Creating a more inclusive early music community

IDEA Taskforce Members, January 2021

Early Music America began this important initiative in 2019. As in the mainstream classical music community, we are acutely aware, in our specialized field, of the lack of diversity. With this in mind, we are focusing our work on broadening outreach in order to create a more inclusive community. EMA’s approach will be sensitive to the interests and needs of individuals, organizations, and educational institutions as it works to expand and celebrate the contributions of diverse cultures in the history and performance of early music.

EMA needs the support of you – musicians and organizations – in this endeavor, as you are the visionaries who can influence the future and ultimately serve a greater spectrum of our constituents. Your voice is extremely important to our work and will help the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Taskforce, led by Patricia Ann Neely, assess how to move forward in its recommendations.

Please Contact EMA if you have suggestions, comments, or recommendations for our work in this area.


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IDEA Taskforce Members

Pat Neely

Pat Neely

Taskforce Chair

I’m an early-bowed string player and teacher who, for several decades, has specialized in the viola da gamba, violone, vielle, and baroque bass. I hold a BA in music from Vassar College and an MFA in Historical Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. I’ve played with many early music ensembles here and abroad, and I currently direct Abendmusik – New York’s early music string band, which presents a three-concert series in New York City.

Carmen Johnson-Pájaro

Carmen Johnson-Pájaro

EMA Development Associate & Taskforce Coordinator

I’m a violinist and arts administrator currently based in New York City, though originally from Birmingham, Alabama. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory, I’m now pursuing a degree in historical performance at The Juilliard School. I look forward to working with EMA’s IDEA Task Force to foster a diverse community of artists, scholars, and audiences alike!

Suzanne Bona

Suzanne Bona

Drawing on my training as a musician with a BM in Flute Performance from The University of Connecticut, I am a classical radio broadcaster. I am the host and executive producer of Sunday Baroque, a program I originated on WSHU Public Radio in my hometown of Fairfield, CT. Since 1998, Sunday Baroque has been nationally syndicated, with more than a quarter million weekly listeners on 230+ stations. I also continue to perform as a soloist and chamber musician.

Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen

A native of Taiwan, Joyce Chen is a professional harpsichordist based in Philadelphia while pursuing a PhD in Historical Musicology at Princeton University. Her academic research includes a variety of topics, including acoustics, musical instruments, aesthetics, and performance practice; she is currently preparing for an online opinion piece on Asian practitioners of early music for Early Music America. As an avid performer, Joyce has been featured as a soloist in the 2019 Early Music America Emerging Artist Showcase in Bloomington.

Karin Cuellar-Rendon

Karin Cuellar-Rendon

I am a Bolivian historical violinist and scholar interested in researching and presenting non-euro centered early music while recognizing the syncretism and connections with traditional music. I studied Historical Performance at Case Western Reserve University, Royal Academy of Music and currently pursue a PhD in Musicology at McGill University with a research focus on 19th c. performance practices in South America using as a case study the music of Peruvian composer Pedro Ximenez Abrill Tirado.

Gus Denhard

Gus Denhard

Gus has been the Executive Director of Early Music Seattle (Formerly Early Music Guild of Seattle)  since 2000 and is a graduate of the doctoral program in early music performance at Indiana University.  His performance interests include Trio Guadalevin and The Eurasia Consort – a reflection of his position that early music should include all of the world’s deep-rooted music traditions. 

Tony Elitcher

Tony Elitcher

I am the administrative director of the New York Continuo Collective, as well as a board member of the Pat O’Brien Library, and a member of the board of S’Cool Sounds.  A player of the theorbo, baroque guitar, dulcian, saxophones, and blues harp, my interest is in every music that swings in its own, appropriate way.  A former attorney for The Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Defense Division, I believe that we can all do better.

Pedro Funes-Whittington

Pedro Funes-Whittington

My primary instruments are the viola da gamba, baroque bass and vielle. Currently I am the Assistant Orchestra director at Woodcreek MS where I have a viola da gamba ensemble open to orchestra students including Summercreek HS. I am spreading the gospel of the viol to students of diverse backgrounds. 

Benjamín Juárez

Benjamín Juárez

Director of  the Center for Mexican Studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Boston, he teaches at Boston University, where he served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts. He has made over a dozen of historically informed recordings of Mexican Cathedral music from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Benjamín is also a corresponding member of Mexico’s Academy of History and advises several organizations on strategies for diversity and inclusion.  

Reggie Mobley

Reggie Mobley

I’m a countertenor and Southern transplant bringing the gift of music and hospitality to frigid New England. I’ve been singing as a professional soloist for the better part of this century. Not only Bach and other 17th c. cats, but also everything from Jazz to Barbershop. I’m also a director with the Handel and Haydn Society also serving as their first ever Programming Consultant. I also sling a mean Manhattan.

Maria Romero Ramos

Maria Romero Ramos

I’m a violinist from Valencia, Venezuela based in Nashville, TN. I started my musical training in the El Sistema music program, and I am a doctoral candidate at Indiana University. This is my fourth year teaching modern and historical violin and period strings at Vanderbilt University. I also play with the Nashville Opera and I am concertmaster of Music City Baroque.

Job Salazar Fonseca

Job Salazar Fonseca

I was a member of the Monterrey Symphony Orchestra (OSUANL) and Opera Nuevo Leon, and previously taught Violin at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL); I’ve performed in the Chamber Music Festival of Nuevo Leon, Festival Internacional de Música Mexicana, CONARTE, KBYU-Radio, Radio-Nuevo Leon. Currently, I perform with The Unitas Ensemble, Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Crescendo, American Baroque Orchestra, and The Oriana Consort. I am a Certified Music Practitioner in training. 

Jonathan Woody

Jonathan Woody

I’m Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone, originally from Prince George’s County, Md. Since 2010, I’ve been based in Brooklyn, NY, where I perform primarily early and new music on concert and chamber stages. I’ve taken my work on the road around the US and Canada, performing with leading historically-informed vocal and instrumental ensembles. I also work as a composer and draw inspiration from the intersection of early and contemporary musical languages.


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