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.
starting in October 2022
Giovanni Battista Graziadio finished his recorder studies with honours in 2007 at the Department of Ancient Music of the Conservatory of Music of Cosenza “S.Giacomantonio”. He went on further to complete a specialised Master’s degree and a Pedagogical degree in historical bassoon performance and music education at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Giovanni has also studied at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and the Conservatorio Verdi in Milan. He also holds a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Calabria, specializing in bio-pathology.
Giovanni is a founding member of “The Italian Consort”, “La Petite Écurie Oboe Band”, and the ensemble “Abchordis” with which he performs all over Europe as bassoonist and flutist, and with which he has won various competitions. He performs concerts, also as a soloist, with the most famous European ensembles and orchestras and has recorded more than 30 CDs for various international labels together with different ensembles. As an external expert teacher he has taught early music, recorder, and historical bassoon in workshops at state schools and private academies. He currently teaches baroque bassoon at the Conservatorio di Musica “Luca Marenzio” in Brescia. He works as a researcher at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis FHNW, and at the University of Basel he is doing a PhD on “Use and Pedagogy of the Bassoon in Naples between the 17th and 18th centuries”.
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.
Anna Schall was born 1984 in Emmendingen, and through playing the recorder, she began to be interested in early music from a young age, which then led her to take up the cornetto.
She studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Bruce Dickey (cornetto) and Conrad Steinmann (recorder), finishing in 2008 with a Diploma for Early Music. She then undertook further advanced studies on the cornetto with Gebhard David and William Dongois at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.
Anna Schall is now in demand as a cornetto player across Europe, playing with several well known ensembles, including Oltremontano, Weserrenaissance, Musica Fiata, Freiburger Barockorchester and more.
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.
Georges Barthel started his musical studies at the age of 8. After graduating the Conservatoire National de Région in Strasbourg for both the modern and the baroque flutes, he decided to focus on historical performance practice and entered the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, were he studied the early flutes – from renaissance to romantic – with Barthold Kuijken and his assistants Frank Theuns and Marc Hantai. In 2002 he was awarded the prize of the audience at the international competition “Musica Antiqua” in Bruges, Belgium. Two years later he successfully completed his studies at the conservatory.
Since then, he has been playing in major festivals and concert halls worldwide as member of several ensembles such as Orchestre des Champs-Elysées (Philippe Herreweghe), La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken), Anima Eterna (Jos van Immerseel), Ricercar Consort (Philippe Pierlot), Les Talens Lyriques (Christophe Rousset), Gaechinger Cantorey (Hans-Christoph Rademann), Orkiestra Historyczna (Martyna Pastuszka), Collegium 1704 (Václav Luks) or Australian Chamber Orchestra (Richard Tognetti).
Georges Barthel teaches early flutes at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main since 2019 and at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen since 2022.
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.
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.
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.