L’isoletta di cigni is an early music ensemble associated with Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester Chamber Soloists. Formed in late 2017 in The Hague, Netherlands, out of students of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, the ensemble seeks to revive the lush repertory of early to mid 18th century Baroque chamber cantatas with an obligato traverso and basso continuo. The ensemble is highly international and contains diverse backgrounds and nationalities, including members from Norway, Argentina, Canada, and Germany.
Baroque chamber cantatas, regularly heard in the private chambers of wealthy aristocrats, were penned by the greatest composers of the age, including George Frederic Handel, Johann Adolf Hasse, and Antonio Vivaldi. Essentially small-scale opera seria, they feature forms from the opera theatre, like declamatory recitatives and da capo arias. L’isoletta di cigni seeks to bring dramatic rhetoric alongside a commitment to historically-informed performance practice.
10 – 12 May 2018 – L’isoletta di cigni at the Göttingen Händel Competition, Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Göttingen (DE)
17 December 2017 [16:00] – “Weihnachten Akademiekonzerte with the Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester Chamber Soloists”, Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester, The Hague (NL)
May Kristin Svanholm Hegvold – soprano
May Kristin Svanholm Hegvold is a young soprano from Trondheim, Norway. She finished her bachelor’s degree in 2016 at the Conservatoire in Trondheim (NTNU) with professor Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe. She is now studying for a master’s degree in the early music department at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag, with Rita Dams.
May Kristin has participated as a soloist in many productions, including the premieres of two newly written operas by Norwegian composers, Pappapermisjon (Paternity leave) by Bertil Palmar Johansen and Kommentarfeltet (The commentary field) by Trygve Brøske. She has also, among other things, been the soprano soloist in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and sang the roles of Dido, 2nd Woman and 1st Witch in the opera Dido and Aeneas. Some of her latest projects involves singing Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and the role of Piacere in Händels opera Il trionfo del Tempo.
Florencia Gómez – traverso
Florencia Gómez started her musical studies as a child in Salta, Argentina. She later settled in Buenos Aires, where she was appointed to play with the Orquesta de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. During that period Florencia was a private student of the soloist of the Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón, Jorge de la Vega. Through her experience playing oratorio, opera, and orchestral repertoire she became deeply passionate about early music and the use of period replicas for performance. In 2006 she enrolled in the recently created diploma on Early Music, in the Conservatorio Superior de Música de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Manuel de Falla. She was the first student to graduate in 2011.
She has been living in The Hague NL since 2012, where she earned her Bachelor and Master Diplomas on the Baroque Flute (2015 and 2017), at the Royal Conservatoire under the guidance of Wilbert Hazelzet and Kate Clark. Her research The Characters of the Flute received an ‘excellent’ mark and has been published by the Research Catalogue, an international database for artistic research.
She has performed in masterclasses by Anne Freitag, Frank Theuns, Donna Agrell, Diana Baroni, Manfredo Kraemer, Rita Dams, Peter Kooij, Jill Feldman, Mieneke van der Velden, Kati Debrezeni, Christophe Rousset, Jacques Ogg, Frank de Bruine, Michael Schmidt-Casdorff. Recently, Florencia performed conducted by Ton Koopman, as first flute the B minor Mass by J. S. Bach at the Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center of New York, and in the Grote Kerk Den Haag (Ultimate Bach-Hohe Messe NL-US tour). She is active as a freelance chamber and orchestral player, having collaborated with ensembles such as the world-renowned Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Dutch Baroque. She has performed in Europe and America in the International Chamber Music Festival of The Hague, the Early Music Festival of Boston (US), Maastricht Musica Sacra Festival, and others. She now teaches the baroque flute at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, in the Young Talent Department.
Verena Spies – baroque cello
Inspired by her passion for music – reaching from early music to contemporary music – Verena Spies performs on both modern and Baroque cello. Music has already taken her to many different countries – always together with the cello, her faithful companion. Her repertoire includes a wide range of solos, chamber music and orchestral literature. Born in Hannover (Germany), Verena started to take cello lessons at the age of four with Yasuko Ogata at the Music School Hemmingen. Already at a young age she participated in several masterclasses both inland and abroad, e. g. with Klaus Storck, Ulf Tischbirek, Antonio Meneses, Laszlo Fenyö, Gerhart Darmstadt and Guido Larisch, and performed as a soloist with the Ärzteorchester Hannover conducted by Lorenz Nordmeyer, as well as the Japanese Youth Orchestra Nishinomiya under the artistic direction of Yoko Kitaura. As multiple prize winner of the competition „Jugend musiziert“, Verena was scholarship holder of the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung and awardee of the Bürgerstiftung Hemmingen. From September 2013 she studied the cello with Antonio Meneses at the University of the Arts Bern, and finished her studies in May 2016 with the degree Bachelor of Arts – Classical Music.
During her Bachelor studies, she came into contact with the Baroque cello and historical performance, inspired by chamber music projects with Michael Form and by the orchestra side-by-side project of the University of Arts Bern in 2015, in which she participated in the concert “Die Tageszeiten” of the Baroque Orchestra Bern for Early Music “Les Passions de l’Ame”, conducted by Meret Lüthi. In 2016 she was participant of the Ensemble Academy Freiburg of the Freiburger Barockorchester and the ensemble recherche. In 2017 she participated at the 32nd International Handel Academy in Karlsruhe. During the summer she played at the La Petite Bande Summer Academy in Italy, directed by Sigiswald Kuijken and Marie Kuijken. Moreover, she played with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, conducted by Kenneth Montgomery, and with the world’s oldest Baroque ensemble “Nederlandse Bachvereniging”, conducted by Jos van Veldhoven. Verena is co-founder of the Baroque Cello Trio “corde profonde”.
Since the autumn of 2016, Verena has studied modern and Baroque cello with Lucia Swarts in the Masters program at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She is a Young Bach Fellow of the Nederlandse Bachvereniging.
Anders Muskens – harpsichord
Anders Muskens began modern piano studies at the age of 4 in Edmonton, Canada. He completed his Associateship in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto at the age of 15 under the tutelage of Dr. Irina Konovalov. He received numerous awards and scholarships from the Edmonton Kiwanis Festival in Edmonton CA, the Provost Music Festival Plaque at the Alberta Music Festival in Calgary CA, the Winspear Fund Scholarship for Advanced Classical Music Study, the Ranald and Vera Shean Memorial Award, and competed at the Canadian Music Competition National Final in Quebec CA.
He is currently studying historical performance on fortepiano and harpsichord at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague under Dr. Bart van Oort (fortepiano), Petra Somlai (fortepiano), and Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord). Anders has received masterclasses from Peter Van Heyghen, Jill Feldman, Siebe Henstra, Rachel Beesley, Eric Hoeprich, Walter Reiter, Raquel Andueza, and Michael Tsalka. Anders regularly performs as a soloist, an accompanist, a basso continuo player, and conductor. Anders plays on a variety of historical grand pianos, harpsichords, square pianos (tafelklaviers), clavichords, and spinets from different epochs and regions of Europe.
Anders co-founded Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in late 2016 with fellow harpsichordist Beniamino Paganini. He also worked with Ensemble La Favorita as one of the founding members in early 2017, and competed in the H.I.F. Biber competition in Linz AT, and played concerts in the Musica Antica Festival Bruges, the Laus Polyphoniae festival in Antwerp as part of the International Young Artist’s Presentation 2017, the Utrecht Early Music Festival, and the Mini Mozart Festival in TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht NL.
Aside from these activities, Anders is a period composer and improviser, specializing in mid to late 18th century styles. He has written vocal, orchestral, and chamber works for a variety of settings. He completed several reconstructions of Mozart orchestral and chamber music fragments.
Anders also founded and sits as president of Alberta Mozart Society, a non-profit organization headquartered in Edmonton, Canada with the goal of promoting interest and study in western music of the 18th and early 19th centuries.He also experiments with historical oboes and instrument design, and holds a degree in electrical engineering.