Aurora Baroque Ensemble
FORUM Christmas Concert, December 16
“A Rose E’er Blooming: Baroque Music for Christmas”
Aurora Baroque Ensemble
Baroque violinist Fiona Hughes holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music. A founding member of Three Notch’d Road: The Charlottesville Baroque Ensemble, she is a versatile performer of both modern and baroque violin, appearing with North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Washington Bach Consort, Boston Baroque, Duke Vespers Ensemble, the Richmond Symphony, and the Handel + Haydn Society. She has performed in numerous music festivals, including Kinhaven, Encore, Brevard Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Banff, Staunton Music Festival, and Japan’s Pacific Music Festival. She looks to Stephen Rose, Adam DeGraff, Marilyn McDonald, and Lucy van Dael as primary mentors. Fiona’s period bows are by David Hawthorne and her violin is the ex-Vieuxtemps Claude Pierray (1720 Paris).
A native of Washington, D.C., organist Todd Fickley began his studies at the Washington National Cathedral under Bruce Neswick. A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, he also holds a master’s degree from the University of Wales. For many years, Todd prepared choirs of all ages using the Royal School of Church Music system. He has performed across the United States, in Israel and in Europe, and has been featured on NPR and PRI radio programs. In 2014, Todd launched The Bach Project, a cycle of concert performances and recordings of the complete organ works of Bach—the first such undertaking in the Washington D.C. region in nearly a quarter century. Two volumes of this cycle are now available on MSR Classics. He holds Organist and Assistant Director positions with the National Cathedral Choral Society, the Choralis Foundation, The Falls Church Anglican, and the Washington Bach Consort.
William Simms is an active performer of early music. Equally adept on lute, theorbo and baroque guitar, he appears regularly with The Bach Sinfonia, Apollo’s Fire, The Washington Bach Consort, Ensemble Vermilian and The Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. He has performed numerous operas, cantatas, and oratorios with such ensembles as The Washington National Opera, The Cleveland Opera, Opera Lafayette, and American Opera Theatre. Venues include The National Cathedral, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Library of Congress, The Corcoran Gallery, The Kennedy Center and The Barns at Wolftrap. He has toured and recorded with The Baltimore Consort as well as with Apollo’s Fire. His recording with Ronn McFarlane, Two Lutes, was the CD pick of the week on WETA in Washington DC in 2012. Mr. Simms received a Bachelor of Music from The College of Wooster and a Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory. He serves on the faculties of Mount St. Mary’s University and Hood College, and is the founder and director of the Hood Early Music Ensemble. He has recorded for the Dorian, Centaur, Naxos and Eclectra labels.
Sian Ricketts (soprano, baroque oboe, recorders) enjoys a multi-faceted career as a singer and a period woodwinds specialist. As a soprano soloist, Ms. Ricketts has performed in C.P.E Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Arvo Pärt’s Passio, and Bach’s St. Mark Passion. In demand as a consort and ensemble singer, Sian currently sings with the choir of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York, and made her debut with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale this season. This spring she has engagements with Baroque Band (IL), Bach Collegium Fort Wayne (IN), Apollo’s Fire (OH), and the Yale Schola Cantorum. Sian holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in historical performance practice from Case Western with concentrations in voice and baroque oboe.
Ben-David Warner lives with one foot in the sacred music world and one in the folk music world. He is the assistant music director at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, VA where he directs 3 choirs. He is also a professional, touring folk musician and a former member of the D.C. based Irish/Gypsy/Americana/rock band Scythian. He is currently a singer, as well as the Assistant to the Conductor, in The University Singers at the University of Virginia. He has sung in the past with The Oratorio Society of Virginia, the Virginia Glee Club, and The St. Thomas Festival Choir. Originally from California, Ben-David has lived in 5 states as well as Canada, Nicaragua, and Austria, and now resides in Charlottesville, VA.