/// BIOGRAPHIES

The soprano Rebecca Ockenden has amassed two decades of stage experience. A skilled linguist and actress, her approach to performing is via the text and its theatrical and emotional expression.

Her formative years as a singer were spent in Paris. After training at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles she was soon performing as a soloist with renowned early music specialists, the cornerstone of her work being a series of productions with the inspiring conductor William Christie, thanks to whom she had the chance to work with stage directors such as Adrian Noble, former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her career was primarily baroque-orientated but also from the start included Mozartian roles such as Pamina, Zerlina and Barbarina. She has performed on prestigious stages throughout Europe and the U.S., from the Paris Opéra Garnier to the Lincoln Center in New York.

In recent years since living in Basel, her voice has developed to encompass the romantic repertoire, though in parallel she has also explored the extremes of the classical music repertoire, performing lutesongs in numerous concerts with lutenists Sofie Vanden Eynde and Orí Harmelin and participating in contemporary music and improvisational productions.

www.rebeccaockenden.com

Ludovic Van Hellemont was born in Belgium and studied piano at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels with Jan Michiels and at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel with Claudio Martinez Mehner. A cornerstone of his musical development was his discovery of the performance practice on historic instruments, which led him to study the fortepiano at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Edoardo Torbianelli. At the same time he started to improvise and compose. He has participated in masterclasses with renowned artists such as Andras Schiff, Ferenc Rados, Menahem Pressler, Alexei Lubimov, Andreas Staier and Kristian Bezuidenhout.

​Already in his teens Ludovic Van Hellemont committed himself to contemporary music. During his studies, his performances of Ligeti’s Etudes and Piano Concerto as well as the complete ‘Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano’ by John Cage were much acclaimed. He is a co-founder of the Odysseia Ensemble and regularly plays with Spectra Ensemble, Ensemble Phoenix and Sinfonietta Basel.

As a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist for singers, he has played concerts in many European countries and in Australia and often programmes his own compositions.

www.ludovicvanhellemont.com

Kendra Walsh completed her dance education at North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of American Ballet in New York.

Dance engagements have included Miami Ballet, Dance Brigade in San Francisco, Yolanda Meier Dance Theater and Cathy Sharp Dance Ensemble in Basel, as well as YNO Tanztheater in Zurich. She has choreographed many solos and duos and also done group choreographies, both for the Cathy Sharp Dance Ensemble and as part of her own initiatives. She has already worked together several times with 

Ann Allen studied musicology at Manchester University before going on to specialise in early music woodwinds at the Royal Academy of Music, London and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Basel. She is currently doing a masters in medieval performance practice at the Sorbonne University while performing as a musician through out Europe with her own groups ‘Mediva’ and ‘Il Bacio’ and working as a freelance musician with other internationally renowned groups. In addition to this she has always had a theatrical flair and has been stage directing operas for over twenty years. Recent performances include a Jazz/Baroque fusion of Dido and Aeneas in Basel, Handel’s Acis and Galatea for the Braunwald Festival and Dragon of Wantley by J. F. Lampe for the London Handel Festival. 

She ran a concert series entitled ‘Illuminations’ at the Burghof in Lörrach for three years. She also established her own festival ‘Nox Illuminata’ to explore new ways of presenting classical music, which was resident in Basel for seven years before being invited to be a yearly feature at the Festspielhaus in St Polten. 

www.annannlellen.info

Francis  Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music. Among the best-known are the piano suite Trois mouvements perpétuels (1919), the ballet Les biches (1923), the Concert champêtre (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra, the Organ Concerto (1938), the opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1957), and the Gloria (1959) for soprano, choir and orchestra.

Poulenc's wealthy parents intended him for a business career in Poulenc Frères, their family pharmaceutical company, and did not allow him to enrol at a music college. Largely self-educated musically, he studied with the pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became his mentor after the composer's parents died. Poulenc soon came under the influence of Erik Satie, under whose tutelage he became one of a group of young composers known collectively as Les Six. In his early works Poulenc became known for his high spirits and irreverence. During the 1930s a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards, which he alternated with his more light-hearted works.

In addition to composing, Poulenc was an accomplished pianist. He was particularly celebrated for his performing partnerships with the baritone Pierre Bernac (who also advised him in vocal writing) and the soprano Denise Duval, touring in Europe and America with each, and making many recordings. He was among the first composers to see the importance of the gramophone, and he recorded extensively from 1928 onwards.

In his later years, and for decades after his death, Poulenc had a reputation, particularly in his native country, as a humorous, lightweight composer, and his religious music was often overlooked. During the 21st century more attention has been given to his serious works, with many new productions of Dialogues des Carmélites and La voix humaine worldwide, and numerous live and recorded performances of his songs and choral music.

Michael Jarrell (born 8 October 1958) is a Swiss composer. Born in Geneva, he studied at the Conservatoire there, and later with Klaus Huber in Freiburg.

His works span many genres. In 1982, he won first prizes for composition and went on to win many more, including the Acanthes Prize in 1983, the Beethovenpreis awarded by Bonn in 1986, the Marescotti Prize (1986), both the Gaudeamus International Composers Award and the Henriette Renié prizes in 1988, and the Siemens-Förderpreis (1990). From 1986 to 1988, he was resident at the Cité des Arts in Paris, taking part in the computer music course at IRCAM. His next residency was at the Villa Médici (1988–89), home of the French Academy in Rome, followed by membership of the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in 1989-90, after which he became composer-in-residence at the Orchestre de Lyon (October 1991-June 1993). In 1993, Michael Jarrell was appointed professor of composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

In 1996, he became composer-in-residence at Lucerne Festival, while the 2000 Musica Nova Helsinki festival was dedicated to him. In 2001, the Salzburg Festival commissioned a piano concerto entitled Abschied. In the same year Michael Jarrell was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2004, he is named professor of composition at the higher Academy of Geneva.

He is regarded throughout Europe as one of the most important Swiss composers of his generation. He opened his first opera in the United States at Carnegie Hall in New York in March 2006. His "spoken opera" Cassandre, which is based on Christa Wolf's novel Cassandra, was performed at Ojai Festival, CA, June 2008. It was composed in 1994.

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