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SARASA ENSEMBLE

Elizabeth BlumenstockChristina Day Martinson, violins
Jenny Stirling, viola
Timothy Merton, cello
Phoebe Carrai, cello

Elizabeth Blumenstock is a long-time concertmaster, soloist and leader with the San Francisco Bay Area’s Philharmonia Baroque and American Bach Soloists, concertmaster of the International Handel Festival Orchestra in Göttingen, Germany, and artistic director of the Baroque Music Festival Corona del Mar. Her love of chamber music has involved her in several accomplished smaller ensembles including the Galax Quartet, the Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, Voices of Music, the Ars Lyrica Houston Chamber Players, and Severall Friends. Blumenstock teaches on The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the American Bach Soloists Festival and Academy, the International Baroque Institute at Longy, and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. Blumenstock plays a 1660 Andrea Guarneri violin built in Cremona, Italy, on generous loan to her from the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust.

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Christina Day Martinson serves as concertmaster for Boston Baroque, and is associate concertmaster for the Handel and Haydn Society. She has served as concertmaster under conductors such as Roger Norrington, Richard Egarr, Bernard Labadie, Nicholas McGegan, Lawrence Cummings and Harry Christophers, among others. In 2008 Martinson recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Boston Baroque for Telarc, which received critical acclaim in Gramophone magazine. Martinson’s performance of Heinrich Biber’s Mystery Sonatas in 2013 was selected as one of The Boston Globe’s top ten performances that year and one of Jeremy Eichler’s top concerts. Recorded for Linn Records in March 2017, the release was chosen by the Chicago Tribune as one of the top albums of 2018, and was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award.

Born in the UK, Jenny Stirling trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Diverting for a few years to explore her love of culinary arts, she resumed her musical studies, acquiring degrees at the New England Conservatory, and the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook. Jenny played for many years with Craig Smith and Emmanuel Music, performing on their Bach cantata series, and for twelve years was principal violist of the New England String Ensemble. Currently a member of the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra, she also performs with the Sarasa Ensemble and other groups on both period and modern instruments. A passionate and dedicated teacher, Jenny tutors and coaches chamber music at the Concord Academy, the New England Conservatory preparatory school, and at her home studio.

Timothy Merton’s career as a cellist has spanned both sides of the Atlantic. His teachers have included Jean Goberman, Leif Rosanoff and Madeleine Foley. He studied at the Mannes College of Music in New York, and the Royal College of Music in London. From 1989 to 1996 he lived in England, where he performed with many groundbreaking early music ensembles and orchestras, including the English Baroque Soloists, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom he toured worldwide and recorded on the Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon and Philips labels. Fascinated by performing for diverse audiences, his travels have also taken him from Nanjing Radio, China, and the Dalit Peoples Organization, Bangalore, India, to positions with the Aarhus Symfoniorkester, Denmark, the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Spain, and the Glyndebourne Festival orchestra, UK. Merton plays a Viennese cello from 1750. He is the artistic director and founder of the Sarasa Ensemble.

Phoebe Carrai completed her postgraduate studies in Austria with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, after receiving her bachelor and master of music at the New England Conservatory. She became a member of Musica Antiqua Köln in 1982, making over 40 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon. Carrai’s teaching career in historical performance started at the Hilversum Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands and the Universität der Künste, Berlin. She is presently on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the Longy School of Music. Along with her solo and chamber music concerts, she directs the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and performs regularly with Philharmonia Baroque, the Arcadian Academy, Juilliard Baroque, the Boston Early Music Festival and the FestspielOrchester Göttingen. Carrai has released recordings of Bach and Friedrich August Kummer, and will release Out of Italy in 2019 on Avie Records. She has also recorded for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Aetme, Telarc and BMG. She plays on an Italian cello from c. 1690.

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