Portland, OR | Portland Baroque Orchestra is pleased to introduce its four artistic advisors for the 2021-22 Season: Aisslinn Nosky, Byron Schenkman, Gary Thor Wedow, and Jonathan Woody. The appointment of these advisors follows the June 2021 retirement of longtime PBO Artistic Director Monica Huggett.
Based across the country, from Seattle to New York, each advisor will work with PBO’s orchestra and staff for a large digital production as well as livestreamed performances based on their distinct musical credentials and varied perspectives.
“These advisors each have a relationship with PBO,” said Bette Worcester, Chair of PBO Board of Directors, “we are incredibly fortunate to have these four extraordinary musicians guiding our artistic strategy in the coming season.”
Advisor Jonathan Woody, a bass-baritone vocalist says, “I’m eager to help build a diverse and exciting season of programming with PBO and my fellow artistic advisors. I couldn’t be happier to be among such a tremendous roster of artists, and I hope and believe that audiences will be thrilled by the work we get to create together this season.” Advisor and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman echoed the sentiment, “I am especially excited to be part of a wonderful team of inspiring leaders in our field, each coming from a different background and bringing their own unique perspective. At its best music is all about collaboration, community, and connection – PBO does this well and I am very grateful to have a part in it!”
PBO will resume the Artistic Director succession plan as soon as it is safe to convene the orchestra and audience, likely in the 2022-23 Season. This multi-year Artistic Director transition will allow PBO to safely and strategically work with its patrons, musicians, Board, staff, and donors to choose the best candidate for the position.
Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is Concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society, Guest Artist in Residence with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the Eybler String Quartet. She spends much of her time working with orchestras and is on faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She is excited to work with PBO’s highly skilled musicians and find new ways to make connections with audiences!
Harpsichordist Byron Schenkman describes themself as Queer, Jewish, and a musician. Their work usually revolves around chamber music from the 17th-19th centuries, often with specific themes. Byron is excited to bring more diversity to PBO’s programming including more works by women and Black composers.
Gary Thor Wedow
Conductor and keyboardist Gary Thor Wedow is a faculty member at Julliard and freelance conductor after many years with The Handel and Haydn Society, New York City Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Santa Fe Opera. Gary loves introducing young artists and fans to the joys of early music and believes understanding early music sets up a love for all music. He first worked with PBO during a production of Rinaldo with Portland Opera and has conducted Messiah. Gary is thrilled that serving as one of PBO’s artistic advisors will give him an opportunity to connect with amazing musician and explore new possibilities.
Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody is a member of the Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street, a composer, and regularly works with orchestras and ensembles all over the country. His specialties are European music from the 1500-1800s (with a love of 17th century music especially) as well as performing and composing new music inspired by early music. He is excited to push the envelope of what audiences might expect from a Baroque orchestra and help redefine what Classical music leadership looks like.
Founded in 1984, Portland Baroque Orchestra is the third largest period performance orchestra in the United States. PBO specializes in works of the Baroque and Classical eras, but also explore the musical world outside of those time constraints, performing with period instruments or replicas of instruments that were available when the music was composed. This means that our performances feature familiar instruments that may look or sound a little different (for example, violins with gut strings or flutes made of wood or bone) as well as instruments that are no longer part of the modern orchestra (like the theorbo). The orchestra thrives on spontaneity, playfulness, and extraordinary artistry. PBO seeks to recreate the live music experiences of history by presenting the highest level of music performance. In June, 2021, PBO will embark upon a multi-year Artistic Director transition, following the retirement of its longtime director, Monica Huggett.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, PBO launched Great Arts. Period., a digital concert hall, livestreaming studio, and film production department dedicated to the performing arts. In the post-COVID world, PBO is committed to continuing its work both in the concert hall and on the internet providing access to Great Music. Period.