James Kennerley | Music Director
Hailed as “a great organist” displaying “phenomenal technique and sheer musicality” (Bloomberg News), James Kennerley is a multi-faceted musician, working as a conductor, keyboardist, singer, and composer. His performances are known for their illustrious flair and thrilling virtuosity, subtlety and finesse, drawing on the full resources of the instrument. James’ YouTube performances have enjoyed worldwide popularity and millions of views globally.
Mr. Kennerley recently made his Carnegie Hall solo début with the celebrated ensemble the Sejong Soloists. Performances this season include concerts at Alice Tully Hall, the Frick Collection, the feature holiday concert at the Metropolitan Museum’s MetLiveArts series, and a tour to the West Coast in November 2016. He has also given concerts at Washington National Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Princeton University, the Royal Albert Hall, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and other major venues throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Kennerley was a prizewinner at the 2008 Albert Schweitzer International Organ Competition, and a finalist at the inaugural (2013) Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition.
A renowned expert in the art of improvisation, the late John Scott (former Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue) deemed him “the greatest improviser of his generation.” Mr. Kennerley is frequently in demand as a performer and educator in this regard, and improvisation is always a highlight of his versatile concert programming.
Mr. Kennerley is a recognized specialist in the realm of early music, and has collaborated with William Christie, Richard Egarr, Nicholas McGegan, Christopher Hogwood, Monica Huggett, Julian Wachner, Gary Thor Wedow, among others. He has given solo harpsichord concerts throughout the United States and Europe to great acclaim. A member of NYC-based early music ensemble, Sonnambula, Mr. Kennerley recently recorded virtuosic works for harpsichord by sixteenth-century English composer John Bull to be released on Centaur Records.
Marjorie Vandervoort | Assistant Conductor
Marjorie Vandervoort began her long association with Ars Musica in the early 1980s. She has served as soprano soloist and associate/assistant conductor under founder Joyce Keschner, Italo Marchini, Robert Long, Kelly Crandell and Dusty Francis. (Marchini dubbed her “Die Feldmarshallin” for her skill at getting the singers into concert formation.) She took part in all the concert trips to Europe, conducting and soloing in Belgium in 1983 and subsequently in other places. A high point was singing Gershwin’s “Summertime” at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, in 2003.
Vandervoort is now in her 23rd year as Music Director of the Ridgewood Choral, a women’s chorus established by Frank Kasschau in 1929. er conducting experience includes work as assistant conductor of the Rockland Camerata, guest conductor of Harmony Basket Chorus (a choir of Japanese women), and church choirs.
Marge grew up in Ridgewood, NJ, where she studied piano with Howard Kasschau and Florence Monell Marble. A resident of Closter for over 60 years, she and her late husband Robert raised three daughters; grandchildren and great-grandchildren complete the family. She has an art and custom-framing business, The Mirage Portfolio.[divider]
Nadezhda Christova | Pianist
Bulgarian pianist Dr. Nadezhda Christova has been studying and performing piano since the age of six. She recently completed her doctoral studies in Collaborative Piano at the University of Maryland, College Park, under the tutelage of the renowned pianist and teacher, Rita Sloan. She also graduated with a Bachelors of Music with honors in piano performance from the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria, and obtained her Masters in chamber music and piano performance from the University of South Florida. Dr. Christova has spent summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School as a collaborative pianist both as an instrumental fellow (2011) and as a recipient of the prestigious New Horizons fellowship (2012, 2014). Additionally, she has participated in the Siena Music Festival in Siena, Italy as the official concerto accompanist of the program.
Also a dedicated teacher, Dr. Christova served as a faculty member of the International School of Music in Bethesda from 2012 to 2016. Dr. Christova recently relocated from the greater D.C. Metropolitan area to New York City, where she is currently on the faculty of the Jubilee Enrichment Program in Manhattan’s Chinatown, and works as an accompanist for Education Through Music. A devotee of sacred and choral music, Dr. Christova also serves as the Minister of Music at Zion Lutheran Church in Maywood, NJ.