About us

Ensemble Marsyas is devoted to exploring and championing the virtuoso wind music of the Baroque and Classical eras. Among its members are several of the finest historical instrumentalists working in Europe today. The ensemble derives its name from Marsyas, the satyr of Greek mythology who excels in the playing of reed instruments and audaciously challenges Apollo, the god of music, to a musical contest to be judged by the muses.

Peter Whelan

Peter Whelan


Bassoon

Principal bassoonist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 2008, Peter was described by the Philadelphia Enquirer as 'an absolute master of fleet facility with a solidly plush tone of wondrous immediacy'. He is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician and has received glowing responses from audiences and critics across the globe, including a Gramophone Award for his recording of Vivaldi bassoon concertos with La Serenissima in 2010.

As concerto soloist, Peter has performed in many of Europe's most prestigious venues, among them the Musikverein (Vienna), Lingotto (Turin), and the great concert halls of London including St. John Smiths Square (Lufthansa Festival), and the Cadogan and Wigmore Halls. As chamber musician Peter has collaborated with the Belcea Quartet, London Winds, the Doric Quartet, and with Tori Amos on her album 'Night of Hunters' recorded for Deutsche Gramophone (2011). In 2011, Peter recorded Weber's bassoon concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the Linn label and in 2012 recorded the Mozart bassoon concerto with Arcangelo conducted by Jonathan Cohen.

Equally at home on modern and historical instruments, Peter has a diverse repertoire spanning over four centuries and has worked with many of Europe's finest symphony orchestras and directors including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Sir Simon Rattle), the London Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists (Sir John Eliot Gardiner), the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and Oper Zürich.

Peter has recently joined the teaching faculty of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has given masterclasses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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Josep Domenech Lafont


Oboe

Josep Domenech had his formative training in his hometown of Amposta (Catalonia) later moving to Barcelona to continue his studies with Josep Julià at the Conservatori Superior de Barcelona. Josep is a graduate of the Musikakademie der Stadt Basel and also studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam where he completed his studies with Alfredo Bernardini.

Josep has performed extensively with many of the worlds greatest historical orchestras including Les Talens Lyrics, Bach Collegium Japan, Il Giardino Armonico, Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, Europa Galante, Orchestre Revolutionare et Romantique and the Concert des Nations.

In 2008 he was appointed principal oboe of Concerto Köln.

Josep has collaborated with many renowned musicians including, Masaki Suzuki, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Fabio Biondi, Giovani Antonini and Jordi Savall.

He teaches historical oboe at the "conservatori de Girona" and at the "Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional deToulouse" and regularly gives masterclasses and lectures in festivals and conservatories throughout Europe.

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Molly Marsh


Oboe

Molly Marsh read Music at Girton College, University of Cambridge, before gaining a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in 1999, where she studied baroque oboe with Sophia McKenna. After graduating with distinction in 2001 she moved to the Netherlands, continuing her studies of baroque and classical oboe with Alfredo Bernardini at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

Molly now lives in Italy, where she is principal oboist with the Accademia Bizantina. She is also a regular member of the English Baroque Soloists and the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla and has played with many more of Europe's top period instrument ensembles, such as the Academy of Ancient Music, Ensemble Zefiro, Concerto Koln, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Les Talens Lyriques, Concerto Copenhagen and Europa Galante. She has taught on summer music courses in Spain and Italy and has given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was elected as an Associate (ARAM) in 2011.

Recent solo performances include Bach's concerto for oboe and violin with Stefano Montanari and the Accademia Bizantina, and concerti by Albinoni and Vivaldi with Enrico Onofri and the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla.

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Thomas Dunford


Theorbo

Born in 1988, Thomas Dunford discovered the lute at the age of 9, thanks to the encouragment of Claire Antonini. By 2006, he was awarded a unanimous 1st Prize with honors in the class of Charles-Edouard at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris before completing his studies at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Hopkinson Smith.

His first professional appearance was as the onstage lutenist at the Comédie Française in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'. He has gone on to perform as soloist and chamber musician across Europe and Asia at many of the most prestigious festivals including, Ambronay, Saintes, La Chaise Dieu, and Bozar with ensembles such as Le Concert Spirituel, les Arts Florissants, l'Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Capriccio Stravagante, La Serenissima, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the English Concert, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, La Symphonie du Marais and La Fenice.

Thomas already has an impressive discography including recordings with La Capella Mediterranea, Ensemble Clématis, Monica Hugget, Andrea Benedetti, La Serenissima, A 2 Violes Esgales, Capricio Stravagante, Arcangelo, and Bach’s mass in B minor with Pygmalion.

A versatile musician, Thomas has collaborated with the likes of Christophe Coin, Monica Hugget, William Christie, Skip Sempé, Francois Lazarévitch, Paul Agnew, and Jean Tubéry but is also at home playing other genres of music including Jazz.

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Philippe Grisvard


Harpsichord/Organ

Philippe was born in Nancy, France in 1980. He studied piano and oboe before joining the harpsichord class of Anne-Catherine Bücher. In 1999 he won a place at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis where he studied harpsichord and basso continuo with Jesper Christensen and pianoforte with Edoardo Torbianelli.

In 2002 he was invited to join La Cetra Barockorchester in Basel where he performed under the direction of artists such as René Jacobs, Jordi Savall and Konrad Junghänel. On completion of his studies he became the harpsichordist of the ensemble Harmonie Universelle, lead by Florian Deuter, where he plays as both continuo player and soloist on tour throughout Europe and the US and on the ensembles recordings for the Eloquentia label.

Philippe lives in Paris and performs regularly with Le Poème Harmonique, Les Nouveaux Caractères, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, La Chapelle Rhénane, La Fenice, Le Cercle de l'Harmonie and plays and records as a chef de chant with Emmanuelle Haim's concert d'Astrée including productions of the Fairy Queen, La Resurrezione, Orlando, Agrippina, Giulio Cesare.

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Monica Huggett


Violin

Monica Huggett was born in London, in 1953, the fifth of seven children. In order to differentiate herself from her piano-playing siblings, she took up the violin at age six. Her talent became apparent quickly and, by the age of twelve, it had been decided by her parents and teachers that she would become a violinist, which saved her from the agony of having to decide what to do with her life.

At age sixteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian. Although she did well and won several prizes, she was not entirely comfortable with her instrument until she was given a baroque violin to try. She was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings and became a fervent champion of the baroque violin. From age seventeen, Monica has earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director – beginning in London as a freelance violinist – and currently as the newly-appointed first artistic director of the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program.

In the intervening four decades, she co-founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Ton Koopman; founded her own ensemble Sonnerie; worked with Christopher Hogwood at the Academy of Ancient Music; and with Trevor Pinnock at the English Concert. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world.

Monica’s expertise in the musical and social history of the Baroque Era is unparalleled among performing musicians. This huge body of knowledge and understanding, coupled with her unique interpretation of Baroque music, has made her an invaluable resource to students of the baroque violin.

Among her recent prizes are the 1997 Editor’s Choice award, Gramophone magazine, for J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin; the Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland), 2005; and Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Recording Award, for Heinrich Biber’s Violin Sonatas, 2002. The latest CD release from Sonnerie "Music for a Young Prince" early versions of the J.S. Bach Four Orchestral Suites, won a Diapason d'Or in June 2009.

Alongside her work at Juilliard, Monica continues as artistic director of both the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the Portland (Oregon) Baroque Orchestra.

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Christine Sticher


Violone

With experience in modern-orchestral, opera and continuo bass playing, Christine’s repertoire spans from early baroque to the contemporary.

After a period of time working at the State Theatre, Wiesbaden she went on to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Frank Reinecke where she graduated with distinction in 2001. It was here that she first became interested in early music, a curiosity which lead her to Maggie Urquhart at the Conservatoire in The Hague where she received her masters degree.

Christine is in constant demand with ensembles across Europe and has performed around the globe with the likes of Simon Rattle (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), the Gabrieli Consort, Phillippe Herreweghe (Orchestre des Champs Elysees and Collegium Vocale Gent), the King’s consort, Collegium Vocale Gent, Monica Huggett (Sonnerie), Ton Koopman (The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra) and Marc Minkowski (Les Musiciens du Louvre) to name but a few.

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Sarah McMahon


Cello

Sarah McMahon began learning the cello in Nairobi at the age of ten. She subsequently moved to Dublin to study with Nora Gilleece at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 1995 she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she continued her studies with David Strange, Jenny Ward-Clarke and Colin Carr.

In 1999 she founded the Callino string quartet with whom she now has a busy performing schedule. They have collaborated with numerous composers for string quartet including Kevin Volans, Ian Wilson, Arvo Pärt, Gyorgy Kurtàg, Alexander Knaifel, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Peteris Vasks.

In addition to this Sarah is passionately committed to historical performance practice and is principal cello with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and a member of Camerata Kilkenny and Ensemble Marsyas. She is also regularly invited to play guest principal cello with the Academy of Ancient Music, Arcangelo, the Aurora orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

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