Summer 2019 News

This year has been a busy one for both Guts and our sister ensemble, L’Esprit Baroque. As we prepare for two upcoming concerts in Maine, we cast an eye back over all that’s come before:

Sylvia, our violinist, has just returned from an intensive week at the Amherst Early Music Festival, full of new ideas and inspired by friends and colleagues both new and old. The warmth and community of that festival, as well as the transformative experiences working with festival faculty, drew her back eagerly for a second year! The performance highlight of this year was #anch’io (me too), a pastiche of Ariadne’s story from operas spanning 200+ years from Monteverdi to Haydn, created and directed by Drew Minter and Gary Thor Wedow. Sylvia also enjoyed co-leading the Baroque Academy String Orchestra in a Corelli concerto grosso with Corinne Auger. She found it both humbling to switch back into student mode after an intense year of teaching, conducting, and performing, and greatly rewarding to take in all the new ideas and have time away in extraordinary surroundings to grow and think as a violinist and orchestra member. And to explore new frontiers with Gabriela’s treble viol at the Exhibition…

Meanwhile, John guided a cohort of his cello students through the home stretch of the Southwestern Youth Music Festival competition, where they took home several prizes. He has also been reconnecting with a major research project on the history of cello pedagogy… more on that in the future!

Earlier this summer, Guts enjoyed a wonderful debut Groupmuse concert in a historic neighborhood of Los Angeles, serenading an enthusiastic group in a beautiful garden. Groupmuse is an organization that connects hosts and musicians to help them create intimate, friendly house concerts in the same manner that artists like Clara and Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert (and others!) did before the 20th century. Their goal is to bring people together through the power of live music right in front of you, shared with new and old friends.

Groupmuse brings us together to nourish and harmonize our inner lives and our social, “outer” lives. By deepening our interior worlds with timeless, contemplative music and enriching our social lives with inclusive, joyous community, Groupmuse seeks a greater wholeness in your neighborhood and around the world.


Take a look at their website for more on their mission and how the events work… and how to host your own! Photos below from our superb host, Toby Horn:

Earlier in June, John and Sylvia toured with L’Esprit Baroque to the illustrious Boston Early Music Festival, the biennial national and international hub of the historically-informed performance practice movement. L’Esprit presented our own Fringe Concert in conjunction with the Festival, a program of delightful Italian music for voices and instruments. John was invited to play in a continuo masterclass with Phoebe Carrai and Erin Headley, joined by Sylvia and L’Esprit’s keyboardist, Janice Massatt. We reconnected with teachers and colleagues, explored the vast Exhibition of instrument makers, published music, and others, and took in a great wealth of concerts by international leading artists, including the Festival’s sumptuous centerpiece opera. It was a whirlwind of a week to be sure, but an exciting and nourishing one. We look forward to 2021, and in the meantime to the charms and opportunities of the smaller Berkeley Exhibition and Festival in June 2020!

We were also very involved in the release of L’Esprit Baroque’s first album, which is now available on disc and as a digital download. We have been happy to see it received positively by the community of people who attend our concerts, and have certainly learned a lot throughout the process! We were fortunate to have the guidance of Kallan Nishimoto of Flytrap Studio in Oakland as our recording engineer extraordinaire. Sylvia was very busy in the spring preparing the album design and dealing with the mechanics of printing and distributing a self-published CD.

Guts is inspired by the project to work on our own series of albums, starting with our current concert programs and working our way through the many ideas we have waiting in the wings. Check back here for more on that soon!

Happy Summer,


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