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Ann Marie Morgan

Viola da Gamba

Praised by the Baltimore Sun for her “beguiling musicality,” viola da gamba soloist Ann Marie Morgan performs regularly with the Bach St. John and St. Matthew Passions. She appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Bach specialist Helmuth Rilling and, upon hearing her perform the solo aria with Alto Ingeborg Danz, was invited by the maestro to appear as violist da gamba in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Oregon Bach Festival. She played in several performances of the St Matthew Passion with The Minnesota Orchestra under Rilling’s direction, as well, performing her solo aria with Bass Thomas Quastoff. Other Bach Passion performances have included those with The Cleveland Orchestra; the Colorado, Richmond and Quad Cities Symphonies Orchestras; at numerous international Bach Festivals. She has appeared on viola da gamba in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto number six with The Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and at the Boulder Bach Festival. Ms Morgan has been concerto soloist on viola da gamba and cello piccolo with Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado.

In Spring semester 2020 Ms Morgan is served as interim Director of the CU-College of Music’s Early Music Ensemble, coaching strings, voices, harpsichord, and offering lessons on baroque style to students on modern instruments. She is also served as one of four on the Preliminary Judging Panel for the 2020 Indianapolis International Baroque Competition. Active in the front range on viola da gamba, baroque cello and cello piccolo she appeared this season with the Colorado Bach Ensemble, Colorado Chamber Players and Seicento Baroque Ensemble. An experienced choral singer and director, Ms Morgan holds section leader positions at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton, in Ars Nova Singers and is an alto with Denver’s St Martins Chamber Choir.

Some more recent highlights from her now 30-year career include:

  • Collaborations with tenor Nicholas Phan including 2017 in Chatauqua and Cleveland, 2016 in Istanbul and 2015 at Carnegie Hall (featured as an Editor’s Choice in the April 2015 issue of Gramophone magazine, in which lutenist Micheal Leopold and she were cited for their instrumental arrangements being “intelligent and exquisitely played”)
  • Viola da gamba soloist in the Bach St. John Passion with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst (2017)
  • Featured Lecturer at the University of Minnesota on their “Tuesdays with Bach!” Series in 2016 (The role of the viola da gamba in the works of JS Bach) and returning to Minneapolis in March 2017 to perform the St. Matthew Passion in a staged production
  • Teaching and performing at the Alte Musik Institut in Hannover, Germany (2015)
  • An invitation by Helmuth Rilling to join in his final summer and 80th birthday celebration as Director of the Oregon Bach Festival 2013
  • Recording Bach with Grammy-nominated flutist Joshua Smith (2009)
  • Touring with Les Violons du Roy under the direction of Bernard Labadie; providing bowed continuo for Stephanie Blythe and Elizabeth Futral in Opera Colorado’s production of Handel’s “Giulio Cesare”; performing at the Prague Spring Festival with La Tempesta di Mare; years of touring and performing with baroque violinist Allison Edberg Nyquist as Olde Friends Concert Artists

Reviews of her playing on the Dorian 1992 release “Chris Norman: The Man with the Wooden Flute” include “Before hearing Ann Marie Morgan, I would not have believed that so pure a tone could be drawn from a viola da gamba; it is straight from heaven.” – H&B Recordings Direct, 1992 and “… my hands down favorite is Ann Marie Morgan’s viola da gamba solo in Skinner’s “Cradle Song”…If there was a dry eye in the studio when this was recorded I say someone needs sensitivity training.” – Classical Disc Digest

She has her own solo viola da gamba album (with William Simms and Daniel Rippe, continuo) of French and English repertoire entitled “Among Rosebuds” (Centaur). The J.S. Bach Flute Sonatas; Sonata from the “Musical Offering” (Joshua Smith – Delos) and The Soulful Bach and Telemann (Olde Friends– Centaur) feature Ms Morgan on baroque cello. Other labels upon which one can hear her perform include AVIE, Chandos, Dorian and Naxos.

Receiving her Artist Diploma in viola da gamba and baroque cello from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (Catharina Meints), Ms Morgan became the instructor of both instruments and a part of the Early Music Faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland, a post she held for 11 years. She was also a long time member of the early music faculty at the Interlochen Arts Camp. As a result of her 15 year appointment with Apollo’s Fire: the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra she can be heard as cellist and violist da gamba on nearly a dozen of that ensemble’s recordings.