La Monica embodies the passion, drama, and innovation of 17th century Italian music wherein the growth of opera brought new theatrical dimensions to vocal and instrumental music. Castello, Marini and Merula broke new compositional ground—creating music with poetry, melody, and harmony that were raw, fresh, and surprising. Quirky love songs, charming ground basses and virtuoso sonatas capture the vivid emotional expression of the early Baroque.
“World class performances… La Monica absolutely owns this repertoire and plays it with an abundance of warmth, wit, and intelligence.”
—KPFK FM, Los Angeles
With each vibrant performance, La Monica engages the music and the audience with passion and affection. Their artful programming and dramatic flair have established this dynamic combination of solo soprano voice and string ensemble at the forefront of the American early music scene.
La Monica delivers refreshing recitals exploring the depths and heights of 17th and 18th century music, whether theatrical or lyrical, obscure or celebrated. The ensemble has appeared on New York’s prestigious concert series, Music Before 1800, and has also been presented by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Houston Early Music, the Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque Society, San Francisco Early Music Society, and early music festivals of Bloomington, Indianapolis, Amherst and Washington’s Whidbey Island.
Phoebe Jevtovic Alexander performs chamber music and early opera in the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany. She has appeared with the American Bach Soloists, Waverly Consort, Musica Angelica, Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, North Holland Opera, and the Wild Ginger Philharmonic, performing to great acclaim at the Boston, Berkeley, and Amherst early music festivals. Roles portrayed include Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Amphitrite in Locke’s Tempest, and Cupid in Purcell’s Timon of Athens. Phoebe has recorded a wide range of repertoire for Wave, Gothic, and Focus Records. She completed her Master of Arts degree in Early Music Performance at the University of Southern California, and has edited a volume of solo songs by Tarquinio Merula that is due to be published by A&R Editions.
Tekla Cunningham performs with the American Bach Soloists, Apollo's Fire in Cleveland, Musica Angelica in Los Angeles, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Bach Choir, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and also plays at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. Last season, Tekla was a guest artist with the Del Sol String Quartet in San Francisco, and has toured nationally with the Artaria Quartet. Upcoming projects include a new concert series for the Novello Quartet and recitals of 17th century chamber music with gli amici di buxtehude. Tekla studied history, German literature, and music at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD. She continued her musical studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria with Josef Sivo, former concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, and graduated with a master's degree from the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, where she studied with Ian Swenson.
Susan Feldman received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Early Music Performance from the University of Southern California. While pursing a degree in modern violin, she was drawn to historical performance and founded La Monica. In Los Angeles, Susan plays principal violin with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Musica Viva, and Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra. She has also performed with the New York-based group, Soave Diletti, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. Her teachers include Ingrid Matthews, Elizabeth Blumenstock, James Tyler and Robert Lipsett. Susan is currently on the faculty at the Stephen S. Wise music academy, Cornerstone music academy, and also maintains a private violin studio.
John Lenti has appeared as a solo recitalist and chamber musician on lute, theorbo and guitar throughout the eastern United States, at the Bloomington and Boston Early Music Festivals, and at the Magnolia Baroque Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Following undergraduate study of classical guitar at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Mr. Lenti held a variety of teaching posts and performed both in recital as a guitarist and lutenist, and as a member of the Whistlepig Old-Time String Band in concerts, hootenannies and festivals throughout western North Carolina. Following a season of dividing time equally between the various instruments and genres, Mr. Lenti made a definitive transition to the lute in 2001, moving to London towards the end of that year for regular lute study with Jacob Heringman and Elizabeth Kenny, returning to the United States in 2002 for study with Nigel North at Indiana University. Other significant musical help and inspiration has come from Ricardo Cobo, Ronn McFarlane and Patrick O’Brien.
William Skeen has appeared as principal cellist of American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, L.A. Bach Society, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Wild Ginger Philharmonic, San Diego Opera, Aspen Festival Concert Orchestra, Stockton Symphony, and Chicago Opera Theater. He has also performed with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Carmel Bach Festival, Voxfire, Hesperus, Baroque Northwest, Just Strings (microtonal repertoire) and the New West, Riverside, Modesto, South Bay Chamber, Mansfield, and Miami symphony orchestras. William earned degrees in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Southern California, where he now teaches baroque cello and viola da gamba. He has also lectured in cello and music history at the University of San Diego and the University of San Francisco.
Avi Stein received his bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music where he studied organ with Michael Farris, harpsichord with Arthur Haas and continuo with Paul O'dette and Mr. Haas. As a Fulbright scholar, Avi attended the Centre d'Etudes musicales superieures in Toulouse, where he studied organ and harpsichord with Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen. He earned his master's degree in organ at the University of Southern California, also studying early music with James Tyler. Avi is currently a dual doctorate student in harpsichord and organ, as well as an associate instructor of harpsichord at Indiana University. He has performed with the Warsaw Symphony, the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse, Musica Angelica and the New West Symphony. Avi was awarded 1st prize in the Music Teachers' National Association Competition. He is currently assistant organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.
Ondine Young currently directs chamber music, string and choir courses at the Crowden School of Music and other Bay Area schools. Previously, she headed the choral program the University of San Diego and was a conductor for the San Francisco Boy's Chorus. Ondine is completing a doctoral degree at the University of Southern California, studying Choral Conducting and Early Music Performance. She completed Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in music from University of California at Santa Cruz, and graduate studies at UC Santa Barbara. Ondine has performed as a principal violist and violinist with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Magnificat, the Stanford Baroque Dance Workshop, Coro Hispano, San Francisco Choral Society, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, California Bach Society, and at festivals in Berkeley, Boston, Amherst, Santa Cruz, Aspen and Abbaye-aux-Dames (France). She has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Albany, and Focus Records. Ondine's mentors include Nicole Paiement, Ingrid Matthews.
Daniel Zuluaga plays guitar and theorbo. Mr. Zuluaga is native of Colombia, where he received his musical education. His interest in the early plucked-string instruments took him to the Early Music Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He has appeared at numerous international music festivals including Tage Alte Musik Regensburg (Germany), Festival van Vlaanderen-Antwerpen (Belgium), Singapore Arts Festival, Festival Cervantino (Mexico), Il Canto delle Pietre (Italy), Jakarts Festival (Indonesia), Baroque Festival “Misiones de Chiquitos” (Bolivia) and Noches en los Jardines del Alcázar (Spain). His solo work has been praised for its “rhythmic vitality and a fine sense of color” (Joseph McLellan, Washington Post). He frequently collaborates with groups such as Ensemble Elyma, Belgium’s B’Rock, Musica Angelica, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Al Ayre Español, La Monica, Concord Ensemble, Mercury Baroque. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he is finishing a book of Spanish Baroque art song composer José Marín.