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Roster of artists:

Nicole Besa ~ soprano
Aine Hakamatsuka ~ soprano
Heather Hill ~ soprano
Amaranta Viera ~ soprano
Tanisha Anderson ~ mezzo-soprano
Guadalupe Peraza ~ mezzo-soprano
AnnMarie Sandy ~ mezzo-soprano
Hai-Ting Chinn ~ alto

Jessica Park ~ violin
Maria Romero Ramos ~ violin
Amelia Sie ~ violin
Patricia Ann Neely ~ viola da gamba
Duangkamon "Wan" Wattanasak ~ harpsichord


About the Artists:

Tanisha Anderson is a two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and National Marian Anderson Scholar Artist who has sung all along the east coast and in Europe with companies including but not limited to The Crossing, Opera Philadelphia, The Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, VoxAma Deus Ensemble, and Philadelphia Symphonic Choir. www.tanishalanderson.com

Praised for her “metallic voice,” Soprano Nicole Besa is winner of the 2021 Franc d’Ambrosio Talent Search and 2020 Musician’s Club of Women Farwell Award. 2021 highlights: Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Christine (Phantom of the Opera), Morgana (Alcina), Maria (Maria La Ó), Cunegonde (Candide!), Maria (West Side Story), Carla (NBC’s Chicago Fire). nicolediana.wixsite.com/2018a

Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn performs in a wide range of styles and venues, from Purcell to Pierrot Lunaire, Cherubino to The King & I, J.S. Bach to P.D.Q. Bach. She has performed with New York City Opera, The Wooster Group, Philip Glass/Robert Wilson, OperaOmnia, American Symphony Orchestra; on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Mann Center in Philadelphia, and London’s West End; and at Festivals including the Edinburgh, Verbier, Grimeborn, Tête-à-Tête, and Festival d’Autumne. Of mixed Chinese and Jewish ancestry, Hai-Ting is a native of Northern California and currently resides in New York City. She holds degrees from the Eastman and Yale Schools of Music. www.hai-ting.com

Japanese soprano Aine Hakamatsuka is the winner of the 2013 Yokohama International Music Competition. As a soloist, she appeared in Paukenmesse (Haydn), Magnificat (Schubert), Requiem (Faure), 9th Symphony (Beethoven), Cantata No. 51 (Bach), and Gloria (Vivaldi). She has performed in venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Kennedy Center. www.ainehakamatsuka.com

Heather Hill's career encompasses work in opera, concert, Broadway and voiceovers. Performances include Knoxville, Summer of 1915, by Barber with York Orchestra, The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway company and Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall. Heather loves early music and is thrilled to perform with the Open Gates Project. www.heatherhill.com @msheatherhill 

Patricia Ann Neely is an early bowed string player and music teacher. She holds a BA in music from Vassar College and an MFA in Historical Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. She has performed with many early music ensembles including Sequentia, Tempesta di Mare, Washington Bach Consort, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Rheinische Kantorei Köln, among others. She is currently director of Abendmusik – New York’s early music string band. Patricia has been a member of the Board and Chair of the Equity and Diversity Task Force of the Board of Early Music America and is currently on the Board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and Chair of its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She teaches at many early music workshops and was a long-time member of the music faculty at The Brearley School, in New York City. www.abendmusik.net/about.html

Praised as an “exceptional talent” by the Frankfurter Neue Presse, violinist Jessica Park is in high demand as an interpreter of Baroque and Classical repertoire. She can be heard performing with the country’s premier period instrument ensembles including The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and The American Classical Orchestra, among others. Her duo with fortepianist Ji-Young Kim was recently featured at the Boston Early Music Festival, and in 2017 Jessica founded the Cramer Quartet, a period-instrument string quartet. www.jessicaparkviolin.com

Mexican mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Peraza has been a featured performer across the Americas and Europe. She has sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and performed with New York City Opera and Bard Summerscape. Guadalupe will be a featured soloist with American Classical Orchestra in February 2022. “When Peraza sang one could momentarily forget the troubles of the world... [She exhibits] appealingly pure, direct storytelling. Peraza was unfailingly engaging and fully connected to the text”. – Opera News
Facebook:@perazaguadalupe

Nashville-based violinist Maria Romero Ramos is concertmaster of Music City Baroque. Maria has collaborated with Atlanta Baroque, Les Délices, and Orchester Wiener Akademie, among others, and has performed at Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Boston and Bloomington Early Music Festivals. She has appeared as soloist with the Princeton Festival, Mountainside, and Indianapolis Baroque Orchestras. Maria holds a doctorate from Indiana University and is on the faculty at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches modern and baroque violin.

AnnMarie Sandy, mezzo-soprano, is garnering praise for operatic, concert, and recorded work. She is featured on New World Records recording of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. In 2007 she made her Lincoln Center debut performing the alto solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and made her 2013 Carnegie Hall debut singing the role Ursula in the Strauss opera Feuersnot. AnnMarie features on Voices Fall from the Sky, an album of renowned free jazz bassist William Parker. The magazine PopMatters, describes AnnMarie as: "stretching her operatic range to sing notes of freedom, healing, and peace." She grew up in Houston, Texas and is based in Brooklyn, New York. www.annmariesandy.com

Based in New York City, Amelia Sie is a virtuosic and adventurous performer of modern and Baroque violin. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Violin Performance from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Paul Biss, Miriam Fried, and Soovin Kim. She is currently a student at The Juilliard School, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Historical Performance. ameliasie.wixsite.com/violin

“Excellent” (Greenwich Sentinel) Cuban-American soprano Amaranta Viera performs in the Unites States and abroad with ensembles ranging from the Choir of Trinity Wall Street to The New York Philharmonic in repertoire spanning a millennium. She specializes in music of the German and Italian early Baroque, and is passionate about engaging modern audiences with old music through the exploration of shared social and historical threads. She lives in Queens, New York with her husband and son. www.amaranta-viera.com

Duangkamon “Wan” Wattanasak, a native of Thailand, currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in harpsichord performance at Stony Brook University. A recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her musical and academic excellence, Wan enjoys a varied career performing across the United States and abroad, sharing her historical research at symposiums and workshops, teaching lessons and community classes, and directing diverse vocal and instrumental ensembles. 

 

A native of London, Biraj Barkakaty has held positions with some of the world’s leading choral ensembles including St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and the Washington National Cathedral Choir. Whilst specializing in the music of Baroque and Renaissance composers, he has also sung roles in many new and contemporary operas, most recently the role of Fidele in Diary of a Madman with Seattle’s LowBrow Opera Collective last November, and the role of Merlin in the staged world premiere of The Loathly Lady at the Vienna Summer Music Festival in Florida last June. In October 2021, Biraj performed with the London-based Siglo de Oro Ensemble at the Tage Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg. He is also a member of the newly formed professional ensemble The Union in Cincinnati. Future engagements include Bach Cantata 12 with the Heifetz Institute in March, and the role of the Shepherd in Blow’s Venus and Adonis with Fireside Theatre in Cambridge, England.
www.birajbarkakaty.com

Wei En Chan is a Singaporean countertenor whose singing is lauded for its “time-stopping” beauty and technical finesse. He leads an active career in Asia and North America performing the major works of Bach and Handel and has appeared in leading roles with numerous organizations including the Singapore International Festival of Art (SIFA), The Opera People (TOP, Singapore), Bachfest Malaysia, Red Dot Baroque (RDB), First Lutheran Church of Boston, Boston Opera Collaborative, the American Bach Soloists, and others. Highlights include the title role in Handel’s Oreste with SIFA, conducted by Tian Hui Ng, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Bachfest Malaysia, conducted by Dr. David Chin, and Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina with TOP & RDB. Wei En earned his Masters in Music in Voice Performance from New England Conservatory, studying with Dr. Ian Howell, and his Bachelors in Music from Ithaca College, studying with Prof. Carol McAmis.
www.weienchancountertenor.com Facebook: @ChanWeiEnCountertenor, Instagram: @weiencountertenor

Patrick Dailey has been described as possessing “a powerful and elegant countertenor voice” (Los Angeles Daily News) and as a “vocal standout” (Boston Classical Review). He has appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Memphis, Pacific Opera Project, Tête à Tête New Opera Festival (UK), Austin Baroque Orchestra, Shreveport Opera, Chicago Philharmonic, Opera Louisiane, Woodhouse Opera Festival (UK), Il Festival de Ópera Barroca de Belo Horizonte (Brazil), among others. A versatile artist, Dailey has performed with the likes of Jason Robert Brown and Aretha Franklin and featured in Ben Gregor’s film, Fatherhood (FUSE TV) as well as recording projects from Louis York (American Griots), Adrian Dunn (Redemption Live in Chicago), to The Aeolians of Oakwood University. Patrick is on the voice faculty and director of the Big Blue Opera Initiatives at Tennessee State University, founding director of the W. Crimm Singers (aka Wakanda Chorale), and co-founder of Early Music City. www.patrickdaileyct.com.

Iván Maria Feliciano, Jr. is an operatic countertenor of Afro-Puerto Rican descent, and is regarded as a rising star in both Baroque Opera and Oratorio. Audiences recently heard Iván as the Sorceress in Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Aaron Copland School of Music. Iván Maria has been described as having a voice that is dramatic in size, that is full, and rich with an extraordinary range. He has made appearances with the SouthWest Symphony Orchestra of Naples, Florida and was a primary soloist within the chamber choir of Ave Maria University. He has also performed scenes from Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, and made his debut as the first countertenor soloist to perform Mozart’s Requiem in d minor in Southwest Florida. Iván Maria has a profound adoration for Early Music and its abundant musical repertoire. Outside of performing, he also has an avocation for transcribing obscure Baroque repertoire and aspires to be an archivist and Baroque specialist. He is currently completing his degree in vocal performance with the Aaron Copland School of Music.

Jonathan May, countertenor, performs regularly with ensembles including Early Music New York, Mark Morris Dance Group, Ensemble VIII, and The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. He was most recently featured as a soloist in Cantatas BWV 70, 147 and Bach’s Magnificat with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity. He appeared with New York City’s TENET Vocal Artists in unconducted performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, featuring only twelve singers and the instrumental ensemble the Sebastians. He also appeared as Testo in Academy of Sacred Drama’s modern premiere of Vincenzo de Grandis’ Il Nascimento di Mose. Other highlights include appearances as alto soloist in C.P.E. Bach's Magnificat with American Classical Orchestra and in Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Canticum Scholare; singing the role of Spirit in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Mark Morris Dance Group; singing Philip Glass' Madrigal Opera at National Sawdust; and performing Tallis' Spem in alium with The Tallis Scholars. He holds a degree in music from Dartmouth College.

Motomi Igarashi plays the viola da gamba, violone, baroque double bass and lirone with various groups like the American Classical Orchestra, Anima, ARTEK, Boston Baroque, Orchestra of St. Lukes, performs on contemporary albums with Brad Mehldau and Nathalie Merchant, and cares for the Gamba Society of America rental program instruments.

Lawrence Lipnik has performed with many acclaimed early music ensembles from Anonymous 4 to Piffaro and the Waverly Consort, and is a founding member of the viol consort Parthenia and vocal ensemble Lionheart. He has served as gambist and recorder player for staged opera productions including Monteverdi's Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria at Wolf Trap and Telemann's Orpheus with the New York City Opera, and has prepared an authoritative edition of Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, commissioned by The Juilliard School. Recent performance highlights include concerts with lutenist Paul O’Dette of Dowland’s complete Lachrimae at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, concerts at the Venice Biennale and Berkeley Festival, appearances with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the Folger Consort, ARTEK, TENET, the Indiana University Historic Performance Institute at the Bloomington Early Music Festival and early opera residencies at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Contemporary Dramatists, and The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, as well as the journal Comparative Drama.

Rosamund Morley performs a wide-ranging repertoire on all sizes of the viola da gamba family with renowned ensembles as diverse as ARTEK, The Boston Camerata, The Crossing, The Folger Consort, Piffaro and the Yale Schola Cantorum under Masaaki Suzuki. She is a member of Parthenia, New York’s premiere consort of viols, with whom she enjoys playing both early and new music. For many years she toured worldwide as a member of the Waverly Consort. She has played Vivaldi with the Venice Baroque Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Charpentier at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Les Arts Florissants, and 13th century motets on tour in Europe with Sequentia. She studied in her hometown of Toronto and at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague.

Patricia Ann Neely is an early bowed string player and music teacher. She holds a BA in music from Vassar College and an MFA in Historical Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. She has performed with many early music ensembles including Sequentia, Tempesta di Mare, Washington Bach Consort, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Rheinische Kantorei Köln, among others. She is currently director of Abendmusik – New York’s early music string band. Patricia has been a member of the Board and Chair of the Equity and Diversity Task Force of the Board of Early Music America and is currently on the Board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and Chair of its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She teaches at many early music workshops and was a long-time member of the music faculty at The Brearley School, in New York City. 

Dongsok Shin performs exclusively on early keyboard instruments and has been a member of the internationally acclaimed baroque ensemble REBEL since 1997. He has appeared with American Classical Orchestra, ARTEK, Carmel Bach Festival, EMNY’s Grande Bande, and Modern Musick among others. He has accompanied artists such as Renée Fleming, Rufus Müller, and Barthold Kuijken. He has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Mexico, been heard on many radio broadcasts, and recorded for many labels. Dongsok has parallel careers as engineer, producer, and editor of audio and video recordings, and as a tuner/maintainer of early keyboards in the New York area. He is harpsichord technician for The Metropolitan Opera, curator of the Flintwoods Collection in Delaware, and often tunes, demonstrates, and performs on the antique keyboards at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His YouTube videos performing on the earliest surviving Bartolomeo Cristofori fortepiano of 1720 produced by The Met Museum have over 400,000 views.

Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS) has accepted the resignations of Joe Chappel and Michele Kennedy as co-directors of our Open Gates Project, devoted to diversifying the community of performers and audiences for early music. Joe and Michele initiated the Project in the depths of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, and ably shepherded it through four concerts in the 2021–22 concert season. As their own artistic careers have burgeoned post-pandemic and their time has become limited, GEMS will be seeking new leadership for the Project to build upon the firm foundation the founding co-directors have created. 

Plans for the Open Gates Project 2022–23 Season are still underway. Watch this space for more information in the coming months!



C3: Countertenors, a Consort, and Continuo

WATCH THE CONCERT HERE

C3 collage1View the program

Friday, February 11 at 7 pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, W 65th St and Central Park West, Manhattan

An concert featuring a roster of phenomenal countertenors of color alongside a consort of viols. Watch an exploration of the works of Byrd, Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell, and critically acclaimed composer Trevor Weston’s O Maria.

The Open Gates Project is a concert series dedicated to creating greater access to stages for musicians of color in Early Music, while also seeking to create greater access to Early Music for underserved communities. We want to see increased diversity on the stage AND in the audience.


Countertenors: 
Biraj Barkakaty, Wei En Chan,Patrick Dailey, Iván Maria Feliciano (special guest young artist), Jonathan May

Viols: 
Motomi Igarashi,Larry Lipnik,Rosamund Morley,Patricia Ann Neely

Harpsichord: 
Dongsok Shin


THE PROGRAM

William Byrd (c. 1540–1623)
Ambitious Love
Ye Sacred Muses
Who Made Thee, Hob

Viol Consort Selections

Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
Sound the Trumpet
Sing, Sing, Ye Druids

Viol Consort Selections

Andrea Gabrielli (1532/33–1585)
Vieni, Vieni, Himeneo

Trevor Weston (b. 1967)
O Maria

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)
Ombra Mai Fu

Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
Pur Ti Miro

Francesco Cavalli (1602–1676)
Pur Ti Stringo

 



The Inaugural Concert

WATCH THE CONCERT HERE

November 12-14, 2021

The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music

Featuring an all-women-of-color roster of artists

There is nothing like the power of strong female representation on the stage.

Named for the almighty creative force that brings all things into being, The Divine Feminine program is a triumphant celebration of womanly influence in the world.  This inaugural program presents a range of visionary female voices from the early repertoire with that most vaunted of female figures, Mary herself, as its bookends. 

From the jubilant medieval setting Hail Mary, Full of Grace to Pergolesi’s grand masterpiece, the Stabat Mater, Mary is brought to life in her many nuances: in deepest love and profound grief; in anguish; in hopefulness, in sensuality, and in the foundational joy of creation. Among the featured composers are Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. From sacred to secular and back again, this program honors the strength and grace of these masterful historic composers as presented by living masters of their craft: brilliant women of color, every one.

The Open Gates Project is a concert series dedicated to creating greater access to stages for musicians of color in Early Music, whiule also seeking to create greater access to Early Music for underserved communities. We want to see increased diversity on the stage AND in the audience.

Roster of artists:

Nicole Besa ~ soprano
Aine Hakamatsuka ~ soprano
Heather Hill ~ soprano
Amaranta Viera ~ soprano
Tanisha Anderson ~ mezzo-soprano
Guadalupe Peraza ~ mezzo-soprano
AnnMarie Sandy ~ mezzo-soprano
Hai-Ting Chinn ~ alto

Jessica Park ~ violin
Maria Romero Ramos ~ violin
Amelia Sie ~ violin
Patricia Ann Neely ~ viola da gamba
Duangkamon "Wan" Wattanasak ~ harpsichord

Program:

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “Madre de los Primores”
Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, “O Dulcis Jesu”
Barbara Strozzi, “I Baci”
Francesca Caccini, “O Vive Rose”
Alessandro Stradella, Sinfonia #22 in D minor
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, “Stabat Mater”


TEXT DESCRIPTIONS FOR EACH BOROUGH
GRAPHICS/IMAGES
HEADSHOTS/ROSTER
ARTIST BIOS

Download the information below in a Word document

The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music

Featuring an all-women-of-color roster of artists

Friday, November 12, 2021 at 7 pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, W 65th St and Central Park West, Manhattan (map)

Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7 pm
Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432 (map)

Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 4 pm
Pregones Theater, 575 Walton Ave, Bronx, NY 10451 (map)

Tickets:
$30 ~ General Admission
$15 ~ Under 30 General Admission
$15 ~ Resident of Queens (for 11/13) General Admission
$15 ~ Resident of the Bronx (for 11/14) General Admission
$5 ~ Students (ID required)

Please note: Vaccinations and masks are required to attend. Read our full Covid Protocols here

Link for full concert details and tickets: https://gemsny.org/opengatesseason.

Tag-line:

Bad-ass women serving early music as you’ve never heard it.

Short Description for NYC:

There is nothing like the power of strong female representation on the stage. The Open Gates Project presents its inaugural concert, “The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music” on November 12, 13, and 14th in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, featuring an all women of color roster of artists. We saved your seat! Tickets: $15–$30

Short Description for the Bronx:

There is nothing like the power of strong female representation on the stage. The Open Gates Project presents its inaugural concert, “The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music” on November 14th at the Pregones Theater in the Bronx, featuring an all women of color roster of artists. Additional concerts will occur on November 12 and 13 in Manhattan and Queens. We saved your seat! Tickets: $15–$30

Short Description for Queens:

There is nothing like the power of strong female representation on the stage. The Open Gates Project presents its inaugural concert, “The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music” on November 13th at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, featuring an all women of color roster of artists. Additional concerts will occur on November 12 and 14 in Manhattan and the Bronx. We saved your seat! Tickets: $15–$30

Short Description for Manhattan:

There is nothing like the power of strong female representation on the stage. The Open Gates Project presents its inaugural concert, “The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music” on November 12th at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, featuring an all women of color roster of artists. Additional concerts will occur on November 13 and 14 in Queens and the Bronx. We saved your seat! Tickets: $15–$30

For a longer description, and concert and transit details, download this document


Media graphics/images:

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View the embedded image gallery online at:
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Individual Headshots:

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View the embedded image gallery online at:
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Roster of artists:

Nicole Besa ~ soprano
Aine Hakamatsuka ~ soprano
Heather Hill ~ soprano
Amaranta Viera ~ soprano
Tanisha Anderson ~ mezzo-soprano
Guadalupe Peraza ~ mezzo-soprano
AnnMarie Sandy ~ mezzo-soprano
Hai-Ting Chinn ~ alto

Jessica Park ~ violin
Maria Romero Ramos ~ violin
Amelia Sie ~ violin
Patricia Ann Neely ~ viola da gamba
Duangkamon "Wan" Wattanasak ~ harpsichord

About the Artists:

Tanisha Anderson is a two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and National Marian Anderson Scholar Artist who has sung all along the east coast and in Europe with companies including but not limited to The Crossing, Opera Philadelphia, The Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, VoxAma Deus Ensemble, and Philadelphia Symphonic Choir. www.tanishalanderson.com

Praised for her “metallic voice,” Soprano Nicole Besa is winner of the 2021 Franc d’Ambrosio Talent Search and 2020 Musician’s Club of Women Farwell Award. 2021 highlights: Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Christine (Phantom of the Opera), Morgana (Alcina), Maria (Maria La Ó), Cunegonde (Candide!), Maria (West Side Story), Carla (NBC’s Chicago Fire). nicolediana.wixsite.com/2018a

Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn performs in a wide range of styles and venues, from Purcell to Pierrot Lunaire, Cherubino to The King & I, J.S. Bach to P.D.Q. Bach. She has performed with New York City Opera, The Wooster Group, Philip Glass/Robert Wilson, OperaOmnia, American Symphony Orchestra; on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Mann Center in Philadelphia, and London’s West End; and at Festivals including the Edinburgh, Verbier, Grimeborn, Tête-à-Tête, and Festival d’Autumne. Of mixed Chinese and Jewish ancestry, Hai-Ting is a native of Northern California and currently resides in New York City. She holds degrees from the Eastman and Yale Schools of Music. www.hai-ting.com

Japanese soprano Aine Hakamatsuka is the winner of the 2013 Yokohama International Music Competition. As a soloist, she appeared in Paukenmesse (Haydn), Magnificat (Schubert), Requiem (Faure), 9th Symphony (Beethoven), Cantata No. 51 (Bach), and Gloria (Vivaldi). She has performed in venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Kennedy Center. www.ainehakamatsuka.com

Heather Hill's career encompasses work in opera, concert, Broadway and Voiceovers. Performances include Knoxville, Summer of 1915, by Barber with York Orchestra, The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway company and Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall. Heather loves early music and is thrilled to perform with the Open Gates Project. www.heatherhill.com @msheatherhill 

Patricia Ann Neely is an early bowed string player and music teacher. She holds a BA in music from Vassar College and an MFA in Historical Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. She has performed with many early music ensembles including Sequentia, Tempesta di Mare, Washington Bach Consort, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Rheinische Kantorei Köln, among others. She is currently director of Abendmusik – New York’s early music string band. Patricia has been a member of the Board and Chair of the Equity and Diversity Task Force of the Board of Early Music America and is currently on the Board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and Chair of its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She teaches at many early music workshops and was a long-time member of the music faculty at The Brearley School, in New York City. www.abendmusik.net/about.html

Praised as an “exceptional talent” by the Frankfurter Neue Presse, violinist Jessica Park is in high demand as an interpreter of baroque and classical repertoire. She can be heard performing with the country’s premier period instrument ensembles such as the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and The American Classical Orchestra, among others. Her duo with fortepianist Ji-Young Kim was recently featured at the Boston Early Music Festival, and in 2017 Jessica founded the Cramer Quartet, a period-instrument string quartet. www.jessicaparkviolin.com

Mexican mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Peraza has been a featured performer across the Americas and Europe. She has sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and performed with New York City Opera and Bard Summerscape. Guadalupe will be a featured soloist with American Classical Orchestra in February 2022. “When Peraza sang one could momentarily forget the troubles of the world... [She exhibits] appealingly pure, direct storytelling. Peraza was unfailingly engaging and fully connected to the text”. – Opera News
Facebook:@perazaguadalupe

Nashville-based violinist Maria Romero Ramos is concertmaster of Music City Baroque. Maria has collaborated with Atlanta Baroque, Les Délices, and Orchester Wiener Akademie, among others, and has performed at Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Boston and Bloomington Early Music Festivals. She has appeared as soloist with the Princeton Festival, Mountainside, and Indianapolis Baroque Orchestras. Maria holds a doctorate from Indiana University and is faculty at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches modern and baroque violin.

AnnMarie Sandy, mezzo-soprano, is garnering praise for operatic, concert, and recorded work. She is featured on New World Records recording of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. In 2007 she made her Lincoln Center debut performing the alto solo in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and made her 2013 Carnegie Hall debut singing the role Ursula in the Strauss opera Feuersnot. AnnMarie features on Voices Fall from the Sky, an album of renowned free jazz bassist William Parker. The magazine PopMatters, describes AnnMarie as: "stretching her operatic range to sing notes of freedom, healing, and peace." AnnMarie grew up in Houston, Texas and is based in Brooklyn, New York. www.annmariesandy.com

Based in New York City, Amelia Sie is a virtuosic and adventurous performer of modern and Baroque violin. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Violin Performance from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Paul Biss, Miriam Fried, and Soovin Kim. She is currently a student at The Juilliard School, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Historical Performance. ameliasie.wixsite.com/violin

“Excellent” (Greenwich Sentinel) Cuban-American soprano Amaranta Viera performs in the Unites States and abroad with ensembles ranging from the Choir of Trinity Wall Street to the New York Philharmonic in repertoire spanning a millennium. She specializes in music of the German and Italian early Baroque, and is passionate about engaging modern audiences with old music through the exploration of shared social and historical threads. She lives in Queens, New York with her husband and son. www.amaranta-viera.com

Duangkamon “Wan” Wattanasak, a native of Thailand, currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in harpsichord performance at Stony Brook University. A recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her musical and academic excellence, Wan enjoys a varied career performing across the United States and abroad, sharing her historical research at symposiums and workshops, teaching lessons and community classes, and directing diverse vocal and instrumental ensembles. 

Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS) has accepted the resignations of Joe Chappel and Michele Kennedy as co-directors of our Open Gates Project, devoted to diversifying the community of performers and audiences for early music. Joe and Michele initiated the Project in the depths of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, and ably shepherded it through four concerts in the 2021–22 concert season. As their own artistic careers have burgeoned post-pandemic and their time has become limited, GEMS will be seeking new leadership for the Project to build upon the firm foundation the founding co-directors have created.

Plans for the Open Gates Project 2022–23 Season are still underway. Watch this space for more information in the coming months!


Thanks to everyone who made our first season successful!

Click here to view the February concert

Click here to view the November concert 


Enjoy the photos below (click on the gallery to view larger), and this wonderful review from our February concert.

 "The sparkling performances showed that Open Gates is not a mere lip-service DEI gesture like some of those cropping up in business and the arts today."

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Read our full mission and vision statement and the personal story of co-founder Joe Chappel


WHO WE ARE: Co-Founders, Joe Damon Chappel & Michele Kennedy

Joe Chappel headshotJOE DAMON CHAPPEL

Michele Kennedy headshotMICHELE KENNEDY



Conversations: conversations with the co-founders


Get to Know our Artists in These Intro Videos


Open Gates Project Statement of Solidarity with the AAPI Community 


The Open Gates Project is made possible with a generous grant from the Howard Gilman Foundation; funding from The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural affairs in partnership with the City Council.

 

Our bold and ambitious mission: engaging more artists of color on stages and growing the diversity of our audiences. And letting the magic of Early Music and the power of live performance do the rest. 

 

Joe Chappel youngJoe ChappelA little black boy goes to school one day and a music teacher, a black man, demonstrates the violin and other stringed instruments to all his students. The little boy, with total wonder in his eyes (unaware that his fascination might be seen by some as odd or unexpected) runs home after school, announces his desire to play violin, and so begins a lifetime of dedication to music performance in the Western classical tradition. 

That little boy was me, Joe Chappel.

The power in that critical moment is that someone who looked like that little boy did something truly wonderful, and therefore made it seem natural, accessible... wholly possible that he might be able to do it, too. 

This is the same power of live performance in general, but particularly meaningful for artists of underrepresented communities missing from our stages and for underserved communities missing from our audiences. There is a conversation, a magical exchange of energy and sentiment that happens between performer and listener, and sadly some voices have been historically stilled into silence and kept at bay.

How many times has an artist of color entered a rehearsal room full of musicians and discovered that they are indeed the ONLY artist of color present, even though they know many other capable talented colleagues of color who just weren’t asked to participate? How many times do well-meaning colleagues and admirers ask some version of the question, “How did someone like YOU end up performing music like THIS?”, not knowing that this is a subtle form of “othering” that artists of color must learn to negotiate their entire careers? How is it that so many people of color still feel less entitled to enjoy, as patrons, centuries-old music traditions that truthfully, we must all approach as dedicated students to fully understand and appreciate, regardless of our race or ethnicity? In many ways, big and small, from the micro-aggressive to the downright discriminatory, people of color are given multiple signals that this beautiful music tradition we all hold so dear belongs to someone else, but certainly not to them. They are welcome to “audit” the craft but can never assert true ownership in it. They are culturally disenfranchised from Early Music.

The Open Gates Project boldly professes a new paradigm and sets forth the following truths as the guiding principles in our mission:

  1. Artists of color deserve equity in representation on the stages of Early Music performance; indeed, they are entitled to equity in access and the creation of safe, supportive, non-discriminatory spaces for nurturing and displaying their artistry. They are not visitors in their own craft – but fully vested practitioners, stewards, and teachers of their vocation and should be regarded as such.
  2. Communities of color deserve open access to the performing arts – all of them and in all styles, including Early Music. Early Music does not belong to anyone if not to everyone. No matter our ancestral path, as citizens of Western Civilization, people of color are entitled to claim the cultural heritage and legacy of Early Music as their own, because it is. They have bought and paid for it in the tumultuous history of colonization, forced cultural replacement and appropriation, and globalization. People of color needn’t constantly prove their right to enjoy Early Music. Their appreciation is as valid as anyone else’s.
  3. Until audiences see themselves reflected on the stage, they will always feel like outsiders when they absolutely should not. Early Music is glorious, transformative, and wonderfully and ironically relevant to the modern aesthetic. Above all, Early Music belongs to us all. 

The pandemic is a dreadful shock to the arts. But it is not the end of the arts... far from it. This is a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be still and reassess infrastructures, protocols, and marketing tendencies in our arts organizations. This is a time to re-examine the way things have been and ways in which we might change them to more closely mirror our aspirations. We have been given a chance to open a few more doors for underrepresented artists and reach a few more underserved audiences. In the process we may even reach a few more little girls and boys who will see themselves reflected on our stages and for the first time, expand their imagination to include a future filled with Early Music as a distinct possibility. 

This is the bold and ambitious mission of The Open Gates Project: engaging more artists of color on stages and growing the diversity of our audiences. And letting the magic of Early Music and the power of live performance do the rest.

 

Co-Founders, Joe Damon Chappel & Michele Kennedy


Joe Chappel headshotJOE DAMON CHAPPELBASS-BARITONE JOE DAMON CHAPPEL, a native of Nashville, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he was a William Warfield Scholar. For many years, he was principal bass soloist with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity (New York City) and has performed with Bachworks, NY Collegium, Early Music New York, Les Gouts-Réunis, Vox Vocal Ensemble, and was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Tiffany Consort, now known as TENET. A champion of new and rarely heard music, Joe made his Lincoln Center debut in 2007 as the bass soloist in the world premiere of Andrew Fowler’s Directions for Singing and has made debuts at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Carnegie Hall. He has performed several works composed around the events of 9/11, including the world premieres of Anthony Davis’s Restless Morning at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and Joelle Wallach’s Firefighter’s Prayer as part of the St. Louis Symphony’s “On Stage at Powell” recital series. Most recently, Joe was a vocalist in the award-winning four-continent world tour of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s critically acclaimed Einstein on the Beach. In 2018 he rejoined composer Matthew Welch at National Sawdust for the world premier of And Here We Are, a work which he helped workshop at Merkin Hall, as part of the Experiments in Opera series. In April 2017, he joined director James Darrah as the Immigration Officer in Opera Omaha's production of Jonathan Dove's Flight, and he also made his debut that same year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as Fodder in the world premiere of Roddy Bottum’s Sasquatch. Joe will rejoin director Thaddeus Strassberger in the spring on 2022 for a production of Salome with Tulsa Opera.


Michele Kennedy headshotMICHELE KENNEDYSOPRANO MICHELE KENNEDY is a versatile specialist in early classical and new music. Praised by The Washington Post as “a fine young soprano with a lovely voice" possessing "a graceful tonal clarity that is a wonder to hear" (San Francisco Chronicle), Michele's recent venues include Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Bard Summerscape, Getty Museum, Lincoln Center, Powell Symphony Hall, and Washington National Cathedral.

Michele has been pleased to sing the Bach Magnificat, St. John Passion, and Christmas Oratorio, Charpentier In Nativitatem, Handel Messiah & Dixit Dominus, Mozart Coronation & C Minor Masses, Faure Requiem, and Undine Smith Moore's Scenes from the Life of a Martyr in recent seasons. She has been featured in The Monteverdi Vespers with Dark Horse Consort & Voices of Ascension, Bach Cantatas with American Classical Orchestra, and works of Caccini/Strozzi with Folger Consort. Last season Michele debuted with Bach Society of Saint Louis (Poulenc Gloria), San Francisco Choral Society (Christmas Oratorio), Trinity Wall Street Choir (Messiah), and The San Francisco Ballet (Mendelssohn's Midsummer). Under the pandemic, she’s recently debuted with Opera Lafayette – From Lamentation to Liberation – and with Les Délices in their recent Baroque Women in Music digital salon, profiled here by Cleveland Classical.

Michele's new music adventures include Aaron Siegel's I Will Tell You The Truth About This at New York City's Schomburg Center, David Lang’s True Pearl as well as selected songs with Contemporaneous, and featured art songs by Florence Price and a world premiere by Dina Shilleh in recital with Mimesis Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. After debuting Julia Wolfe's Fire In My Mouth with The New York Philharmonic & The Crossing in 2019, Michele will do a national tour with Lorelei Ensemble next year in the world premiere of Wolfe's Her Story – a celebration of women’s right to vote – with the Nashville, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and National Symphony Orchestras.

A graduate of Yale University and NYU, Michele is committed to working toward greater equity and programmatic representation for BBI, LGBTQ, and female voices across the field. She aspires to further this work from her living room while sheltering at home. A lover of the California redwoods and bay vistas, Michele lives in Oakland with her husband, visual artist Benjamin Thorpe. www.michele-kennedy.com

At the Open Gates Project, providing safe spaces for artists of color is central to our mission. Part of the OGP vision expresses that artists of color are entitled to “the creation of safe, supportive, non-discriminatory spaces for nurturing and displaying their artistry”. This concept of “safe and non-discriminatory spaces” is not limited to the stage or the practice room. Indeed, artists as members of the general public, have the right to expect safe spaces throughout their entire communities-writ-large, and in all aspects of their daily lives.

During the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in racist hate-speech and violence towards the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout America. This comes as the most recent chapter of a long history of discrimination, hate-speech, and violence toward the AAPI community. Our AAPI brothers and sisters have an increased fear of being in the streets and in their own neighborhoods, because they do not feel safe among the general public.

The Open Gates Project reiterates its commitment to advocating for the creation of safe spaces for all artists of color, and we specifically express our solidarity with our Asian-American sisters and brothers and the entire AAPI community at large. We reject all forms of hateful speech, discrimination, and violence towards anyone, but at this time it is important to let the AAPI community know that they are not alone. It is our hope that all arts organizations will join us in expressing their unequivocal support for the AAPI community, along with the rejection of all that prevents the creation of safe spaces in all our diverse communities.

Joe Chappel, Co-founder, Open Gates Project
Michele Kennedy, Co-founder, Open Gates Project
Gene Murrow, Executive Director, Gotham Early Music Scene

Watch our Inaugural Concert from November, 2021, The Divine Feminine!


Get to Know some of our Artists in These Intro Videos


Mezzo-soprano Hai Ting Chinn performing L'Eraclito Amoroso by Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677). Accompanied on harpsichord by Dongsok Shin.


Patricia Ann Neely on viola da gamba and Dongsok Shin on harpsichord, performing Susana pasgiata Basso solo by Bartolome de selma y Salaverdi (ca. 1580–ca. 1640)


AnnMarie Sandy performing Monteverdi's "Illustratevi, o cieli" from Il ritorno di'Ulisse in patria. Accompanied on harpsichord by Dongsok Shin.


 

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