Born in Israel, Benny Aghassi began his recorder studies in Jerusalem where he also won several competitions. He continued his studies on both recorder and baroque bassoon at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Sébastien Marq and Donna Agrell. He obtained his Masters degree under the tutelage of Heiko ter Schegget.
In 2005 Benny Aghassi won two first prizes in the ‘Aviv Competition’ for Early Music and has been a scholarship recipient from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
Benny Aghassi plays with the Freiburger Barock Orchester, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Netherlands Bach Society and many others. He currently teaches historical bassoon at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Wim Becu studied trombone at the Conservatories of Antwerp and The Hague. Within his field – early music – he has committed to a great many varieties of historical trombone. Becu has collaborated with prominent old music ensembles like Huelgas Ensemble, Concerto Palatino, Hespérion XX and l’Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. In 1993, he founded his own ensemble Oltremontano, a haven for historical brass wind instruments. Until the end of 2022, they will be artist in residence at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. Apart from performing, Wim Becu also teaches at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag and at the Bremen Art College (Hochschule für Künste), and at various academies in Antwerp and Brussels.
Gebhard David began his musical training on the recorder and the viola da gamba.
At the age of twelve he discovered the zinc, which from then on became his main instrument.
He studied Early Music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Gebhard David has been playing with the most renowned early music groups such as Double Bande, Hesperion XXI, Il Giardino Armonico and Concerto Palatino all over Europe.
More than 60 CD recordings on various labels document his career to date.
From 2006 to 2008 Gebhard David was a lecturer in zinc and diminution at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen.
He has been teaching at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen since 2009.
Oboist Josep Domènech Lafont was born in Spain. He began his studies in La Lira Ampostina and later studied in Barcelona, Basel and Amsterdam. He has played in major period instrument ensembles such as Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Köln and the Nederlandse Bachvereniging. He is currently the principle oboe of the Freiburger Barock Orchester.
He performs on instruments spanning from the birth of the instrument to the beginning of the twentieth century, from Bach until Mahler.
In demand as a teacher and lecturer, he teaches baroque oboe at both the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Marten Root is a leading flautist and researcher in the field of 18th and 19th century performance practice. With his ensembles Schönbrunn and the Biedermeier Quintet he has performed all over the world and made recordings that include, next to sonatas of JS Bach, Kuhlau and the Flute Concerti of Mozart, a long list of chamber music works. Marten Root is the principal flute of the Barokorkest van de Nederlandse Bachvereniging and of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and can be heard in repertoire ranging from Bach (www.allofbach.com) to Berlioz, Schumann, Brahms, Verdi and Debussy. Marten Root holds the position of Professor for Historical Flutes at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Han Tol has held the position of Professor for Recorder at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen since 1994. Alongside this position Han Tol has been Guest Professor at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and Indiana University and has given masterclasses across Europe, Asia and the USA.
With his ensembles La Dada and La Fontegara Amsterdam Han Tol has explored and made recordings from a wide range of repertoires, he was also a member of the Flanders Recorder Quartet. With the Balthasar Neumann-Ensemble, Han Tol directed a project performing unpublished works by Telemann. With four former students and their group the Boreas Quartett, Han Tol has recorded works of Christopher Tye, this CD being one of a total of 45 in which he has taken part.
Han Tol has worked extensively into the research of Venetian music around 1500, publishing several essays on the topic. His arrangement and recording of the first three Cellosuites of JS Bach has been released on CD in Korea.
Dr Susan Williams is one of the world’s most well known specialists in baroque trumpet and over the last 30 years has performed and recorded with many of Europe’s finest early music ensembles as soloist, chamber musician and in orchestral projects. She has also initiated and realised many of her own artistic projects involving natural trumpets. She teaches at The Royal Conservatorium of The Hague and at the University of the Arts in Bremen
In addition to teaching natural trumpet and leading ensemble projects and workshops Susan has been giving regular courses in practicing and performance preparation for over ten years. Susan is actively involved in curriculum development in the area of training practicing both in The Hague and in Bremen. She teaches in staff development programs in The Netherlands, Belgium and Austria and for the Netzwerk Musikhochschulen of Germany. She has carried outresearch on the topics of attentional focus and musical imagery, as well as self-regulated learning for musicians.
Susan’s book Quality Practice has enjoyed wide popularity amongst musicians and teachers.In 2020 she developed NOTES: a Musician’s Reflective Journal.
Renowned Dutch cellist, Viola de Hoog leads a successful international career specialized not only in early music.
Alongside many chamber music recordings with Ensemble Schönbrunn, Narratio Quartet and Schoenberg Quartet, her recordings of Bach’s Cello Suites and the Cello Sonatas of Mendelssohn have been received with great critical acclaim.
In the orchestral world of Early Music, Viola de Hoog has worked as principal cellist with such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Jos van Veldhoven, Jos van Immerseel, and is currently the principal cellist of The Kings’ Consort and the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht. Her repertoire ranges from the early 17th to the 20th centuries.
Viola de Hoog teaches baroque cello at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen as well as the conservatories of Amsterdam and Utrecht.
The Baroque Violinist Mechthild Karkow is one of the most versatile specialists in the field of Historical Performance Practice. Her repertoire ranges from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th. The examination of historical sources, the use of instruments and techniques appropriate to them are for her, self explanatory.
Mechthild Karkow has won prizes at international competitions, made many recordings and has performed internationally as a soloist, concert master and as a chamber musician. In addition to her work with musicians such as Christoph Coin and Andrea Marcon, she has appeared as soloist and artistic director with the Freiburger Barockorchester.
In 2013 she took up the academic post of Professor of Baroque Violin at the Hochschule Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Leipzig, and also taught at the the Hochschule in Frankfurt am Main. In 2020 Mechthild Karkow was appointed as Professor of Baroque Violin at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Musician, gamba-player, has played music as long as she can think.
She travels the world, playing concerts and recording CDs with different groups or soloizing, mostly in the field of 17th and 18th century music but also letting the music take her to places she never even dreamed of.
When she is not traveling she lives in a farmhouse in northern Germany with her family and a few chickens, horses, cats and rabbits.
She passionately teaches her students at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany, everything she knows about music, playing the gamba, and how not to be jealous if someone plays better than you.
People of the world: relax…
Veronika Skuplik studied at the Hochschule in Essen, the Universität Münster and the Akademie für Alte Musik Bremen. Internationally sought after, Veronika Skuplik plays mainly in ensembles such as Concerto Palatino, Weser-Renaissance, L’Arpeggiata, Collegium Vocale Gent, Freiburger BarockConsort. Her own Ensembles are La Dolcezza and UrgentMusic.
One of her favoured repertoires is the music of the 17th century with it’s closeness to singing, wealth of affects, and freedom for experimentation.
Veronika Skuplik’s discography comprises of over 100 cd’s. The Project VIOLINO II, a recording of anonymous Austrian sonatas for violin and basso continuo, will be released in early 2021. Together with her ensemble UrgentMusic she is currently producing another recording Umbra-Ambra, with Radio Bremen.
Veronika Skuplik is a lecturer in Baroque Violin at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. She also leads masterclasses and orchestra projects in Hamburg, Kattowitz and at Carnegie Hall.
Keyboard Instruments and Accompaniment
Edoardo Bellotti is Professor of Organ at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany.
A virtuoso organist and renowned improviser, Bellotti performs at leading festivals and concert venues throughout the world. Bellotti is considered a leading expert in the performance of Renaissance and Baroque keyboard music.
Bellotti combines his international performing career with musicological research and teaching, publishing articles as well as new critical editions of music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has been professor of organ at several important music schools in his native Italy and in Germany as well. He has also served as artistic consultant for the restoration of historical organs in Italy, Germany, and the United States.
Carsten Lohff studied Harpischord and Music theory with Johann Sonnleitner, Bob van Asperen, Gustav Leonhardt and Christoph Hohlfeld.
As a continuo player and soloist, Carsten Lohff is featured on the recordings of ensembles such as Cantus Cölln, Le Concert Brisé and La Rêveuse.
Carsten Lohff has taught at the Hochschulen in Nürnberg-Augsburg and Trossingen.
Since 1992 Carsten Lohhf has held the position of Professor for Harpsichord and Continuo at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Hamburg and in 2001 Carsten Lohff was appointed Professor for Historical Keyboard Instruments at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Amongst his recordings are:
- Bach-Konzerte for 3 and 4 Cembali with Bob van Asperen a.o. La Barca d’Amore
- Musique Transalpine with Le Concert Brisé (William Dongois)
- Awakening Princesses with Peter Holtslag
- many recordings with La Rêveuse (Diapason d’or)
The conductor, organist and harpsichordist Detlef Bratschke received intensive musical training early on in the ranks of the Hanover Boys Choir.
Detlef Bratschke studied church music in Hanover and Freiburg. As part of his extensive concert activities as an ensemble singer and instrumentalist, he received significant impulses, of particular importance here is the long-term close collaboration with Thomas Hengelbrock.
One focus of his work is the direction of the Orlando di Lasso Ensemble, which he founded and directs.
Detlef Bratschke has been the artistic director of the Balthasar Neumann Choir since 1992.
As part of his specialization in the music of the 16th and 17th centuries, Detlef Bratschke carries out extensive work on original sources and has created a number of his own editions of previously unpublished works.
Bettina Pahn first studied cello and later focused on singing at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin and in Frankfurt.
The German Soprano cooperates intensively with Ton Koopman in recordings and concerts. Together with him, she performs in the most important concert halls (Carnegie Hall in New York and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam…) and also in numerous international festivals (the Göttingen Handel Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival).
Bettina Pahn collaborates with Joachim Held (lutenist) since many years.
Since 2017 Bettina Pahn teaches “Early Music Singing” at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Countertenor Benno Schachtner is counted amongst the leading singers in the field of Early Music worldwide. He studied church music at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and Singing at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He is a regular guest at renowned concert halls such as Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Opéra National de Paris and performs with groups such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Collegium 1704.
A driving force behind his artistic work is his collaboration with René Jacobs and Vàclav Luks. Until 2020 Benno taught historical performance practice at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim, in April 2020 Benno was appointed Professor for Historical Singing at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.
Music Theory and Musicology
Christoph Prendl is a musician and musicologist. He completed his studies in Linz, Basel and Würzburg. He taught music theory at the music academies in Mannheim, Trossingen and Freiburg im Breisgau and works as a gambist, harpsichord player and choir director. Concert tours take him regularly through various countries in Europe and America. His research focuses on German-language music theory in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as figured bass theory and methodology from the beginnings to the 19th century. He has published on Claudio Monteverdi and Johann Joseph Fux, among others. Christoph Prendl lives in Basel.
Scenic Representation and Dance
Joachim Held studied historical Lutes at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Eugen Dombois and Hopkinson Smith, as well as with Jürgen Hübscher at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe. In 1990 he won the second prize at the Concours Musica Antiqua Bruges. Since then he maintained an intensive international performing career as a soloist, chamber musician and continuo player.
Joachim Held has played under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and with Il Giardino Armonico. In addition to this, Joachim Held has recently worked in Opera Productions under the direction of Ivor Bolton and Alessandro Quarto, solo concerts for the Neue Bachgesellschaft, as well as teaching in courses throughout Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy.
Joachim Held is a recording artist with Hänssler Classic. He received the Echo Klassik award in 2006 for the best solo recording of music from the 17/18th centuries.
Joachim Held teaches at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag.
Margit Schultheiß first studied historical keyboard instruments with Glen Wilson and Jacques Ogg. She continued her studies as a student of Andrew Lawrence-King at the HfK Bremen in the subject of historical harp.
Since 1995 she has been a freelance continuo player (baroque and renaissance harp, organ, harpsichord), with a particular interest in 17th century music.
She has participated in around 75 CD productions with many ensembles, a.o. Weser-Renaissance Bremen, Lautten Compagney Berlin, Salzburg Court Music and Orlando di Lasso Ensemble.
She has also played in numerous theaters as a baroque harpist in opera productions.
Since the summer semester 2011 she has been teaching historical harp and since 2012 improvisation early music at the HfK Bremen.