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Cornish College of the Arts Announces Artist Diploma in Early Music

May 02, 2011

SEATTLE, WA – Cornish College of the Arts announces an expansion of the college’s music program to encompass a new Artist Diploma in Early Music.

The Artist Diploma in Early Music is a one-year, post-baccalaureate, performance-oriented program designed for students already performing at a high level who seek additional intensive private instruction, coaching, and ensemble performance experience. Enrollment in this highly selective program is limited to 12 artists; both vocalists and instrumentalists are encouraged to apply.

“We’re excited to announce the new Artist Diploma in Early Music,” said Cornish Music Department Chair Kent Devereaux, “and at the prospect of providing an opportunity for the next generation of early music artists to study with our internationally renowned early music faculty. The presence of a small but talented cadre of Artist Diploma students will immeasurably increase our ability to stage a wide variety of baroque opera repertoire, thereby further enriching the experience of these young artists.”

Cornish’s early music program is overseen by acclaimed baroque opera music director and lutenist Stephen Stubbs and includes pianist and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman, harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree, violinists Ingrid Matthews and Tekla Cunninghman, flutist Janet See, harpist Maxine Eilander, viola da gambist Margriet Tindemans, recorder specialist Vicki Boeckman, baroque trumpet and cornetto virtuoso Kris Kwapis, baroque cellist Nathan Whittaker, coloratura soprano Cyndia Sieden, soprano Nancy Zylstra, and tenor Ross Hauck.

Artists interested in applying to the Artist Diploma in Early Music can find out more information about the program at or by calling the Cornish Music Department at 206.726.5030. Audition recordings can be submitted online.

“The Artist Diploma in Early Music resonates with Cornish’s core values of promoting exploration across time, across cultures, and across disciplines,” adds Devereaux. “Some of the most successful new work in contemporary artistic practice today is occurring at these crossroads where artists such as William Kentridge, Andrei Serban, Robert Wilson, Peter Sellars, Diane Paulus, Mark Morris, Robert Carsen, and Robert Lepage are collaborating with the finest early music artists to produce exciting new stagings of baroque opera.”

The announcement of the new Artist Diploma in Early Music is only the latest expansion of the early music program at Cornish. In addition to offering undergraduate instruction in early music, Cornish, in partnership with Pacific MusicWorks, hosts the annual Accademia d’Amore summer workshop offering singers and instrumentalists eighteen and older an opportunity for intensive study in the musical and dramatic aspects of 17th century opera repertoire with a faculty of specialists in music, dance, and drama. The program has established an international reputation for training musicians in the art of 17th century vocal performance and instrumental accompaniment, with past workshop participants going on to successful careers in baroque opera in North America and Europe.

Stephen Stubbs, Director, Early Music

After a thirty-year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 and joined the Cornish faculty in 2008 where he directs the early music program. His company Pacific MusicWorks’ inaugural production of Monteverdi’s Return of Ulysses, directed by South African artist William Kentridge, was universally lauded by critics and public alike. Subsequent productions have included Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi and Vespers. Since 1997 Stubbs has co-directed the bi-annual Boston Early Music Festival opera and is the permanent co-artistic director. Boston Early Music Festival’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee, and Psyché were nominated for Grammy awards in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

Besides his ongoing commitments to Pacific Musicworks and the Boston Early Music Festival, other engagements have recently taken Stubbs to Bilbao’s opera house in Spain to conduct Handels’ Guilio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo as well as Handel’s Guilio Cesare in Murcia, Spain. In 2007 he returned to the Netherlands Opera, Amsterdam, where he directed Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. 2011 saw his debut conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Just this past year Stubbs directed a new production of Steffani’s Niobe as well as a revival of Acis and Galatea for the Boston Early Music Festival, Handel’s Agrippina for the UCLA Opera department, and Esther with Pacific MusicWorks. Mr. Stubbs is represented by Schwalbe and Partners.

About Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish College of the Arts is nationally recognized as a premier college of the visual and performing arts offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in dance, theater, art, design and performance production, and a Bachelor of Music degree. A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today.