Charles Metz studied piano at Penn State University, beginning his harpsichord studies through private lessons with the legendary Igor Kipnis. In the process of earning a Ph.D. in Historical Performance Practice at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri, he studied with Trevor Pinnock. More recently, Charles has worked with Webb Wiggins and Lisa Crawford at the Oberlin Conservatory. Charles has performed across the country with concerts in Chicago IL, Saratoga NY, Bennington VT, Louisville, KY and Liberty Mo in their Baroque music JEMS Fest. He has performed solo recitals at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Oberlin Conservatory and appeared as guest artist in Kansas City for the “Bach Aria Soloists” and the KC Symphony’s summer program “Summerfest”. With the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, he was the featured keyboard soloist in Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg Concerto under conductor Nicholas McGegan. He has appeared with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Ars Antigua Chicago and the Newberry Consort of Chicago. Recently he has played with the Desert Baroque in Palm Desert California and has a full 2017 performance schedule including master classes and performances at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Penn State University in State College PA. As an early keyboard specialist he is currently performing on his historic Italian virginal, harpsichords and fortepianos. Dr. Metz’s list of performance credits includes international appearances in the Netherlands, Germany and Costa Rica. Dr. Metz also obtained a doctorate in Optometry and worked for twenty years in his own private practice and Clarkson Eyecare in St. Louis before retiring ten years ago. In addition to his performing activity, he serves on the Board of Directors of Chamber Music Society of St. Louis and The Newberry Consort.
Eric Malmquist (b. 1985) writes earnestly heartfelt and engaging music. He draws on a deep love of early music and modern influences to produce works that are focused and emotional.
He has been commissioned by the Chicago Composers Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, tubist Scott Tegge, historical keyboardist Charles Metz, historical flutist Leighann Daihl Ragusa, the International Chamber Artists, the Newberry Consort and the Wicker Park Choral Singers.
His tuba sonata has been performed by Gene Pokorny of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Scott Tegge of Gaudete Brass. His commissioned work Prairie Music for CYSO was featured on Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival in October 2016 and at Midwest Clinic in December 2016. CCO and WPCS co-commissioned his Blemish’d Muse, a twenty-minute work for choir and orchestra, in 2016. His song cycle If You Travel Far Enough was the very first commission of the ICA, and was featured on Live from WFMT in 2015. Michael Hall premiered his Sonata for Viola and Piano in 2014, and Gaudete Brass premiered his Three Preludes in 2013.
Praised for her dazzling melismas and called “an astonishing singer” by the Chicago Tribune, Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg has performed as a soloist in Europe,The United States, Asia, South America, and the Arab Emirates.
Her appearance on Chicago’s classical radio program“Live from WFMT” was selected as one of the 10 best performances in 2016 and she has become one of the most sought after Baroque singers in the Chicago area. She is currently performing all over the United States as specialist of Baroque Music. and as a concert singer.
She won the Chicago Oratorio Award and second prize in The American Prize Opera Competition. Josefien gave vocal masterclasses about Baroque Music at Indiana University, (Jacobs School of Music) University of Colorado and Illinois State University.
Concerts this season include performances with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Baroque Music Festival Corona del Mar (California)Arizona Bach Festival, St Louis Bach Society, Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, Boulder Bach Festival, Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Bach Ensemble,Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the Peoria Bach Festival, and with Camerata Amsterdam (Netherlands). She will also be the soprano soloist in a series of Bach St Matthew Passions in the Netherlands this Spring.
From 2005 until 2007, Josefien was part of the Young Opera Ensemble of Cologne, Germany. Leading operatic roles have included Aci in the Haymarket Opera Company’s acclaimed production of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo and Tirsi in Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine in the International Chamber Opera Festival (The Netherlands). She has appeared with Camerata Amsterdam, Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Haymarket Opera Company, Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana, Fulcrum Point and Music of the Baroque, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ensemble Brothers and Sisters (vocal duo Charlotte and Josefien Stoppelenburg and piano duo Martijn and Stefan Blaak) recently appeared live on Radio 4, the Dutch classical radio station for Classical Music and just made their ensemble debut in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Many composers wrote especially for Josefien. She performed works by Jacob TV, Esa-Pekka Salonen , Stacy Garrop, Lita Grier, Eric Whitacre and William Neil, as well as works by Dutch composers, including her father, composer Willem Stoppelenburg. Josefien performed several times for Dutch Royal Family.
Stoppelenburg’s second love is painting. She was the Artist in Residence at the Evanston Art Center, where she gave a series of lectures about Art and Music, and organized performances and exhibitions. She paints frequently on commission. Her colorful paintings have been used as opera sets, cd booklets, (such as the 2017 cover for “Rainbow Toccatas, a CD by British organist and composer Paul Ayres), music festival posters ,and as note cards.
Brandon J. Acker is a soloist, collaborator and lecturer on the classical guitar and early plucked instruments like the lute, baroque guitar and theorbo. Recent achievements include two debut CDs released by Jester Recordings and a highly praised collaboration with the creators of Les Misérables in the English language premiere of their musical La Révolution Française. He’s been praised for his “Able accompaniment on the lute” in Bach’s St. John Passion by the Chicago Classical Review and his frequent lieder and lute song recitals have led the editor of Vocal Arts Chicago to proclaim that “There are few events on this calendar more beautiful or ideal than Brandon J. Acker accompanying a singer in an intimate setting.”
Brandon has toured through England and Scotland with Chamber Opera Chicago and performed with notable groups like the Newberry Consort, Third Coast Baroque, Bella Voce, the Bach and Beethoven Ensemble and more. He has been featured live on WFMT 98.7 and has premiered several works and arrangements on WDRT 91.9. Internationally acclaimed guitarist Jason Vieaux referred to him as possessing a “Beautiful sound and really nice touch on the instrument.” In 2010, Brandon received 1st prize in the Society of American Musician’s Competition.
Upcoming projects include the release of a CD by his harp & guitar duo Strung Up featuring their arrangements of works by Glass, Pärt and Hovhaness.
Brandon also serves on the board for the Chicago Classical Guitar Society as Secretary.
Sir Geoffrey is the overseer for Music in Bloom. When he is not hard at work keeping the artists on task, he snuggles up for a nap on Eric and Steph Malmquist’s couch.
Sylvester is the official painting assistant for Music in Bloom. She can frequently be found sitting on paintings or drinking out of the cup of water Josefien puts her paint brushes in! When she’s not hard at work helping Josefien, she can be found sitting on the window sill or curled up in a warm spot for a long afternoon nap.