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Historical Piano Concerts Series
About the Musicians

Grand Harmonie

Grand Harmonie is an ensemble dedicated to historically-informed performances of music by composers from Mozart to Brahms, on the instruments for which their music was written. The core of Grand Harmonie consists of wind and brass players from the Boston and New York areas, performing regularly in both cities. The core players also make up the wind section of a classical orchestra, allowing concerts ranging from intimate chamber settings to full orchestral concerts.

West Monroe, LA, native Neil Godwin first studied horn with Dr. Gary Greene at Northeast Louisiana University.  Neil holds degrees in horn performance and conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he studied horn with Dennis Behm and conducting with Drs. Tim Koch and Jay Dean.  In 2001, Neil came to Boston for further horn studies at Boston University with Cleveland Orchestra and Empire Brass alum Eric Ruske.  He has performed in masterclasses and workshops with noted horn players Dale Clevenger, David Jolley, Roger Kaza, Jeff Nelsen, Karl Pituch, Denise Tryon, and Frøydis Ree Wekre.  In Boston, Neil has a busy and varied career as both performer and pedagogue.  Besides his work with Grand Harmonie, he currently holds positions with the Plymouth Philharmonic, the Simon Sinfonietta in Falmouth, the Hillyer Festival Orchestra, the Epic Brass Quintet, and Occasional Brass.  He is frequently heard performing with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Callithumpian Consort, the New Bedford Symphony, the Orchestra of Indian Hill, and the Claflin Hill Symphony, amongst others.  A member of the brass and ensembles faculties at the Community Music Center of Boston, Neil teaches all brass instruments and serves as director of the Junior and Preparatory Wind Ensembles and as an assistant conductor with both the Senior Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra.  Through various outreach programs of the CMCB, Neil teaches at several Boston public schools such as the Boston Latin School and the Josiah Quincy Elementary School.  He is horn instructor for the Norwood public schools, and also maintains a private horn studio in Newton.  Neil performs modern repertoire on a double horn by Engelbert Schmid and can also frequently be heard on a Viennese single F-horn by Hermann Ganter.  Today he performs on a natural horn by Finke, a copy of an 18th century Bohemian classical horn.

Elisabeth Axtell has been an active member of the New England freelance scene since 2004. Raised in Washington State, she studied horn with Dr. Kathleen Vaught Farner of Pacific Lutheran University and piano with Ms. Janet Mooney. Elisabeth graduated summa cum laude with dual degrees in English and Music from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, where she studied with David Schultz and Charles Kavalovski and was honored as a Presser Music Scholar, a concerto competition winner, and an Honors Recitalist. She completed a Master of Music in horn performance at Boston University under the tutelage of world-renowned hornist Eric Ruske. Elisabeth enjoys wide variety of musical pursuits, as evidenced by a recent concerto performance on modern horn with the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, several solo engagements on tenor horn with the New England Brass Band, and natural horn studies with Jean Rife. She balances her musical interests with a career in fundraising for Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & the Jimmy Fund and currently serves on the board of several Boston-based cultural organizations.

Pianist Pei-yeh Tsai, recently awarded her Doctoral degree from Boston University, is the founding member of the piano trio, ‘Trio Lumiere’ and the computer music group-“Bleep-Blop”.  Ms. Tsai studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University with Boris Slutsky; she also received a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal. Ms. Tsai’s recent engagements included a premiere of Ketty Nez’s Piano Concerto 'Thresholds’ with David Martins conducting the Boston University Wind Ensemble, concerts with the Atlantic Symphony Chamber Players, as well as performances of the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto and Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto with the Boston University Orchestra. Last year, she appeared as part of the Boston Early Music Fringe Festival playing the Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Winds by Paul Bowels. This year, Ms. Tsai was interviewed by BBC Radio 4, in a program called ‘Soul Music’, talking about the important role Rachmaninoff plays in her life and music. Ms. Tsai has received first prize in the Aaron Richmond International Piano Competition, the New England Chamber Music Ensemble Competition with the Clara Piano Quartet, and the Baltimore Music Club Piano Competition.  She also received  fourth prize in the Iowa International Piano Competition, and The Viardo Prize at The Viardo International Piano Competition. Ms. Tsai is also the recipient of numerous awards including two Piano Departmental Awards given by Boston University, the Marie Miller Award from the Women’s Guild in Boston, the Sergio Fiorentino Memorial Award, the Rose Marie Milholland Award and a Career Development Grant from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Last year, she was a judge in the Granite State Piano Competition in New Hampshire. In her leisure time, she embraces nature, enjoying rock climbing and photography.

Dr. Christopher Belluscio performs a wide variety of music ranging from Renaissance compositions to works he has recently commissioned. His insatiable passion for performing on original instruments has led to study of the Baroque trumpet, cornetto, Baroque horn, keyed trumpet and keyed bugle. He has performed with a wide variety of ensembles on both original and modern instruments including Cambridge Concentus, Connecticut Early Music Festival Orchestra, Helios Early Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Hartford Symphony and the Connecticut Opera. Christopher is an honors graduate of Boston University, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and of the Hartt School of Music.

Alastair Thompson, historical keyboardist, has accompanied ensembles at Boston University and Longy School of Music. He has played with Fourscore in the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe, Heliotrope Consort, and Patalena, and has appeared as a guest artist with Seven Times Salt, Les Enfants Terribles, the Zelenka Project, and the Weckmann Project. His 2010 collaboration with Seven Times Salt, featuring music from 18th century Scotland, was aired on WGBH radio. He pursued graduate studies in 17th century French cultural history at Tufts University, and has also studied and performed renaissance, baroque, and Scottish dance. In April 2011 he co-directed, choreographed, and danced in a staged performance of Matthew Locke's 1657 masque Cupid & Death. Alastair serves on the board of the Viola da Gamba Society New England and the artistic advisory board of Helios Early Opera.

A native of Massachusetts, flutist Sarah Paysnick performs regularly in the Greater Boston area with many period ensembles including L’Académie, Arcadia Players, Exsultemus, Cambridge Concentus and Harvard Baroque, where she frequently appears as concerto soloist. After winning the National Flute Association’s Baroque Artist competition in August of 2009, she moved to Israel for a year, where she continues to perform with Barrocade, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and Ensemble Phoenix. Upon returning to Boston she co-founded Musical Offering. She holds degrees from Ithaca College (BM), the University of Texas at Austin (MM), and most recently from the Longy School of Music (GPD), studying with Na’ama Lion.

Keyboardist Sarah Hager completed undergraduate training as a concert and collaborative pianist, and has performed frequently in concert series in Pennsylvania, her home state. Before moving to the Boston area, projects included lecture-recitals and presentations for Indiana University of Pennsylvania's musicology department and the International Festival of Women Composers. A recipient of the Richard Gilmore Appel scholarship, Sarah studied harpsichord with Frances Conover Fitch and historical keyboards with Peter Sykes at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, where she recently completed a M.M. in Early Music. As a harpsichordist and fortepianist, Sarah has participated in several summer festivals, most recently the Iberica Early Music Festival, and is active in chamber music ensembles in the Greater Boston area. As a conductor, she had the opportunity in 2010 to conduct and perform in the English Concert Masterclass in London, UK. Sarah is currently music director and organist at Lexington United Methodist Church in Lexington, MA.

Liza Malamut, historical trombone, regularly performs with many early music groups across America. Recent engagements include concerts with Mercury Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, The Green Mountain Project, Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Early Music New York, the New York Collegium, the Clarion Society, the Concord Ensemble, the Arcadia Players, Cambridge Concentus, and others. She played sackbut at the Connecticut Early Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and appeared as a guest artist at the Bloomington Early Music Festival, SoHIP Boston, and the Rochester Early Music Festival. In 2009, she was the only American finalist for the International Trombone Association Concerto Competition for Alto Trombone, held in Aarhus, Denmark. She is a member of The Weckmann Project, Seven Hills Renaissance Wind Band, and Grand Harmonie. Ms. Malamut holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Boston University, where she studied with John Marcellus and Don Lucas, respectively. She is currently a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts at Boston University, where she studies with Greg Ingles.