About

Guts creates welcoming, powerful, un-stuffy experiences of baroque music played on period instruments, bringing you up close and personal with the music and the juicy stories of the composers and performers behind it. We breathe life into beautiful and unusual music that we love, bringing it from the 17th and 18th centuries to your ears. Come experience the warmth and immediacy of historically-informed chamber music!

Born of a chance meeting in a graduate program ensemble, Guts Baroque blossomed in 2019 and became the primary performance project of Sylvia Schwartz, baroque violinist, and John Ott, viola da gambist, baroque cellist, and scholar. With the good fortune of locking down together in March 2020, Guts was one of the first American early music ensembles to launch a livestream concert series. They have continued livestreaming most months since, building a loyal community of patrons and amassing a sizable repertoire that they look forward to releasing as albums and performing in person.

With the return to live performance in 2021, Guts was featured together and individually in the Portland Bach Experience, an award-winning festival in Portland, ME directed by Maine Artist of the Year, Dr. Emily Isaacson. Guts appeared in several chamber concerts, and served as principal cellist and concertmaster in the festival orchestra. They look forward to returning to Portland Bach Experience 2022.

Benefiting from Artistic Director John Ott’s resesarch and meticulous preparation of performing editions from original editions and manuscripts, Guts builds engaging, thematic programs digging into a particular moment in history or a literary inspiration. Ott brings the audience close to the music with his approachable storytelling from the stage, shining light on the personalities as well as the music itself. The pair’s performances bring all the vibrance of a deep belief in the power of music to heal and nourish those who listen and play, a shared understanding of baroque dance and gesture, and a singular “togetherness” that their audiences often remark upon.

Both members maintain active teaching studios, including aspects of historical performance practice seamlessly in their teaching and sharing their love of baroque music performance in public school workshops. 

Guts has performed in churches and breweries, from Southern California to Maine, in Groupmuses and their own livestream series, and opened the 2021 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Festival with their performance of “Rising from the Ashes of Plague: Music for Violin & Basso from 17th-Century Italy”. Currently based in Portland, Maine, Guts is eager to bring the full, in-person experience of their music back to people across New England and beyond, and to continue growing their online musicmaking that has allowed them to bring people together from around the world.

Their Spring 2022 livestream series, Fourth Sundays with Guts,  continues with “Fantasticus!” in March, “Italian Virtuosi, Part II” in April, and “The Classical Era” in May.


Cellist and gambist John Ott, a native of Los Angeles, received his Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from UC Irvine in 2004, studying with Dr. Margaret Parkins, and in 2016 completed his Master of Music degree in Early Music, viola da gamba at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he studied with Jane Hershey. In between, he performed with Symphony Irvine, Dana Point Symphony, Montage Civic Orchestra, and South Orange County Chamber Orchestra, played in the string quartet Elegie Quartet, and played chamber music all over Los Angeles and Orange County. He also maintains a large teaching studio, primarily at Vienna Music Institute in Irvine and Palaver Music Center in Portland, ME. During his two years in Massachusetts, aside from his Longy ensembles, he performed with Boston Camerata and Boston Opera Collaborative. He also co-music directs and performs with the period ensemble L’Esprit Baroque, founded in 2013. More…


Fascinated and deeply inspired by the relationship between music, movement, and dance, violinist and Dalcrozian-in-training Sylvia Schwartz is a passionate chamber musician in both modern and historical performance practices. A native of Boston, Sylvia has performed with Guts Baroque, L’Esprit Baroque, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Los Angeles Baroque, Eudaimonia, Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Harvard Early Music Society, New Bedford Symphony, New England Classical Singers, Lizzie and the Flakjackets, and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras throughout California and New England, in Ontario, Estonia, Latvia, and at Shostakovich Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia. Sylvia holds a M.M. in Violin Performance from the Longy School of Music, where she studied violin with Laura Bossert and early music with Dana Maiben, Na’ama Lion, Vivian Montgomery, and Ryan Turner. She also holds a B.S. in Engineering from Olin College. Sylvia teaches privately and at Palaver Music Center, Stone Coast Music, and Powers Music School and has substitute taught for Irvine Unified School District, including four months as Orchestra Director at Grammy-winning Woodbridge High School. More…