ARASH NOORI, GUITAR/THEORBO
Described as “the compelling guitarist” (New York Times), Arash Noori has gained a reputation as a versatile musician, with a repertoire ranging from early to contemporary music. Performing on a variety of lutes and guitars, Arash has garnered critical appraise in both solo and ensemble settings. He has been a prize- winner in international competitions (Guitaré Montréal, Great Lakes Guitar Festival amongst others) and has performed solo recitals in North America and Europe. Arash has been a core-member of the chamber-vocal ensemble Cantata Profana (www.cantataprofana.com) since the group’s inception. Staying true to Cantata Profana’s eclectic style, Arash has served the group’s “intrepid and unexpected concerts” (The New Yorker), performing on a wide range of fretted plucked instruments—in a manner described as making “toggling between the two niche genres of early music and new music seem as straightforward as switching instruments. It’s not.” (Boston Globe)
Arash has also performed with Early Music New York, the Sebastians, the Academy of Sacred Music, Piffaro, St. Luke Chamber Orchestra, the Western Wind, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, as well as appearing regularly with Juilliard415.
SYLVIA LEITH, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Mezzo-soprano Sylvia Leith is a versatile performer whose interests span from the medieval to the contemporary, and include opera, sacred music, chamber music, early music, musical theatre, and cabaret. In 2016, Sylvia earned her Bachelor’s in German from Yale University, where she performed numerous opera roles including Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Lazuli in Chabrier’s L’étoile, and Amastre in Cavalli’s Xerse. She also performed with fellow UMF singer Ariadne Lih on a concert of medieval motets by Philippe de Vitry, and collaborated with musicians from Yale’s graduate School of Music on performances of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte. Sylvia currently lives in Boston, where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in voice performance at Boston University under the tutelage of Penelope Bitzas. She is overjoyed to return to Sitka for the second time to make exciting music with these most marvelous musician friends.
EDMUND MILLY, BASS
Edmund Milly brings “perfect diction” (Los Angeles Times) and “mellifluous” tone (San Francisco Chronicle) to every performance. Based in Brooklyn, he sings with the GRAMMY-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and is a founding member of Trident Ensemble. Equally at home as a soloist or in ensembles of the highest caliber, he has recently performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Clarion Choir, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Antico Moderno, and the Thirteen, and has contributed solos to various international radio broadcasts on BBC and CBC. An alumnus of the American Boychoir School, McGill University, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Edmund interprets music both ancient and modern with an expressivity founded in scholarly rigor.
Edmund’s musical education began with cello lessons at age 3. While at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey, he amassed formative musical experiences under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Mazur, James Levine, and André Previn, and gained early exposure to pieces which remain in his repertoire to this day. As a graduate student in English Literature at McGill, Edmund refined the critical skills which inform his vocal interpretation of a text. These eclectic experiences ultimately led Mr. Milly to the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where he completed his M.M. as a member of the elite Yale Voxtet and a student of James Taylor. Yale Schola Cantorum provided the perfect proving ground to hone his craft under the direction of David Hill, Simon Carrington, and Masaaki Suzuki, under whom he portrayed an "authoritative and confident" (Seen and Heard International) Jesus in Bach's St. John Passion at Lincoln Center.
JACOB REED, PIANO/ORGAN
Jacob Reed is delighted to be returning to Sitka after last year's Uncommon Music Festival. Jacob recently became the first student ever to receive a simultaneous BA/MA in musicology from Yale (double-major in mathematics), studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas and organ with Thomas Murray. In the fall, he will begin graduate studies in organ performance with Martin Jean at the Yale School of Music.
Jacob was a 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholar, and was selected as a 2013 YoungArts National Finalist by the National YoungArts Foundation—one of 152 finalists out of nearly 10,000 applicants, and the only organist among the 19 classical musicians selected.
In addition to organ recitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, Jacob has also performed frequently as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician on piano, harpsichord, cello and viola da gamba. He is an instrumentalist and vocalist for the Yale Collegium Musicum, and harpsichordist for the Yale Baroque Opera Project.
ARIADNE LIH, SOPRANO/CO-FOUNDER
Canadian soprano Ariadne Lih performs early and contemporary music in the concert hall and on the opera stage. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Music from Yale University, where her most recent credits include the title roles in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen with the Opera Theatre of Yale College and Cavalli's La Didone with the Yale Baroque Opera Project. During her time at Yale, she premiered a number of new works by student composers, served as assistant director and soloist for the Yale Collegium Musicum, and sang with the Yale Schola Cantorum under David Hill and Masaaki Suzuki. Ariadne is passionate about honoring the accomplishments of women in music, and her senior recital featured the work of Germaine Tailleferre, Barbara Strozzi, and Libby Larsen. She is currently based in Montreal; engagements for the upcoming season include concerts with Ensemble Caprice and the Montreal Baroque Festival.
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 spent the last two years living in New York City. He directed choral activities at the Birch Wathen Lenox School, served as the conducting chair of the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, New York’s premiere new music chorus, and performed regularly with the Choir at St. Thomas 5th Avenue. This fall Nate will move to Philadelphia to work with Drip Symphony, an experimental music and theater company he founded with long-time collaborator Nick Schwasman. Their show, Wedgwood on the Green, will premiere in September in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.