Martha Bishop

Martha Bishop, viola da gamba and composer, will be teaching a viol class and holding ad hoc reading sessions for viols in the evening. She has quite an active studio of viol (and cello) students at all levels of playing, both privately and in ensembles. For Mountain Collegium she has composed a 50th Anniversary piece, “Mountain Estampie.” Her connection with Mountain Collegium dates back to its beginnings in at Emory in Atlanta when Karl Neumann, Bill Lemonds, George Kelischek, Arnie Grayson, Valerie Horst, Gian Lyman Silbiger, Richard Tauruskin, and others bring back fond memories of the early days….not to mention when the workshop moved to Brasstown, and son Gregory was small enough to sleep in a dresser drawer.

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Joanna Blendulf

Joanna Blendulf is professor of music in baroque cello/viola da gamba at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Blendulf has performed and recorded with leading period-instrument ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. She is currently co-principal cellist and principal viola da gamba player of the Portland Baroque Orchestra. She has also performed as principal cellist of Pacific MusicWorks, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra, and the New York Collegium. She was a principal cellist of the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas and has performed with other modern orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.

Blendulf is an avid chamber musician, performing regularly on major concert series and appearing on numerous recordings with her groups, including the Ensemble Electra, Ensemble Mirable, Music of the Spheres, Nota Bene Viol Consort, and Wildcat Viols. She appears as a frequent guest viol player with the Catacoustic Consort and Parthenia, and has collaborated with acclaimed artists such as Monica Huggett, Stephen Stubbs, Matthias Maute, Bruce Dickey, and Joan Jeanrenaud. Blendulf’s world-premiere recording of the complete cello sonatas of Jean Zewalt Triemer with Ensemble Mirable was released in 2004.

Blendulf’s festival engagements have included performances at Tage Alter Musik Regenburg, Musica Antigua en Villa de Leyva in Colombia, the Bloomington, Boston, and Berkeley early music festivals, and the Ojai Music Festival, as well as the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals. She is also sought after as a teacher and chamber music coach and has served as a classroom and private instructor at the University of Oregon and the Berwick Academy. As an active member of the Viola da gamba Society of America, she teaches regularly at viol workshops such as the annual Conclave, Viols West, and Young Players Weekend, and has served as a national Circuit Rider teacher.

She holds performance degrees with honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Jacobs School of Music, where she earned a Performer’s Certificate for her accomplishments in early music performance.

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Wendy Gillespie

As a child, Wendy Gillespie heard the New York Pro Musica in concert and was inexplicably attracted to polyphony long before she learned a word for it. She was already a string player, so the viol was the obvious instrument to pursue. Applying only to places that had viola da gamba teachers (there were four in 1968), Wendy was drawn to Wellesley College, Boston, and the world of early music performance well before anyone started muttering about authenticity. Ironically, her first professional gig was as the New York Pro Musica’s last viola da gamba player. 1974 found her a self-employed viola da gamba/vielle/viola player in New York City playing ars subtilior music with the Elizabethan Enterprise (don’t ask…), 13th-18th century music with Ensemble for Early Music and Waverly Consort, baroque music with Badinage, even sackbut in the aptly named ensemble The B Team. She was on the board of Music Before 1800 at its inception.

In the ensuing decades, she has performed on five continents, most often as a founding member of  the viol consort Fretwork and long-time member of the ensemble Phantasm, but also as a bass viol soloist, and not least as a happy continuo player. More recently, Gillespie has been specializing in renaissance viols and early repertory with the consort Nota Bene and appearing regularly with The Barefoot Allstars of California and the not yet discovered trio Lyra Waye. Wendy received Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award in 2011 and the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award in 2012. She is Past President of the Viola da Gamba Society, honored with a lifetime membership in 2023. In 2017, after 32 years on the faculty of Indiana University, Bloomington IN, Gillespie graduated to  Professor Emerita. Since then she has been on a journey to learn more about life, the universe, and everything.

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Holly Maurer

Holly received a BA from St. Lawrence University in music and religion and the MM from The New England Conservatory in performance practice of early music where she studied with Grace Feldman. Since coming to Charlotte in 1993, Holly has been a member of Carolina Pro Musica performing throughout the Southeast including concerts at Wingate, Sweetbriar College of Virginia, Davidson College and Gardner Webb. The group performs on their own series in Charlotte and has been featured on concert series in Asheville, Columbia, Lincolnton and Belmont where Carolina Pro Musica is a resident artist ensemble at Belmont Abbey College. In 2005 the ensemble presented concerts in and around London, England and in 2009 performed at the Boston Early Music Ensemble. In addition to concerts with Carolina Pro Musica, Holly performed regularly with Carolina Baroque of Salisbury and has been a guest artist with several groups in the area. Holly has recently retired from The music faculty of Central Piedmont Community College where she taught the Early Music Ensemble and Baroque Performance class.

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Sarah Mead

Sarah Mead is a sought-after teacher of viol and Renaissance performance practice who has performed in consort and as a lyra-viol soloist around the USA, and overseas in places as far apart as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Brazil and the UK. She served for seven years as Music Director of the annual VdGSA Conclave, and edits a quarterly selection of music and commentary on both recent and historical works for viols for the Society. Her performing editions of historical and original works for viols are published by PRB Productions. In 2007 she received the Thomas Binkley Award from Early Music America for her work with the Early Music Ensemble at Brandeis University, where she is a Professor of the Practice of Music and has chaired the program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She is a founding member and the musical director of Nota Bene Viol Consort. Their 2020 CD of Pietro Vinci features a set of Brescian-style Renaissance viols.

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Gail Schroeder, Assistant Director

Gail Ann Schroeder studied viola da gamba at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Wieland Kuijken, obtaining her First Prize and Higher Diploma, with distinction. She subsequently taught viola da gamba, pedagogy and directed the viol consort at the Brussels Conservatory from 1988 to 2002.

Gail has had an extensive career as soloist and as chamber musician, concertizing and recording with various ensembles such as the Huelgas Ensemble, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Ricercar Consort, Currende Consort, Capilla Flamenca, and Catacoustic Consort. She has performed in many of the European Festivals including Holland Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht, Resonanzen, Innsbrucker Festwochen, Les Académies Musicales de Saintes, Festival van Vlaanderen, Festival de Wallonie and Internationale Festtage Alter Music Stuttgart.

Since returning to the USA in 2006, Gail has been in demand as a teacher and ensemble coach at workshops for the Viola da Gamba Society of America, the Amherst Early Music Festival, Madison Early Music Festival, Music on the Mountain, Retreat to Advance and Mountain Collegium, where she is assistant director and head of the viol program. Currently living in North Carolina, she teaches privately and is artistic director of Asheville Baroque Concerts.

Gail Ann Schroeder’s website

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Chrissy Spencer

Chrissy Spencer, viola da gamba, is a founding member of the vocal ensemble Uncommon Practice and the Baranduin Baroque Ensemble in Vancouver, BC, and has performed in Atlanta with Ritornello and New Trinity Baroque. She helps organize regional and national early music workshops, including the Mountain Collegium weeklong summer workshop and Music on the Mountain, a weekend viol workshop. She is the Vice President, and incoming President, of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. Chrissy lives in Atlanta, GA, where she is on the Biological Sciences faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, advocates for alternative transportation, and raises chickens in the city.

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Brent Wissick


Brent Wissick has taught cello, viol and many aspects of early music at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1982.  He served as President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America from 2000-2004 and has taught at workshops around the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. His concerts and recording projects have taken him all over as well and he can be heard on numerous recordings.  His most recent publication is an article about Coprario in the VdGSA Journal, accompanied by video examples recorded with Parthenia that are posted on the VdGSA website. 

Brent Wissick’s website

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