Artistic Director Kristin Lee shares her inspiration behind this program: “After the thrilling success of the Evolution of the Keyboard last season, I’m excited to cement the “Evolution Series” moving forward as part of the ECM programming oeuvre. I’m joined by co-curator Nathan Whittaker – baroque cello specialist – as we explore the fascinating history of the cello. From what was a five-stringed instrument that only functioned as a “bass line” in an ensemble during the 16th century, the cello evolved to become one of the most celebrated solo instruments of today. Throughout the evening, you will witness rarely seen instruments that were created and experimented with before the cello became what we recognize now as the modern cello. Along the way, you will hear a variety of eclectic and historical works composed at each phase of the cello’s evolution.
Nathan Whittaker, violoncello, enjoys a unique and diverse career as a concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, teacher, and historical cello specialist with concert stops ranging from New York to Seattle to Dubai. He is the Artistic Director of Gallery Concerts (Seattle), a concert series of chamber music on period instruments, and regularly performs with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Rosa Barocca, Byron Schenkman and Friends, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Recent appearances include the Vancouver Bach Festival, Pacific Baroque Festival, Pacific MusicWorks, 45th Parallel, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Berkeley Early Music Festival, Ottawa ChamberFest, the Boston Early Music Festival, and as a guest lecturer at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris. An active pedagogue, he has served on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts and runs a dynamic private studio. He can be heard on recordings by ATMA Musique, Harmonia, and Centaur, as well as live broadcasts by NPR, CBC, and KING FM. He performs on a cello of Mario Gadda from 1957, and a baroque cello of Johann Christian Ficker II from c. 1770.
Winnipeg native acclaimed cellist/gambist Caroline Nicolas enjoys an active and multifaceted career as one of the outstanding performers in her field, with a repertory that spans from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. Noted for her “eloquent artistry and rich, vibrant sound” (Gainesville Times), she has been praised for her unique ability to combine emotionally rich interpretations with a historically inquisitive spirit. She regularly appears with leading ensembles as a soloist, chamber musician, and music director.
Awards include having been selected as a fellow of The English Concert in America, given to young musicians “who appear likely to make significant contributions to the field of early music.” Recent engagement highlights include performances for Philharmonia Baroque, Pacific MusicWorks, New World Symphony, and more.
Caroline completed a tenure as Music Director of the New Baroque Orchestra, where she led innovative programs that explored topics like the musical life of the radical intellectual, Christina, Queen of Sweden. Caroline’s commitment to bringing classical music to the community has led her to curate a wide range of programs for elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and bars. She has also assisted in developing school music curriculum for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Romanian-born cellist Mihai Marica is a First Prize winner of the “Dr. Luis Sigall” International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile and the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. He has performed with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, the Hermitage State Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Jardins Musicaux Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Santa Cruz Symphony in the US. He has also appeared in recital performances in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Japan, Chile, the United States, and Canada.
A dedicated chamber musician, he has performed at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, André Watts, and Edgar Meyer. He was a founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet and is currently the cellist of the acclaimed Apollo Trio. A recent collaboration with dancer Lil Buck brought forth new pieces for solo cello written by Yevgeniy Sharlat and Patrick Castillo. He is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).
The winner of the Second Prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition and a recipient of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Henry Kramer is establishing himself as one of the most exciting American musicians of his generation. His performances have been praised by critics as “triumphant” and “thrilling” (The New York Times), and “technically effortless” (La Presse, Montreal).
Henry has been invited to play with orchestras across the globe including the National Belgian Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Ankara, Turkey, the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Montreal, and the Yale Philharmonia. He has soloed under the batons of preeminent conductors Marin Alsop, Jan Pascal Tortelier, and Stéphane Dénève.
Dr. Kramer currently holds the L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.