Emily Nelson, soprano (founding member)
Emily Nelson holds degrees in voice, music history, and early music performance from Indiana University and the University of Utah and is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in vocal performance. Her enjoyment of a wide variety of musical styles has led her down diverse musical paths, from the ars subtilior to Milton Babbitt, Appalachian ballads, jazz, and the second Viennese school. In 2009, she co-founded Utopia Early Music, which has so far enjoyed four diverse concert seasons and increasing popular success. Emily advanced to regional auditions for the 2012 National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award and last summer appeared as Blonde in a production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Oper im Park, St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria. Last winter, Emily was hailed as "stunning" for her performance as the Queen of the Night in Utah Lyric Opera Ensemble's production of Die Zauberflöte.
choral works by Tarik O'Regan, nominated in 2009 for two Grammy awards: “Best Classical Album” and “Best Choral Performance.”
Lisa Chaufty, recorder
Lisa began her musical studies as a flutist in Rhode Island and discovered early music and the recorder while an undergraduate at Wellesley College. After graduating with a degree in music and medieval/renaissance studies, Lisa studied musicology at the University of California, Berkeley. Praised for her "remarkably vibrant" playing, Lisa has performed as a soloist and with groups such as the University of Utah Singers, the Choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, as well as with Utopia Early Music. Lisa has played for masterclasses with the Dutch recordists Marion Verbruggen, and Saskia Coolen, with whom she currently studies. By day Lisa manages the university's digital repository, USpace, at the Marriott Library.
Leslie Henrie, violin
Josh Lee, viola da gamba
Josh Lee performs on viols, double bass and cello with some of the world’s leaders in early music. Founder of acclaimed trio Ostraka, Josh is a member of Les Délices, Musica Pacifica and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and he has performed with the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Carmel Bach Festival, Wiener Akademie and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a “master of the score’s wandering and acrobatic itinerary,” Josh’s performances have been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and Harmonia. A dedicated educator, Josh has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the San Francisco Conservatory, as well as workshops across the nation.
Valerie Hart Nelson, contralto
Valerie Hart Nelson enjoys performing a wide variety of operatic, musical theater, and concert work. This past season, Valerie performed the role of Berta from Il barbiere di Siviglia, Madame Armfeldt from A Little Night Music and performed the alto solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with The Castleton Festival, under the direction of Maestro Lorin Maazel. In Castleton’s 2011 season, Valerie performed the role of La tasse chinoise, from L’enfant et les sortileges and covered Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Frugola in Il Tabarro. Along with performing with The Castleton Festival, Valerie recently performed Mozart’s Requiem Mass under the direction of Dr. Reed Criddle, and the Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Lyceum Philharmonic under the direction of Kayson Brown. Other favorites that Valerie has performed include Second Lady in The mini magic Flute with Utah Opera, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor with Central City Opera, Quickly in Falstaff, Katisha in The Mikado, Dihah in Trouble in Tahiti, Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. Valerie also enjoyed performing two seasons with Ohio Light Opera, where she performed such roles as Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Ida in Die Fledermaus, The Dutchess in The Gondoliers, and the Nanny in Robert Ward’s A Friend of Napoleon.
This December, Valerie will perform the alto
solo in In the Beginning from Aaron Copland with the UVU Chamber Choir
under the direction of Dr. Reed Criddle, selections of Handel’s Messiah
with Utah Lyric Opera, and perform with the Utopia Baroque Ensemble. In the spring, Valerie will perform the
alto solo of Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Salt Lake Choral Artists
under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred.
Tyler Nelson, tenor
Tyler Nelson is one of America’s most promising young tenors. Already enjoying success in a wide variety of concert repertoire, his recent engagements have included Carmina Burana with Utah Valley University, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Saginaw Bay Symphony, the Mozart Requiem with Utah Chamber Artists. Recent seasons have included operatic debuts with Chicago Opera Theater, in the role of Delfa for their production of Giasone, NCPA in Beijing China, in the role of Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Tyler currently serves as the director of Vocal Studies at Utah Valley University.
Jonathan Rhodes Lee, organ
Jonathan Rhodes Lee regularly performs as soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras in the United States and abroad. He is also a founding member of the baroque ensemble Les Grâces (www.lesgraces.com), which has recently released its first full-length CD on the MSR label. Jonathan holds degrees from Colgate University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and UC Berkeley, and was a Fulbright scholar at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He currently holds the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann fellowship at UC Berkeley, where he is writing a Ph.D. on Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century sentimentalism. When he is not onstage performing, Jonathan is generally there tuning and maintaining harpsichords, organs, and fortepianos.
Christopher Wootton, organ
Christopher Wootton began his organ studies with Douglas Bush in Provo, and received his Master's in Church Music with emphasis in organ from the University of Kansas, where he studied with James Higdon and Michael Bauer. His studies included a year abroad in Mainz, Germany, where he studied organ with Susanne Rohn and improvisation with Alfred Müller-Kranich. He has served as church organist in various parishes in Salt Lake City, Kansas, Missouri and Germany, and is presently assistant organist at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.