Bach and the Forbidden City

The Bach Society of Minnesota will be joined by Gao Hong on Pipa in an eclectic program that features traditional Chinese music and the music of Bach.

Gao Hong, a Chinese musical prodigy and master of the Chinese lute, the pipa, began her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated with honors from China’s premier music school, the Central Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Lin Shicheng. In both China and the U.S. Gao has received numerous top awards, including 1st Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition and an International Art Cup (Beijing). In 2005 Gao became the first traditional musician to be awarded a prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship, and in 2012 she became the only musician in any genre to win 4 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians.

Gao has performed throughout Europe, Australia, Argentina, Asia, and the U.S. in solo concerts and with symphony orchestras, jazz musicians, and musicians from other cultures. She has performed at major venues and festivals worldwide: Lincoln Center Festival; Carnegie Hall; San Francisco Jazz Festival; Smithsonian Institution; the Next Wave Festival; Festival d’Automne a Paris in Paris and Caen, France; the International Festival of Perth; and the Festival de Teatro d’Europa in Milan. Her performances of pipa concerti include several world, U.S., and regional premieres and performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, China National Traditional Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, Heidelberg Philharmonic, and others.

As a composer, she has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, Jerome Foundation, Zeitgeist, Ragamala, Theater Mu, guitarist Lars Hannibal, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and Twin Cities Public TV.

Matthias Maute, Artistic Director

JUNO Award-winning Matthias Maute has achieved an international reputation as a conductor, composer, recorder and flute player. He is widely recognized for creating and leading ingenious and captivatingly original programs with Ensemble Caprice, the orchestra he conducts in Montreal. He tours extensively with the ensemble, frequently performing in prestigious festivals around the globe. The New York Times describes Ensemble Caprice as “an ensemble that encourages the listener to rehear the world.” He also has conducted the world’s leading baroque orchestras, including Seattle Baroque, Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, and the Magnificat Baroque Ensemble.

Maute won the JUNO Award—the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy—for Best Classical Album of the Year (Vocal or Choral Performance) for Gloria! Vivaldi”s Angels on the Analekta label. His recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos juxtaposed with his own arrangements of Preludes from Shostakovich’s Op. 87 was hailed by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross “for its fleet, characterful approach” and “its fresh, vibrant colors.” Forty-nine movements of Matthias Maute’s compositions are featured in 49 videos on Maute has made some 20 recordings on the Analekta, Vanguard Classics, Bella Musica, Dorian, Bridge and ATMA Classique labels.

Based in Montreal, Matthias Maute is co-artistic director of the Montreal Baroque Festival and artistic director of the concerts series Concerts noncerto®. He currently teaches at l’Université de Montreal and McGill University.

Carrie Shaw, Soprano

Praised in the New York Times “as graceful vocally as she was in her movements”, “consistently stylish” (Boston Globe), and as a “cool, precise soprano” (Chicago Tribune), Carrie Henneman Shaw is a two-time McKnight Fellowship for Musicians winner (2010, 2017). At home with over-the-top emotions channeled into music that demands both rigorous athleticism and improvisatory freedom, Shaw finds herself happiest in the music of the Baroque and the newly composed. She has sung American premieres of works by such internationally acclaimed composers as Georg Friedrich Haas, Hans Thomalla, and Augusta Read Thomas. And in 2019, she will release her first solo recording with Baroque trio Les Ordinaires, Allison Nyquist, and Jory Vinikour, featuring cantatas and never-before-recorded songs by French Baroque genius Michel Montéclair on the Naxos label. Carrie is a member of Chicago’s Ensemble Dal Niente and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. She holds degrees in English and voice performance from Lawrence University and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and is an instructor at Winona State University and Bethel University.

Margaret Humphrey, Violin

Violinist Margaret Humphrey maintains a vibrant freelance schedule as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra member, performing in ensembles in the US and Europe. As a core member of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, she also performs regularly with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, the Bach Society, and Ensemble Carrissimi. A founding member of Belladonna Baroque quartet, she has toured throughout the US, Europe, and Brazil. Cerulean Fire, her most recent ensemble, collaborates with dancers and percussionists crossing over genres to create dynamic performance experiences.Ms. Humphrey is also a member of the Kingsbury Ensemble in St. Louis as well as soloing yearly in the Ancient Music Series in St. Savin France. She has recorded on the Chondos, Dorian, Ten Thousand Lakes and Naxos labels. 

Cassidy Miller, Cello

Cassidy Miller studied Music Performance at Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts. There she studied under members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Katz and Richard Hirschl. Cassidy studied Baroque cello at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute with Cathy Meints as well as at the Twin Cities Baroque Instrumental Program under Jaap ter Linden. Currently she performs on tenor viol around the Twin Cities, and is the Communications and Operations intern for the Lyra Baroque Orchestra.

Ziya Tabassian, Percussion

Ziya Tabassian began playing the tombak at the age of ten. After a brief initiation period in Iran, he continued his autodidactic training in Montreal, his adopted homeland. He studied Western classical percussion and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in percussion from the Université de Montréal. As a percussionist, he is professionally very active and performs with many early music, contemporary and world music ensembles and had performed in more than 40 countries in some prestigious festivals and concert halls. He has many albums to his credit on some major labels with great ensembles and artists. He recently released his second solo album, “The Circle of the Cycles”, stemming from his researches on the rhythmic cycles and new techniques on the tombak.

Gail Olszewski, Harpsichord

Gail Olszewski has performed solo and chamber recitals on piano, fortepiano, harpsichord, organ, harmonium, celesta and synthesizer in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Central America.  In Minnesota, she has free-lanced with such groups as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Sinfonia, Minnesota Opera, Bach Society of Minnesota, Ordway Productions, Nautilus Music Theater, Illusion Theater, Buffalo Gals Productions and Garden of Song Opera.  She is a founding member of The WolfGang, dedicated to authentic instrument performance, and Duo Tastiera, a harpsichord/fortepiano duo with harpsichordist/composer Asako Hirabayashi and plays regularly with the Stillwater, MN-based chamber ensemble Music St. Croix.  Gail received a BA in Spanish and Music History/Harpsichord from the University of New Hampshire, a MMus in Piano Performance from Boston University and a DMA in Accompanying and Coaching from the University of Minnesota.  She is a vocal and instrumental coach, has a private piano/harpsichord studio and is a faculty member of the MacPhail Center for Music.  For more information, go to

**This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Performance Dates

Friday, Oct 5 @ 7:30 pm
Sundin Music Hall

1531 Hewitt Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Children 12 and under free for all performances.

Saturday, Oct 6 @ 7 pm**
Brau Performing Arts Center

Willmar High School
2701 30th Street NE
Willmar, MN

Sunday, Oct 7 @ 3 pm
Calvin Presbyterian Church
177 Glendale Drive
Long Lake, MN