JOSHUA STAUFFER, GUITAR/THEORBO
Joshua Stauffer enjoys a diverse career performing classical, jazz, and improvised music. He is a founding member and executive director of Time Canvas, a trio performing new, early, and improvised music. He also is a member of the new music ensemble Five One Experimental Orchestra. In addition to his work with various ensembles, Joshua performs extensively as a freelance guitarist and lutenist throughout the United States. Highlights from the 2017-18 concert season include performances in Michigan, Indiana, Utah, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and more.
Joshua received his Masters of Music in classical guitar from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Jason Vieaux. He simultaneously completed a certificate in Historical Performance on the theorbo at Case Western Reserve University. He previously graduated with honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz performance. He has performed throughout the Northeastern United States, in both Asia and Europe, and has worked on cruise ships in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and performed live on the Cleveland radio station WCLV. Joshua lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Chiara Fasani.
SYLVIA LEITH, MEZZO-SOPRANO
With the versatility and timeless charm of a Swiss Army knife, mezzo-soprano Sylvia Leith enjoys performing various and sundry repertoires from medieval motets to world premieres. This spring, Sylvia appeared at Fordham University with fellow UMF-er Ariadne Lih in a lecture-recital of late-medieval works; she performed song cycles of Ruth Crawford Seeger, Edvard Grieg, and Robert Schumann; and she sang the role of Nancy in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring with the Boston University Opera Institute. In summer 2018, she is a member of the Professional Program at SongFest in Los Angeles, and takes on the title role in Händel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto with Red River Lyric Opera in Wichita Falls, Texas. Sylvia is currently pursuing her Master’s in Voice Performance at Boston University, where she studies with Penelope Bitzas. She holds a B.A. in German from Yale University, where she performed seven principal opera roles, co-directed the undergraduate opera company, and was lucky enough to meet the founders of the Uncommon Music Festival. She is overjoyed to return to Sitka for her third season with the UMF.
EDMUND MILLY, BASS
Edmund Milly brings “perfect diction” (Los Angeles Times) and “mellifluous” tone (San Francisco Chronicle) to every performance. He appears regularly with the GRAMMY-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and is a founding member of the male vocal sextet, Trident Ensemble. Increasingly in demand as a soloist, he has recently shared the stage with the Charleston Symphony, Bach Akademie Charlotte, the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Classical Orchestra, Cantata Profana, and the Academy of Sacred Drama, and has been heard internationally on BBC and CBC. Equally well adapted to working within an ensemble, he enjoys contributing his voice to the Mark Morris Dance Group, Clarion Choir, Voices of Ascension, and Musica Sacra.
As a student at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey, Edmund amassed formative musical experiences under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Mazur, and André Previn, and gained early exposure to works which remain in his repertoire to this day - each score a palimpsest of different voice parts sung. As a grad student in English Literature, Edmund refined the critical skills which inform his vocal interpretation of a text. These eclectic experiences led to the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where he completed his M.M. as a member of the elite Yale Voxtet and studied with James Taylor. Yale Schola Cantorum provided an ideal proving ground to hone his craft under the direction of David Hill, Simon Carrington, and Masaaki Suzuki, in whose Bach St. John Passion he portrayed an "authoritative and confident" Jesus (Seen and Heard International) for his Lincoln Center debut.
CLARA GERDES, ORGAN/PIANO
Clara Gerdes, from Davidson, North Carolina, is a fourth-year student at the Curtis Institute where she studies with Alan Morrison. She received first prizes in the Albert Schweitzer, AGO-Quimby Mid-Atlantic Regional and UNCSA School of the Arts organ competitions and was the recipient of the first annual AGO Pogorzelski-Yankee scholarship. She has performed on both coasts, including at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York and Washington National Cathedral, and at Spoleto, the Oregon Bach Festival and Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. As chamber pianist, she has taught at Curtis Summerfest, and in 2013 received first prize in the Music Teachers' National Association nationwide piano duo competition and enjoys playing in student ensembles. Clara serves as one of two organ scholars at Saint Mark's Church, Locust Street in Philadelphia. She is a Curtis resident assistant and on the faculty of the upcoming Philadelphia Pipe Organ Encounter.
ARIADNE LIH, MANAGING DIRECTOR/CO-FOUNDER/SOPRANO
Soprano Ariadne Lih is a versatile musician with a passion for early music, contemporary music, opera, and works by women composers. Opera credits include Hermione in Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione, Lieschen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Polly in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, Aloès in Chabrier's L'Étoile, Romilda in Cavalli’s Xerse, and the title roles in Cavalli’s La Didone and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. She has premiered solo and small-ensemble works by Tawnie Olson, Stephen Dembski, Joelle Wallach, Conrad Winslow, Tim Brady, and Stephanie Moore, as well as many student composers. She received her B.A. in music from Yale University, where she sang with the Yale Schola Cantorum, launched a tutoring program for music students, and was a member, soloist and assistant director of the Yale Collegium Musicum. She is currently based in Montreal: this summer, she will give a recital of sixteenth-century Italian music at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and sing a program of seventeenth-century love duets at the Montreal Baroque Festival. Engagements for the upcoming season include concerts with the Madison Bach Musicians, the Société de Musique Ancienne de Montréal, Clavecin en Concert, La Chamaille, and Ensemble Caprice.
NATE BARNETT, MUSIC DIRECTOR/CO-FOUNDER/TENOR
Nate Barnett is a conductor, composer, and tenor from Rochester, New York. He first discovered the wonders of Sitka as a composition fellow in the 2015 Sitka Fellows Program. He loved the place and the people so much that in 2016 he co-founded the Uncommon Music Festival with Ariadne Lih (and the help of countless generous Sitkans). Together they pursue their mission of presenting early music, new music, and underrepresented music of any era in approachable, educational concert environments.
Nate currently lives in Philadelphia, PA with his partner Ike and his dog Chico (both of whom have been to Sitka). Nate runs the live performance company Drip Symphony with collaborator Nick Schwasman, and is a member of the Grammy-winning ensemble The Crossing. This fall will begin his fourth year teaching at the Birch Wathen Lenox School in New York City, where he teaches music history and theory.