South Asian-American violist Vijay Chalasani is a performer, scholar, teaching-artist, and advocate for diversity and equity, whose work focuses on the performance practice of music of the last five centuries. Equally at home on both modern and historical violas, Chalasani has been a featured soloist in repertoire ranging from Telemann and Graun to Walton and Feldman.
Chalasani is a founding member of the Northern California based baroque chamber orchestra Sinfonia Spirituosa, and performs frequently on period instruments with ensembles such as American Bach Soloists, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and Boulder Bach Festival.
His research on original viola pedagogy and performance practices of the long 19th century has led to performance collaborations and conference presentations at the Universities of Oxford and Huddersfield (UK), as well as a recording of works by Tchaikovsky and Fuchs with the Accordes! International Chamber Orchestra released in November 2020. An avid supporter of contemporary music, Chalasani frequently commissions and performs new works for viola, including recent collaborations and world/regional premieres with composers Vijay Iyer, Reena Esmail, Kamala Sankaram, Scott Wollschleger, Ryan Suleiman, and Nicole Mitchell. Chalasani was appointed a member of Early Music America’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Task Force in August 2021.
A committed pedagogue, Chalasani was Assistant Professor of Viola and Director of the UNCommon (contemporary music) Ensemble at the University of Northern Colorado from 2019 to 2022. In addition to individual instruction in viola and ensemble direction, he also taught academic coursework varying from graduate seminars in performance practice to general education music appreciation.
Chalasani has resided on Treaty One territory in the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree,
Oji-Cree, Lakota, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis Nation, outside modern-day Winnipeg since the summer of 2022 with his wife Ruth Denton.
Ruth Denton leads a multifaceted musical career as performer, administrator, and community organizer. Denton was the founding artistic director of Cor Unum Ensemble, a collective created to connect like-minded vocal and instrumental young artists in the Toronto early music scene. A native of St. Andrews, Manitoba, she is a member of Sinfonia Spirituosa and was recently appointed Assistant Director of the Joie de Vivre Choir, where she will appear as oboe soloist, conductor, and choral singer this season. Recent appearances include performances with Seicento Baroque Ensemble, Sweetwater Music Festival, and Rezonance Baroque Ensemble. Denton was the founding general manager of the Toronto Bach Festival from 2016 to 2019, where she worked alongside her baroque oboe mentor, Artistic Director John Abberger. Denton is a pre-doctoral candidate in musicology at the University of Northern Colorado. She recently returned to the Manitoba prairies, Treaty One territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Lakota, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis Nation, where she resides with her husband Vijay Chalasani. For more information, visit her website: www.ruthdenton.ca
Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, cellist Tanya Tomkins is equally at home on Baroque and modern instruments. She spent 14 years in the Netherlands where she performed with many chamber ensembles throughout Europe. She has performed on many chamber music series to critical acclaim, including the Frick Collection, “Great Performances” at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, San Francisco Performances, and the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal.
She is renowned for her interpretation of the Bach Cello Suites, having recorded all of them for the Avie label and performed them many times at venues such as New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, Seattle Early Music Guild, Vancouver Early Music Society, and The Library of Congress. For the past 20 years Tanya has been one of the principal cellists in San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Portland Baroque Orchestra, and has appeared with both numerous times as soloist.
On modern cello, she is a long-time participant at the Moab Music Festival in Utah, Music in the Vineyards in Napa, and a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and she is currently a member of the Bay Area-based Delphi Piano Trio. As an educator, Tanya has given master classes at Yale, Juilliard, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and together with Eric Zivian, runs the Apprenticeship Program at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival.
Keiran Campbell was drawn to the cello after he stumbled across one in his grandmother’s basement and was baffled by its size. Once he turned 8, he began taking lessons—on a much smaller cello—in his native Greensboro, North Carolina. After studying extensively with Leonid Zilper, former solo cellist of the Bolshoi Ballet, he received his Bachelors and Masters at the Juilliard School, working with Darrett Adkins, Timothy Eddy, and Phoebe Carrai. Keiran also spent several springs in Cornwall, England, studying with Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum at Prussia Cove.
Keiran has performed with ensembles including The English Concert, NYBI, Philharmonia Baroque, The Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Four Nations Ensemble, and Les Violons du Roy. He recently performed with Le Concert Des Nations under Jordi Savall, touring Europe performing Beethoven Symphonies before recording them on Savall’s new Beethoven CD. During the summers, Keiran has performed with Teatro Nuovo, Lakes Area Music Festival, and The Carmel Bach Festival. He is also on faculty at the recently formed, UC Berkeley-based, Chamber Music Collective, which focuses primarily on post-1750 performance practice. Recent performance highlights include concerto appearances with Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, a concert of Monteverdi Madrigals with Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations in Carnegie Hall, a solo recital with fortepianist Sezi Seskir at the Berkeley Early Music festival, and performances of Handel’s Saul and Solomon with English Concert at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival.
Keiran is also fascinated by instrument making, which he studies with the maker of his cello, Timothy Johnson. Learn more at keirancampbellcellist.com