TWI Participant Biographies


Get to know the participants of the 2019 Winter Institute (The Concerto Grosso).



Jacob Ashworth (New York City, NY)

Jacob Ashworth is the “impressive Artistic Director” (New York Times) of the baroque and modern ensemble Cantata Profana, and Co-Music Director of the “categorically imaginative [and] radical” (New Yorker) Heartbeat Opera. His own performances as a violinist and conductor from early baroque to contemporary music have been called “exacting and sensitive” (Boston Globe), “richly detailed” (New York Times), and “a flat-out triumph” (Opera News). Jacob’s performances on period instruments include as concertmaster for Nicholas McGegan with Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Staunton Music Festival, Juilliard 415, Helicon Ensemble, Yale Baroque Ensemble, Opera Lafayette, andNew York Baroque Incorporated.

Lydia Becker (Bordeaux, France)

Lydia is currently pursuing a double Masters in Early Music and Violin Performance at the Eastman School of Music, where she also earned her BMus. She has played and interned with many festivals, including Boston Early Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, and American Bach Soloists, among others.

Ryan Cheng (Hong Kong / Rochester, NY)

Ryan Cheng is a violinist currently studying at the Eastman School of Music with Professor Robin Scott. He is Principal Second Violin of the Eastman Collegium Musicum, as well as a member of the Eastman Viol Consort. He attended the American Bach Soloists Academy in 2018.

Elana Cooper (Ashland, OR / Vancouver, BC)

Elana Cooper lives in Vancouver, BC where she performs and studies baroque and modern violin. She is a recipient of the 2018 & 2019 Early Music Vancouver Scholarship Programme. Elana received her BMUS degree from UBC. Advanced study includes TBSI, TWI, Berwick Academy, International Mendelssohn Festival, and Domaine Forget.
TBSI 2017, 2018 / TWI 2018

Majka Demcak (Surrey, BC)

Majka Demcak completed her BMus in violin performance from the University of British Columbia and is currently pursuing studies in historical performance. She is a freelance baroque violinist in Vancouver and Victoria, has worked with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and is a part of a Vancouver Bach Baroque Mass series. She is one of the forming members of the Gallo Chamber Players ensemble.
TBSI 2018

Jessy Dubé (Saguenay, QC)

After graduating in modern violin from the Hochschüle für Musik Basel, in Switzerland, Jessy returned to Canada, where she started learning more about playing baroque music on period instruments. As a baroque violinist, she has had several opportunities to play with Arion Baroque Orchestra, as well as l’Harmonie des Saisons and the Bach Festival Orchestra. As a modern player, she holds a position at Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, in addition to playing with many orchestras and ensembles. Jessy is also very interested in Pop and World Music.
TWI 2017, 2018 / TBSI 2016, 2017

Pauline Kempf  (Paris, France / Chicago, IL)

Pauline Kempf was first initiated to baroque violin and its repertoire with Florence Malgloire while studying in Europe. Currently a candidate for the Doctorate program at Northwestern University, she has performed concertos by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven with the Bienen School of Music period orchestras. Pauline has performed in masterclasses for Elizabeth Blumenstock, Robert Mealy and Carla Moore.

Carmen Lavada Johnson-Pájaro (Birmingham, AL / Boston, MA)

From an early age, violinist Carmen Lavada Johnson-Pájaro identified music as a point of connection between people. She was raised in a family of music lovers, where gathering around the living room to dance and share music has long been a daily occurrence. These early childhood experiences cultivated full-fledged passions. Throughout Carmen’s development as an artist she has been continuously inspired by the capacity of music to heal, empower, and unite people and communities. These experiences are the cornerstone of Carmen’s work as a performer, educator, and community-based artist. From teaching at El Sistema-inspired programs, to freelance performing in Boston, to working at NPR’s From the Top, Carmen maintains an eclectic artistic career. She holds a MMus from the New England Conservatory and a BMus from the Eastman School of Music.
TBSI 2018

Kailey Richards (Ottawa, ON / Toronto, ON)

Originally from Ottawa, Kailey Richards is currently completing her DMA University of Toronto under the tutelage of Jeanne Lamon. She holds a MMus in Historical Performance from the University of Toronto, and a BMus from Indiana University, where she studied with Stanley Ritchie. She has performed with many ensembles, including the Theatre of Early Music, Talisker Players, Musica Viva Orchestra, Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Notable music festivals include the Tafelmusik Winter Institute, Oberlin Baroque Institute, and the International School of Improvisation with Davide Monti.
TBSI 2013, 2016 / TWI 2015, 2017

Rebecca Ruthven (Kelowna, BC / Montréal, QC)

Originally from Kelowna, BC, Rebecca Ruthven recently graduated from McGill University, studying violin with Mark Fewer and playing in baroque, classical, and jazz ensembles. She attended Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in 2017 and is excited to be back. She is currently finishing a degree in Biochemistry.
TBSI 2017

Andrew Wong (San Francisco, CA)

Andrew Wong was first drawn to the wonders of historically informed performance through a period recording of Haydn's Op. 33. Since then, he has sought out instruction from various baroque violinists, including Mark Destrubé and David Wilson, and has attended the Berwick and ABS Academies. He plays with the American Bach Soloists, and is an avid chamber musician in San Francisco.

Shelby Yamin (Palisades, NY)

Originally from New York, violinist Shelby Yamin holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She served as concertmaster at the Aspen Music Festival and the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival. Other exciting orchestral positions have brought Shelby to the Dominican Republic, Japan, and Oman. Shelby is currently a member of both the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Monterey Symphony, and is pursuing her second Master’s degree in historical performance at The Juilliard School.


Vijay Chalasani (Seattle, WA)

Vijay Chalasani is a Seattle-based violist specializing in performance practice of music from the baroque to present day. A doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, his dissertation research explores original viola pedagogy and performance practices of the 19th century. He is a founding member of Sinfonia Spirituosa.

Isabelle Douailly-Backman (Chicago, IL/ Montréal, QC

Isabelle Douailly-Backman was born and raised in a small town called Chicago. Growing up with a teacher who despised anything baroque, H.I.P. [Historically Informed Performance] was unknown to Izzy until she joined McGill University's Baroque Orchestra in 2013. Today, she's finishing her second degree in H.I.P. under the tutelage of Olivier Brault and will start her Master’s in Europe.

Michael Hill (Cleveland, OH / Louisville, KY)

Violist Michael Hill holds degrees in viola and pedagogy from the University of Louisville and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. He teaches at the University of Louisville and is the director of the Suzuki Studies Program and String Institute. Michael regularly performs as an orchestral and chamber musician throughout the region, including performances with Bourbon Baroque.

Chelsea Wimmer (New York City, NY / Telford, PA)

Chelsea Wimmer, based in New York City, is pursuing her DMA in Viola Performance at Stony Brook University and studies with Lawrence Dutton. She has served as the assistant director for harpsichordist Arthur Haas’ Baroque Players, is a member of the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, and an active freelance violist in NYC. An alumna of Tafelmusik Winter Institute and Amherst Early Music Festival, she has worked with Robert Mealy, Julie Andrijeski, Jane Starkman, and Beth Wenstrom.
TWI 2018


Ana Kim (Bloomington, IN / New York, NY)

Ana Kim has performed on both modern and historical instruments throughout the US (including Carnegie Weill Hall, Kennedy Center, and Jordan Hall), Europe, and New Zealand. She has participated in festivals such as Yellow Barn, Verbier Academy, Music@ Menlo, International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, and American Bach Soloists. Ana holds degrees from Indiana University, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the University of Southern California, where she studied with pedagogues Laurence Lesser, Ralph Kirshbaum, and János Starker. She was recently on the faculty of Pacific Union College, and has recently graduated from the Historical Performance program at Juilliard.

Camilla Tafra (Armidale, NSW, Australia)

Camilla Tafra is an Australian cellist and music educator. She studied modern cello at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, and in 2016 spent several months in Toronto studying baroque cello with Christina Mahler. Camilla was a co-founder of the Brisbane Baroque Players.
TBSI 2011, 2016

Verena Spies (Pattensen, Germany / Den Haag, Netherlands)

Born in Hannover (Germany), Verena graduated from the University of the Arts Bern with the Bachelor’s degree in 2016, studying with Antonio Meneses. From autumn 2016 Verena studied modern and baroque cello with Lucia Swarts in the Master‘s degree program at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, graduating in 2018. Further artistic impulses for her stemmed from Klaus Storck, Laszlo Fenyö, Guido Larisch, Sigiswald Kujken, Lucy van Dael, and Viola de Hoog. Verena has performed with several early music orchestras, including the Nederlandse Bachvereniging, of which she is a Young Bach Fellow. Active in many different chamber music projects, she is co-founder of the baroque cello trio “corde profonde”.

Matt Zucker (Cleveland Heights, OH / New York, NY)

Matt Zucker, 26, is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai and viola da gamba with Sarah Cunningham. Upon graduation, he was awarded a Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant. He appears regularly with period-instrument ensembles such as Trinity Baroque Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated, Bourbon Baroque, Variant Six, and Teatro Nuovo. Matt looks forward to 2019 appearances with Les Arts Florissants and the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, and to a recording of Louis-Gabriel Guillemain violin sonatas with Swineshead Productions.


Juliane Bruckmann (Bremen, Germany)

Juliane Bruckmann began her preparatory studies as a student of Gottfried Engels at the conservatory in Cologne and completed her Bachelors degree in Freiburg with Bozo Paradzik. Since becoming interested in historical performance practice, she has continued her musical studies in Frankfurt under the tutelage of Dane Roberts. She is currently a member of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Matthew Girolami (Oshawa, ON)

Matthew Girolami is continuing his studies as a historical double bass player in the Advanced Certificate in Performance program in Early Music with Joëlle Morton at the University of Toronto. Matthew is involved with chamber, contemporary, and orchestral music as well as early music. He has performed as with Theatre of Early Music, The Toronto Bach Festival, Toronto Chamber Choir, and the Scaramella ensemble. He has attend the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and American Bach Soloists Academy. He studied under Edward Tait at the University of Toronto.
TBSI 2014, 2015, 2016


Timothy (TJ) Dalton (Shelter Island, NY)

Timothy (TJ) Dalton is a native of Long Island, NY.  Timothy started playing early music during his time at Stony Brook University.  Starting with baroque guitar, he soon progressed to theorbo, archlute, and other historical plucked instruments.  He has performed in chamber ensembles, baroque orchestras, and baroque opera productions in New York, Boston, and Toronto.

Jonathan Stuchbery (Toronto, ON / Pendicton, BC)

Jonathan Stuchbery is a Toronto-based lutenist and guitarist. He holds a BMus in lute and classical guitar performance from McGill University, and was recognized for outstanding achievement on lute. Performance highlights include as soloist with the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble, in the series live@CIRMMT, and with Les Méandres.


Nicola Canzano (Livonia, MI)

Nicola Canzano is a composer, harpsichordist, and organist. Since 2005 he has worked as an organist and/or music director for Episcopal churches in Michigan and in California. He holds degrees in Music Composition from the University of Michigan, Physics from the University of California, and is completing graduate studies in Early Keyboards at the University of Michigan this spring. More than anything, he enjoys playing early music with others who share his passion. Nicola is very serious about composing early music, and his compositions have begun to be performed in diverse venues throughout North America and Europe. It is his sincere hope that more musicians will try their hand at writing early music as the historically informed performance movement continues to pick up speed. Nicola feels privileged to be among such accomplished musicians at Tafelmusik Winter Institute this year.

Alice M. Chuaqui Baldwin (Laramie, WY / Rochester, NY)

Alice M. Chuaqui Baldwin is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, but currently resides in Rochester, New York. She served as a continuo artist at the Oregon Bach Festival from 2014–2016, performing with His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Masaaki Suzuki, and many others. Recently she premiered a piece for solo harpsichord—“Triptych of Life”—by her husband, composer Nic Chuaqui.
TWI 2018; TBSI Continuo Team 2018

Louise Hung (Coquitlam, BC / Toronto, ON)

Louise Hung’s (BMus, MMus) first introduction to classical music was hearing a rendition of Beethoven Für Elise playing through the speakers of garbage trucks in Taiwan as a baby. She is currently completing her Advanced Certificate in Performance in Harpsichord at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Charlotte Nediger.
TBSI 2017, 2018