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The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, Inc is a
Since 1969, the internationally acclaimed vocal sextet The Western Wind has devoted itself to the special beauty and variety of a cappella music. The Ensemble’s repertoire reveals its diverse background – from Renaissance motets to Fifties rock ’n’ roll, from medieval carols to Duke Ellington, from complex works by avant-garde composers to the simplest folk melodies.
In addition to maintaining a demanding performance schedule, which has included such venues as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, ArtPark, The Ordway Theater, The Metropolitan Museum, The Frick Museum, The Jewish Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Western Wind regularly conducts Workshops in Ensemble Singing. The workshops, attended by vocalists ranging from novice to professional, address the particular challenges of singing in small, largely un-conducted ensembles.
As part of its non-profit mission to spread the joy of music to people of all ages, The Western Wind coordinates a highly-acclaimed arts-in-education program in the New York City public school system called The Western Wind Goes To School for children ages 8–18. The curriculum ranges from the fundamentals of music notation and rhythm to highly refined interpretation of challenging vocal repertoire.
Since 1989, The Western Wind has produced a series of radio programs distributed throughout the United States by National Public Radio and Public Radio International. The programs address topics ranging from settings of love songs throughout the centuries to a musical narrative of the Jewish High Holy Days.
The Western Wind has also produced nineteen recordings, eleven of which have been released on Western Wind Records, the group’s own record label, distributed in the US and Canada by Albany Music Distributors.
Linda Lee Jones (soprano), a New Orleans native, is active as a soprano, teacher and massage therapist in New York City and Central New Jersey. Her work as an ensemble singer has afforded her the opportunity to perform with the area’s most prominent choral groups, including the choirs of Trinity Wall Street Church, Musica Sacra, the New York Choral Artists, St. Ignatius Loyola Church and the Mostly Mozart Festival, along with some of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors. Ms. Jones is a member of the professional Chorale of the Carmel Bach Festival in Carmel, CA and sings regularly with the choir of St. Mary the Virgin in New York. As a soloist she has appeared with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale, the Masterwork Chorus of NJ and the Argento Chamber Ensemble in New York. Before relocating to New Jersey she served as Director of Music for Munholland United Methodist Church in New Orleans, where she worked with choristers of all ages. Ms. Jones hold a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Loyola University and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting and Voice from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Michele Kennedy (soprano) is a versatile specialist in early classical and contemporary repertoire. Among her concert highlights are performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Caramoor Music Festival, and the Washington National Cathedral. Her recent performances have encompassed a wide range of repertoire from Medieval chant and Renaissance polyphony to works by living composers Richard Einhorn, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Matthew Harris, and Eric Salzman. She has appeared recently as a soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Requiem and Coronation Mass, and with the New York Baroque Soloists, the Holy Trinity Bach Vespers Series, REBEL Baroque Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. As an ensemble singer, Michele performs with the early music group Pomerium and has also sung with the Vox Vocal Ensemble, Equal Voices, Tiffany Consort, and the New York Baroque Soloists. Michele’s operatic roles include Hero in Berlioz’s Beatrice et Benedict, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cathleen in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, and chamber opera roles with Music-Theatre Group and Harlem Stage. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Michele holds a degree in music from Yale University.
Todd Frizzell (tenor) was featured on ABC-TV’s Nightline, singing music from a Mass written in the first millennium, which he performed in Limoges, France in May 2001. Todd has performed widely with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music, with whom he has been a resident artist for the past 5 years. Performances have included Sponsus: The Tale of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and featured solos on three of the group’s CDs. Todd serenaded Dame Judi Dench in June 2000 at Broadway’s Ethyl Barrymore Theater during a special performance of Her Majesty the Queen honoring Ms. Dench’s receipt of the Golden Quill award. He was the tenor soloist in Handel’s Israel in Egypt at Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale, and is a featured soloist on the CD Responsoria. Todd has appeared at the Bard College Festival and performed with the New York Virtuoso Singers, Musica Antica at St. Bart’s, and the New York Concert Singers.
David Vanderwal (tenor) is a native of Portland, Oregon. He has performed as a soloist with The American Bach Soloists, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, New York Collegium and Tafelmusik. Recently Mr. Vanderwal performed Handel’s Messiah with the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choirs of Buffalo, NY, Pax Christi of Toronto, ON, Danbury (CT) Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir (CT), and First Congregational Church of Greenwich, CT. He performed Bach’s Easter Oratorio, and a new concert Mass of John Tavener with the Choir of St. Thomas Church, in New York. Mr. Vanderwal appeared at the Carmel Bach Festival in California, and taught at the International Bachakademie’s Stuttgart Festival in Überlingen, Germany. He also presents a set of song recitals throughout the year.
Peter Walker (baritone) – Described as a “rich-voiced” and “vivid” singer by a recent New York Times review, and an “impressive” and “exciting” piper by clevelandclassical.com, Peter Walker enjoys a varied and exciting career as a singer of early, classical and folk music, and as a piper in music ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. Recent performances include Balthasar and Habbakuk in The Play of Daniel with Gotham Early Music, appearing as bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, singing and piping with Apollo’s Fire, Three Notch’d Road, and Early Music New York, and appearing as Highland bagpipe soloist with the Little Orchestra Society in Peter Maxwell Davies’ “Orkney Wedding with Sunrise”. Highlights of the coming season will include appearances with the Handel and Haydn Society, Three Notch’d Road, Texas Early Music Project, Staunton Music Festival, Stamford Symphony Orchestra, and Skylark Vocal Ensemble. Peter is a member of the choir of St. Luke in the Fields, and is founder and director of the medieval ensemble Marginalia. He holds degrees from Vassar College and McGill University, where he studied with Drew Minter and Sanford Sylvan.
William Zukof (countertenor) is a founding member of The Western Wind. A New York City native, he was born in Manhattan and received his BA degree from The City University of New York. In his early twenties, he became a student of the noted American countertenor Russell Oberlin. He has appeared as a soloist with the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, the Roger Wagner Chorale, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Musica Sacra of New York, and the Zamir Chorale. Mr. Zukof performed the Bach Magnificat under the direction of Leonard Bernstein at the Vatican in Rome. His operatic appearances include roles with the Washington Opera, the Center for Contemporary Opera, the Eastman School, and the University of California at Berkeley. He is executive producer for Western Wind’s recordings, including the latest release, Taste of Eternity, A Musical Shabbat Part II, Saturday Morning Service and two soon to be released CDs: All That Is Left of Me – music of Meredith Monk and Eric Salzman and O Beautiful! American Music – New American Music for Voices.