Cecilia's Circle has been committed since its inception in 1991 to bringing new life to the long-buried brilliance of many women composers, and to finding meaningful, elevating ways of integrating their works into today's concert repertoire. Beyond this pursuit, Cecilia's Circle (named for the Patron Saint of Music who is celebrated especially in the exultant odes of Henry Purcell and G.F. Handel) has turned its attention frequently to the dramatic depiction of female figures found in works of renowned male composers of the Baroque era. Indeed, many of these probing portraits offer us as bold an insight into, and as vivid an image of women throughout the centuries as if the women portrayed had composed their own musical renderings. In this sense, the circle is one of inclusion, one of exploring and celebrating the roles of women across the musical languages of earlier eras.
Recent college and community residency projects by members of Cecilia's Circle have revolved around recreating the contexts in which women have made and received music: salon, parlor, convent, ballroom, and singing school. Capturing the flavor of these settings through programming, costume, staging, and recitation has brought a dimension to the ensemble's considerable sympathy for their repertoire and commitment to its widespread delivery.
Janet Youngdahl, soprano, appears frequently as a soloist and in chamber music concerts, oratorio and opera across North America. She is a member of Sequentia, the medieval women's ensemble based in Cologne, Germany and has toured with them in the United States, Europe and Australia. In addition, Ms. Youngdahl appears on seven recordings with Sequentia on the Deutsh Harmonia Mundi Label. Ms. Youngdahl holds degrees from the College of Wooster and the University of Michigan, and is a doctoral candidate at Case Western Reserve. She has appeared with the Newberry Consort, Paul Hillier, Christopher Hogwood, and with Julianne Baird. She has taught voice and music history at State University of New York and at Case Western Reserve University. She has lived in Alberta for more than a decade, serving on the musicology and voice faculty of the University of Calgary and directing the Calgary Bach Choir. She is now on the music faculty at the University of Lethbridge..
Vivian Montgomery, harpsichordist, holds prizes from numerous international early keyboard competitions and was the recipient of a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She earned her Master of Music in Early Keyboards from the University of Michigan, and completed the DMA in Early Music from Case Western Reserve University in 2007. Her performing life has, for nearly two decades, encompassed collaboration as half of the dynamic recorder and harpsichord ensemble, Galhano/Montgomery Duo; work with her ensemble, Cecilia’s Circle; and concerto solos and solo recitals at many venues. As a conductor, Vivian has served as Music Director for the Minneapolis-based baroque opera company Ex Machina and as director of the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Institute of Music Baroque Orchestra. Since 2003, she has been on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, teaching harpsichord and historical performance practice. She also served as a visiting faculty member at Dickinson College in 2004-5, directing the Collegium as well as teaching music history and Women's Studies. In the current year, Vivian is a Visiting Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, preparing her monograph, "Brilliant Variations on Sentimental Songs", and an accompanying CD, for publication under a fellowship from the American Association of University Women.
Julie Andrijeski, baroque violin, serves on the historical performance faculties of both Peabody Conservatory and Case Western Reserve University faculty, where she has directed the baroque orchestra and taught baroque dance. She has also taught baroque violin at the Oberlin Conservatory. In addition to holding principal positions with many ensembles and orchestras in the Northeast, she frequently combines her skills as violinist, choreographer, and/or dancer for opera projects and music/dance workshops. Ms. Andrijeski holds and M.M. from Northwestern University and a B.M. from the University of Denver, and a DMA in historical performance from CWRU. A native of Boise, Idaho, Ms. Andrijeski now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She records with Chatham Baroque on Dorian Recordings.
Ann Marie Morgan, viola da gamba & cello, is one of the leading viola da gamba performers in the United States and is a frequent soloist with orchestras and choral societies. She performs regularly as soloist in Bach's St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, in recent seasons under the direction of Helmuth Rilling with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and as guest at the Oregon Bach Festival. This season she will be featured at the Boulder Bach Festival and will travel to the Prague Festival to perform with the ensemble La Tempesta di Mare. Her discography includes the viola da gamba aria on the newly released Eclectra CD of Bach's St. John Passion by Apollo's Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and acclaimed solos on the popular Dorian CD "Chris Norman: The Man with the Wooden Flute". Ms. Morgan is on the Early Music Faculties of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Ms. Morgan is also active as a Baroque cellist with a wide variety of early music ensembles including Olde Friends.