Aliento Chamber Players

2009/2010 Season
2008/2009 Biographies
Current Biographies

Mary Towse-Beck
Mary Towse-Beck Pianist Mary Towse-Beck studied at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University where she obtained her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in piano performance. She studied under several renowned teachers in the United States, including Jerome Rose, Rebecca Penneys, Edward Auer and James Tocco, and Benjamin Kaplan and Norma Fisher in London. She has been a featured artist on NPR in the United States and on Australian national radio, and has performed extensively in the US, Europe and Australia as both soloist and collaborative artist. After spending nearly 20 years in England, she returned to the States in 2007 with her husband and three children. Now residing in New Hampshire, Mary continues to perform throughout the US, is a Director of Aliento Chamber Players, coaches chamber music and has a large teaching studio in her home.

Dorothy Braker
Dorothy Braker Dorothy Braker, cellist, founder and Director of Aliento Chamber Players, Inc., graduated from the Juilliard School with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music performance. Her studies were with Lois Core Yopp, Phil Blum, Karl Fruh, and Harvey Shapiro. Primarily a soloist and chamber musician, her numerous performances across the United States have included Lincoln Center and Paul Hall in New York City, The Bennington Museum in Vermont, and the Newberry Library in Chicago. She has performed in Orchestra, Carnegie, Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls. She has also performed extensive educational concerts across the United States, an activity she has continued here in New Hampshire.

Here in New Hampshire, in addition to chamber music and solo performances, she is principal cellist with the Connecticut River Valley Orchestra, and also coaches chamber music and has a private studio of students. She firmly believes in experiencing music as an integrative and joyful part of life, both in her East Kingston home with her family, and in performance.

Joanna Cyrus
Joanna Cyrus Joanna Cyrus, violinist and violist, graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a Bachelor’s degree in music education. She was the Director of Strings grades 3-12 for the Brewer Maine and Howland Maine school systems for many years. She has 26 years’ experience playing with professional orchestras in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Joanna is a Director of Aliento Chamber Players, Inc. and the conductor of the GBYO Youth Symphony in Stratham.

She also teaches private students in her studio, and enjoys playing string chamber music regularly every week. Joanna enjoys spending time with her husband Tony, and two sons Jonathan and Christopher.

Barbara Flocco
Barbara Flocco Barbara Flocco is Music Director at Bedford Presbyterian Church in New Hampshire. She has also served as Music Director at Hampton Falls Baptist Church, Piano Accompanist and Vocal Coach at Gordon College, and Organist at Phillips Exeter Academy. She has performed in Carnegie Hall and creates beautiful music at churches throughout New England as a pianist, organist, choir director, vocal coach, arranger, composer, and hand bell director. In addition to her busy piano studio, Barbara has appeared as a soloist at the Great Organ at Methuen MMMH and has recorded with Sirens' Song, and collaborated with numerous chamber groups including Sacred Choral Artists, and Trio con Brio.

Barbara holds a B.S. in Music (summa cum laude) from West Chester University. She also holds a Masters degree from UNH, and has continued her postgraduate studies with Victor Rosenbaum at Longy School of Music, Marion Metson at Boston University, and Robert Schick at the Curtis Institute.

Jill Fratianne
Barbara Flocco Violist Jill Fratianne currently lives in Hampton, NH. At the age of 17, she became the youngest violist to receive a fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival. Miss Fratianne was awarded a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Festival. Jill received her undergraduate and Master's degree from Northwestern University where she studied with Roland Vamos and was awarded the Civic Fellowship of Northwestern, a full tuition scholarship while performing as Principal Violisit of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony. Currently she performs regularly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and is the Principal of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. Her song, "For Hands, One Heart", written for violin and guitar was rated the "Most Requested Song At Guitar Center" and can be heard in Guitar Centers nation wide as well as downloaded on iTunes.

Christina Henson
Christina Henson 'A Multi-Faceted Talent'
Mezzo-soprano Christina Henson is currently working toward her MD at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey after having sung all over the world. At the insistence of Lily Pons, she auditioned for, and received, the highest scholarship available at Juilliard at age 12. While majoring in voice there, she also became an accomplished pianist and composer. Shortly after her acceptance to Juilliard, Ms. Henson made her Avery Fisher Hall debut, joined the roster of New York City Opera, and performed in many other venues, including American Landmark Festivals, Grieg and Wagner Society events, and festivals in Santa Margherita, Ligure, and Luino, Italy. In Europe, she studied with Gottfried Hornick at the Vienna State Opera and began her singing career there before returning home due to a thyroid situation that heralded her fascinating journey into medicine mid-career.

Ms. Henson currently coaches career singers who perform at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe, San Juan, and La Scala, and assists patients in recovering biomechanical function following surgery of the head and neck. As an artistic director, she has extensive experience in method acting, having spent 17 years off and on at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City. She has directed numerous projects for film and stage, such as Opera for Humanity's L'elisir d'amore and Lucia di Lammermoor in 2008 and a tribute to the STS-107 for the Explorers Club in New York. Ms. Henson takes her musical and dramatic inspiration from Laszlo Halasz, Joan Dorneman, Nello Santi, Lily Pons, Rita Saponaro Patané, Erma Sandrey, and the late Federico Davia of Covent Garden, among others. Her myriad awards and scholarships in both music and science include scholarships to both Juilliard and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, as well as being honored as a Galileo Scholar, NSF and NIH grant recipient, All State Musician (Texas), Coda Foundation award, Bob Evans Foundation Award for Excellence, and the Paramount Music's Director's Choice Award for her song "Talkin' to the Angels" in 2003. Ms. Henson recently composed the audio drama Voices Love Music to spread awareness of domestic violence. She is currently working on a screenplay while on a short sabbatical from school.

Angelynne Hinson
Angelynne Hinson leads a very active life as a vocal artist, performing opera, choral and song recitals, church music, and cabaret and revues throughout New England. Now in her tenth season with Cantata Singers of Boston, she has served as a soloist as well as a member in its main stage and chamber series. She has toured the Boston schools with the Cantata Singers outreach program, I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Songs of Terezin Concentration Camp. As a member of the critically acclaimed vocal duo Sirens' Song, she has appeared in numerous regional concert series, as well as in a recent recital series in London. Ms. Hinson is an avid scholar of the history of the American musical theater, writing and performing in revues featuring the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim. Currently a host of classical music programs on WSCA, Angelynne also has an interest in contemporary American classical song. Ms. Hinson holds a law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord and a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard University.

Louise Kandle
Louise Kandle, violinist, had her formative experiences in Sweden. She has a Master's Degree from the Malmö Conservatory in Sweden and also studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, Western Illinois University, and Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. Currently, Kandle has a thriving violin studio in Durham where she develops young students using the principles of the Suzuki Method, and performs in the New Hampshire Philharmonic.

Amy Lieberman
Amy Lieberman is in the Doctoral Program in Choral and Orchestral Conducting at Boston University. From 2004-2009, Ms. Lieberman was the Director of Choral Activities at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she conducted the NEC Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Women's Chorus, and taught choral conducting. She has been a guest conductor of the Tallahassee Symphony, Lexington Symphony and Cappella Clausura, and assistant conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Cantata Singers. Ms. Lieberman holds degrees in music from Stanford University and the Yale School of Music. She is also the artistic director of ArtsAhimsa, an international performance series dedicated to promoting non-violence through the arts. Her work with ArtsAhimsa has brought her to New Delhi and Calcutta, India to give conducting masterclasses and concerts.

Karen Luttik
Clarinetist Karen Luttik has recently relocated to New Hampshire after performing and teaching in the Netherlands for 20 years among others with Trio Aleotti and Musicaleren. Her studies were in Manhattan School of Music with Charles Russo, the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague and the Sweelink Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam, where she worked with George Pieterson. She has served as principle clarinet for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and has performed regularly in the New England area with the Boston Modern Orchestral Project, Musicaleren, Aliento Chamber Players and the Nashua Symphony Orchestra. Karen has a clarinet studio in Nashua and also teaches at the Nashua Community Music School, and at Nashua Christian Academy.

Melinda McMahon
Melinda McMahon, mezzo-soprano is an accomplished artist in opera, oratorio and operetta. She has a B.M.E. in choral studies with a minor in harp performance from the University of Kansas and a M.A. in music history with vocal performance emphasis from UNH. She has appeared as a soloist in Austria at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) and has performed throughout New England and the Midwest. She has appeared as a solo artist with a variety of groups here in New Hampshire.

A member of the critically-acclaimed Renaissance group, Capella Alamire, she has performed throughout the northeastern United States and Canada, including appearances at the Monadnock and Boston Early Music Festivals. She has recorded three CD’s on the Titanic and Dorian Discovery labels. In addition, Melinda is an accomplished harpist, appearing regularly with the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra and other chamber groups in New England.

Melinda has been teaching voice and harp for more than 25 years. While on the faculty at Berwick Academy, she worked privately with young aspiring voices and directed the upper school chorus. She has been on the faculty at Summer Youth Music School at UNH, directing a Gilbert & Sullivan revue. Currently, she teaches for the Humanities Program at the University of New Hampshire.

With Sirens' Song, she has appeared on numerous regional concert series and festival programs including a full-length recital at The Music Hall, Portsmouth, Concerts on the Hill, Mill Pond Center for the Arts, and Ogunquit Chamber Festival. Sirens' Song is dedicated to performing duets from a wide range of vocal literature - classical and modern opera to oratorio, contemporary and Romantic art songs to operetta, musical theatre and folk song.

Alexander Romanul
Violinist Alexander Romanul was born in Boston into a distinguished musical family of historic Romanian lineage. After making his debut at age 13 playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the New England Conservatory Orchestra under the direction of Gunther Schuller, he was invited by Arthur Fiedler to play as a soloist with the Boston Pops, soloed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall as winner of the Youth Concerts Concerto Competition, and performed as soloist with the National Symphony of Ecuador, where critics acclaimed him a poet of the violin. Subsequently Romanul was awarded fifth prize in the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poland and has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician in Europe and the Americas.

Romanul's honored professori include Ivan Galamian, Alfred Krips, Joseph Silverstein, and Josef Gingold. Philosophically inclined, autodidact and dedicated individualist, Romanul pursues a wide range of interests. He has a special affection and affinity for the mountains and small towns of rural Vermont.* Biography courtesy of Summer Music From Greensboro

Christine Stuart
Christine Stuart, violinist, began studying the violin with Louise Wear at the age of four.  She continued her studies with Dana Mazurkevich while attending the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts.  She has participated in chamber music festivals and camps across the US and toured Europe with Boston-based youth symphonies. 

She maintains a sizeable private studio out of her home in Kingston, NH where she resides with her husband and two children.

Sally Wituszynski
Sally earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Heidi Castleman and Marcus Thompson. She also has a Master's degree in Music Education from the University of New Hampshire. Sally has played with the Vermont Symphony, the Hanover Handel Society, the Granite State Symphony, and the New Hampshire Philharmonic. She currently teaches music at Berwick Academy, and is the Master Teacher affiliated with the String Project at UNH. Sally works with the Artful Noise string quartet, and is an active freelance performer throughout New England. She lives in Somersworth, NH, with her husband and two sons.

Diane Yeadon
Diane Yeadon received Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where she also taught in the extension division. She has performed in chamber music concerts in Boston and throughout New England. Diane is a founding member of the classical chamber orchestra, Symphony by the Sea, whose conductor conducts the Boston Ballet in which she performed. For 25 years Diane taught violin and viola in the Boston area privately and in the school systems of Needham and Lexington. She founded a string program in the Newburyport schools and was the first woman to teach at Phillips Exeter Academy in the music department. Her chamber group, the Arch Meadow string quartet, performed on the concert stage and on television.

Currently, she is concertmaster of the Bach Ensemble and the Naples Orchestra and Chorus. Diane performs with Opera Naples in which she plays both the violin and the viola and performs regularly with the Naples Music Club throughout the winter season.

"With the performance of pianist Mary Towse-Beck, the Aliento Chamber Players series at Christ Episcopal Church has become Exeter's answer to Carnegie Hall"

Lois Yopp
former faculty of music, Northwestern University

"Thanks so much for giving such an enjoyable performance. If Brahms had been in the audience, I’m sure he would have been pleased!"

Jackie Linder

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