Marín. In 2019 Laberintos Ingeniosos released a CD of works by Santiago de Murcia.

Xavier has recorded several solo CD’s: Cantus-Records released La Guitarra dels Lleons with him playing on four guitars from the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, especially restored for this project. The Belgian label Passacaille released the Complete Works for Guitar by Francisco Guerau, a 3 CD’s boxed set, as well as Stolen Roses with German music for the 13 course lute, and Robert de Visée with music for the theorbo and baroque guitar. His CD Los Libros del Delphín contains Narváez’s complete works for solo vihuela. His most recent recording is Il libro della Fortuna, with music by Francesco da Milano for the 6 course lute. Xavier has taken part in over fourty CDs with other groups on labels such as Alia Vox, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Alpha, Diaz-Latorre has also collaborated with the Fundación del Siglo de Oro, composing and producing music for the theater: Mujeres y Criados by Lope de Vega, Trabajos de Amor Perdidos by William Shakespeare and El Rufián Dichoso by Miguel de Cervantes.

He has been invited to give lectures and masterclasses at major colleges and universities such as the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis Basel), the Juilliard School (New York), the Sibelius Academy, and the University of Southern California. He has performed and taught at the LSA’s Lute Fest in Cleveland and at the Amherst Early Music Festival (Connecticut) and is resident professor of Lute, basso continuo and chamber music at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) and teacher of lute at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.

Artist’s Website:

Artist’s Facebook page: Xavier Díaz-Latorre on Facebook

Eduardo Egüez

Born in Buenos Aires, Eduardo Egüez has given solo concerts and masterclasses in major cities in South and North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. As a soloist he has recorded Tombeau (S.L. Weiss), the complete lute works by J.S. Bach, Le Maître du Roi (Robert de Visée) and L’Infidèle (S. L. Weiss), receiving numerous awards including the French Diapason d’Or.

Eduardo Egüez is a founding member and artistic director of the Ensemble La Chimera, a group that showcases the fusion of early and modern music. Their repertoire features a number of his arrangements and compositions. Eduardo Egüez has conducted La Púrpura de la Rosa (Torrejón y Velazco) at the Potsdamer Festspiele, L’Orfeo (Monteverdi) in Santiago and Rancagua, Chile and recently Gli Intermezzi della Pellegrina at the Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik.He teaches lute and basso continuo at the Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland).

Artist’s Website:

Xavier playing theorbo

John Griffiths

John Griffiths’ career revolves around Renaissance music and culture, especially solo instrumental music from Spain and Italy, and a reputation built on the vihuela and early Spanish music. He divides his days between research and performance of early plucked instruments – lute, vihuela and early guitars. He makes research and practice connect, whether it concerns instruments, performance practice, instrumental technique, or social history. His publications are spread across diverse areas of renaissance music history, early music pedagogy, style studies, organology, music printing, music in urban society, connections between written and oral traditions, music in Spanish Naples, and digital humanities.

He has performed widely in Australia, Europe, the USA and South America, both as a soloist and with ensemble La Romanesca which he co-founded in 1978. You will find him as author of numerous articles in standard reference works on music such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and the Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana as well many books and articles.

He holds an honours degree in Arts and a PhD from Monash University and Doctor of Music from the University of Melbourne. Current positions include Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Languages and Linguistics at The University of Melbourne, Membre associé at the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours, and chair of the International Musicological Society (IMS) Study group “Tablature in Western Music”. He is also Vice President of the International Musicological Society and Editor of the Journal of the Lute Society of America. His contributions to music, scholarship have been recognised in Spain where he is an Officer of the Orden de Isabel la Católica (1993), the USA as a Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society (2014) and at home as a Member of the Order of Australia (2019) and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2006).

Former roles include director of early music studies at The University of Melbourne (1980-2011) and founder-director of the Early Music Studio, Founder of the Lyrebird Press at the University of Melbourne (2005-2011), Head of the Arts Section of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2015-2017), President of the Musicological Society of Australia (2007-2008), and President of the Sociedad de la Vihuela in Spain (2016-2018).

Artist’s Website:

Lucas Harris

Lucas Harris

Lucas Harris studied the lute and early music at the Civica scuola di
musica di Milano and at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen. Since 2004 he
has based his freelance career in Toronto, where he serves as the
regular lutenist for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He is a founding
member of the Toronto Continuo Collective, the Vesuvius Ensemble
(dedicated to Southern Italian folk music), and the Lute Legends
Collective (an association of specialists in ancient plucked-string
traditions from diverse cultures). Lucas plays with many other ensembles
in Canada and the USA and has worked recently with the Helicon
Foundation, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Atalante, The Newberry
Consort, Les Délices, and Jordi Savall/Le Concert des Nations. He
teaches at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes, Oberlin
Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and the Canadian
Renaissance Music Summer School.

Artist’s Website:

Xavier playing theorbo

Elizabeth Kenny

Elizabeth is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent on Sunday) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post).

She has an extensive discography of collaborations with chamber ensembles across Europe and the USA. In 2017 Shakespeare Songs with Bostridge and co-collaborators won the Grammy for best solo vocal recital, and the same year viol consort Phantasm and Kenny won the Gramophone Early Music award for their recording of Dowland’s Lachrime. She has devised several critically acclaimed recordings of solo music from the “ML Lute Book,” and songs by Lawes, Purcell and Dowland. Her most recent solo recording, Ars Longa (Linn Records) was nominated for the BBC Music Magazine Solo Instrumental recording of the year 2019.

Kenny formed her own group, Theatre of the Ayre in 2007. Their various touring projects have sealed a reputation for an innovative and improvisatory approach to seventeenth-century music. Notable recording projects include John Blow’s Venus and Adonis (Wigmore Live, 2011). The Masque of Moments (Linn, 2017) and C17 Playlist, with tenor Ed Lyon (Delphian).

In thirty years of touring Kenny has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups, including extended spells with Les Arts Florissants and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She has given premiere performances of solo and chamber pieces by James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver, Heiner Goebbels, Rachel Stott and Nico Muhly.

Elizabeth Kenny has been Professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music since 1999, and Dean of Students since 2020. She was Professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton, and Director of Performance and Performance Studies at the University of Oxford between 2012 and 2020.

“…she beautifully combines an expansive orchestral conception with an almost painful improvisatory intimacy. It’s just lovely.”
– Gramophone review of Ars Longa: Old and New Music for Theorbo, Aug 2019

Instrumental Choice: “This era-spanning album is a triumph…Kenny’s performances are superb, technically assured in the trickiest variations, and always with a sense of spontaneous re-creation.”
– BBC Music Magazine Sept 2019

“Attracting audiences with the familiar is a well-worn tactic, but the Theatre of the Ayre likes to do things differently… Its weapons: a freshness of approach and a quasi-improvisatory freedom of delivery.”
– Financial Times 2015

Artist’s Website:

Catherine Liddell

Known and sought after for her skill, sensitivity and experience as a continuo player, Catherine Liddell has performed with many of America’s leading period instrument ensembles, including Boston Baroque, the Handel & Haydn Society, Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), Tafelmusik (Toronto), Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and in the Aston Magna (Massachusetts) and the Boston Early Music Festivals. Performances with the BEMF include productions of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Lully’s Thésée, and Psychée. She performed in the Boston Lyric Opera production of Handel’s Agrippina, and in the US Premier of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of War I Have Seen with the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. With soprano Sally Sanford, she founded Ensemble Chanterelle, winner of a Concert Artist Guild Award, which for 2 years was Ensemble-in-Residence at UCLA.

She has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Titanic, Dorian, Wildboar, and Centaur Records. Her recent recording on the Centaur label, Marais at Midnight, with Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba, has received enthusiastic acclaim. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Liddell earned the Soloist Diploma from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. She is Lecturer in Lute in the Historical Performance Program at Boston University, teaches lute at Wellesley College, and serves as President of the Lute Society of America, and Chair of the Board of the Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities.

Chris Morrongiello smiling and holding a Renaissance lute

Christopher Morrongiello

Lutenist Christopher Morrongiello is a former British Marshall Scholar and a graduate of Mannes College of Music, the Royal College of Music and the University of Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in historical musicology. He was a prizewinner in the BBC’s Radio 2’s Young Musician of the Year competition and a recipient of a Marco Fodella Foundation scholarship for studies and research in Milan, Italy. In the 2006 LSA Lute Fest he was chosen to give the first of the Patrick O’Brien lectures.

Dr. Morrongiello is a professor of music history at Hofstra University where he directs the Hofstra Collegium Musicum. He is a frequent guest artist with leading early music groups and is often invited to teach, lecture, and perform at international music festivals and workshops. He is Artistic Director of the Long Island Early Music Festival, now entering its 4th season. Morrongiello has recorded for EMI, Avie Records, Gamut Music and the BBC. Recently the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) produced several video recordings of him playing on a variety of historical and new lutes from their renowned instrument collection.

Nigel North holding a Renaissance lute and looking thoughtfully at the camera

Nigel North

Born in London, England, Nigel North has been Professor of Lute at the Historical Performance Institute (formerly Early Music Institute), Indiana University, Bloomington (USA) since 1999. Previous positions included The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (1976-1996), Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (1993-1999) and the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, (2006-2009).

Initially inspired at the age of seven by the early 60s instrumental pop group The Shadows, Nigel studied classical music playing the violin and guitar, and eventually discovered his real path in life—the lute, when he was 15. Basically self-taught on the lute, he has been playing and teaching for nearly 50 years.

After hearing one of Nigel’s Bach recitals in London, Julian Bream recalled in 2002 “I remember going to a remarkable recital, one which I wish I had the ability to give: it was one of Nigel North’s Bach recitals, and I was bowled over by how masterful and how musical it was. A real musical experience, something you don’t always get from guitar and lute players and which, in general, is pretty rare.”

Recordings include a four CD boxed set “Bach on the Lute” (Linn Records), four CDs of the lute music of John Dowland (Naxos), and a new ongoing series of music by Sylvius Weiss (4 Cds) and Francesco da Milano (3 CDs), both on BGS.

Artist’s Website:

Review the Concert Program here.

Jason Priset

Jason Priset

Based out of New York City, Dr. Jason Priset is a regular soloist and performer in the United States and internationally. Dr. Priset has appeared through the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Early Music New York, Florida Grand Opera, and the Riverside Symphony including performances in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine & Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in Manhattan and the L’Auditori & Museu de la Musica de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. As an international artist Dr. Priset has appeared in concerts in Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Dr. Priset holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from Stony Brook University and a post Doctorate degree from Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya (ESMUC) in Barcelona, Spain and specializes in historical guitars and lute. He has studied extensively with the modern composer James Piorkowski (State University of New York at Fredonia), Jerry Willard (Stony Brook University), Xavier Diaz-Latorre (ESMUC) and Pat O’Brien. He is Director of the Lute Society of America summer festivals, on the faculty for the Amherst Early Music (AEM), and at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Artist’s Website:

Bor Zuljan

Bor Zuljan

Bor Zuljan is active in different musical genres playing many kinds of early, modern and traditional plucked-strings instruments. Called the “Revolutionary of the lute” (Le Soir), he’s been rediscovering forgotten improvisation and playing techniques, instruments and sounds, always expanding the palette of possibilities.

He is performing regularly as soloist and with ensembles, such as Doulce Mémoire, Tasto Solo, Graindelavoix, L’Achéron, Vox Luminis, Il Giardino Armonico, with the Teofilovići twins, in duo with Dušan Bogdanović, with Romain Bockler (Dulces Exuviae) as well as with his ensemble La Lyra.

From 2011, he is the artistic director of an early music festival Flores Musicae in Slovenia. His critical edition of Gorzanis’ Second lute book has been published by the Slovenian Musicological Society, resulting also in an awarded CD La barca del mio amore with music by the same composer, featuring La Lyra and the italian singer Pino De Vittorio (Arcana – Outhere Music). In 2019 he began a series of albums for the Ricercar label (Outhere Music): Josquin – Adieu mes amours, the first CD of the duo Dulces Exuviae is already very well received by specialized critics; the year after his first solo album Dowland – A Fancy wins the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’année 2020, CHOC de Classica, the Editor’s Choice de Gramophone, and other accolades, followed in 2022 by Gesualdo – Il liuto del Principe (Diapason d’Or, CHOC de Classica,…). Toutes les nuits, the new album by the duo Dulces Exuviae has just been released under the same label, being chosen as the Recording of the month in the Gramophone magazine, receiving the Diapason d’Or and other accolades.

After graduating in jazz and classical programmes at the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music, he continued his studies with Aniello Desiderio in Koblenz, Germany. In 2007 he started studying at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève where he then obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Guitar and Lute performance (Dusan Bogdanovic, Jonathan Rubin), continued with a specialization in Medieval music and finished a MA in lute pedagogy. Since 2011 he has been working as research assistant at the same school on a project on Fantasia improvisation on lute in the 16th Century, a topic he is developing for his doctoral thesis at the University in Tours.

He’s regularly invited to give conferences and master classes at institutions, such as the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, HEM de Genève and CNSMD Lyon.

Artist’s Website: