Armonia Nova



Armonia Nova is an ensemble of instruments and voices based in the Washington D.C. area. Its members perform medieval and Renaissance music of Europe on instruments that are re-creations of historical instruments, applying scholarship and informed historical performance practice.

Members of Armonia Nova strive to achieve an historically authentic performance with the desire for the listener to hear this remote yet remarkably beautiful music as it might have sounded when it was newly created.

Armonia Nova has been frequently praised for its intelligent and creative programming. The performances of this ensemble capture the emotional content of the music, bringing an intensity and immediacy to the performance while maintaining the purity and clarity of tone so essential to music of these early periods. or email:

Twelfth Night mp3: Danse Royale

Breves die Hominis [mp3]


Inaugural Washington Early Music Festival
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"Twelfth Night - A Celebration of Epiphany"
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Armonia Nova performs at
the Washington Early Music Festival

"La Musica de dos Orbes"
The Splendid Paradox of Sacred and Secular Music
In Medieval-Renaissance Spain
Constance Whiteside, Director

June 25, 2005
7:30 p.m.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Capitol Hill: 3rd and A Streets SE
Washington, DC

Passionate spirituality and passion for life make up the marvelous dichotomy of Spanish music from the medieval period through the Renaissance. A deeply religious country, for centuries its composers created ethereally beautiful sacred music. Yet they also composed music for dance and song with intensely romantic, sensual rhythms and melodies. Join Armonia Nova as it explores this fascinating Spanish paradox of the sacred and the secular from the 13th through the 17th centuries in a performance of
"La Musica de dos Orbes" or "Music of Two Worlds".

Reception following at St. Mark's Church Parish Hall.

This concert is part of the 3 weeks of early music sponsored by the Washington Early Music Festival whose June 2005 theme is "Spain and the New World".

For further information on the Festival go to




Constance Whiteside, Artistic Director and medieval, renaissance and baroque harps, performs and discusses music from the 12th through 17th centuries on historical re-creations of harps that existed when this music was new.  In her lectures and performances, she describes and demonstrates the special tunings, stringing and techniques used on these harps. Her various harps include a gothic style medieval harp, the ”Bosch” harp, made by Rainer Thurau of Germany, a single row renaissance harp, the “Boston”, re-created from a 17th century original now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and a baroque double-strung harp re-created from an original 17th C. instrument in a museum in Brussels, and a triple-strung baroque harp.  A highly knowledgeable specialist, scholar and performer on historic harps, she has performed at the Berkeley and Boston Early Music Festivals and with such acclaimed groups as Chanticleer. Originally trained on modern pedal harp by Anne Adams, she continues free-lance pedal harp performance in the Washington D.C. area.   Dr. Whiteside, a physician and graduate of Stanford University, and former tenured faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California Davis, was a founding member of Musica Coelorum, a medieval ensemble based in northern California and is a founding member of Armonia Nova.  She performs on baroque harp with the Orchestra of the 17th Century and the Washington Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble.  She is former Chair of the Historical Harp Survey, a research project designed documenting harps built before 1945, and former Editor of the Historical Harp Society Journal.


Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano, has had career high points singing Bach at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Monteverdi at San Marco in Venice and the St. Matthew Passion one-to-a-part with Tafelmusik in Toronto. She has appeared with many of the East Coast’s finest early music groups, including Chatham Baroque, the Four Nations Ensemble, The Washington Bach Consort, and The New York Collegium, and has sung under the baton of eminent conductors such as Christopher Hogwood and Andrew Parrott. She also performs extensively in Manhattan and its environs as a member of the NY-based chamber group ARTEK which received audience ovations and critical acclaim at its performance in the Regensburg (Germany) Festival for Early Music. Ms. Hollinshead began her vocal studies at her opera-singing mother’s knee, and as an adult has studied with coaches in New York, Washington, and with Max Van Egmond in the Netherlands. Her discography includes recordings of solo lute songs with lutenist Howard Bass, Renaissance Spanish and Sephardic music with La Rondinella, and works by Mrs. H.H. Beach. Ms. Hollinshead rounds out her musical contributions with educational endeavors as professor of voice at American University, a leader of master classes on Renaissance and Baroque styles and a cast member of "Bach to School." When not performing, you can find her judging dive competitions and proudly listening to her sons sing at evensong services.


Jay White, countertenor, has enjoyed a variety of performing experiences ranging from the works of medieval and Renaissance composers to the Baroque masters to contemporary compositions.  As a soloist he has appeared with the Washington National Cathedral Choir, Grace Cathedral Choir (San Francisco), Indiana University Opera Theatre and Pro Arte Singers, the BOMB Ensemble, Bimbetta, Ensemble Mirable, Smithsonian Players, Tafelmusik and the Seattle and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestras among others.  His opera credits include Pisandro in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, Secretary No. 3 in Adam’s Nixon in China, and Giasone in Cavalli’s Il Giasone.  Trained by Drew Minter, Michael Chance, Paul Elliott, and Linda Mabbs, Mr. White has been hailed by the London Times as “a counter tenor of rare tone”.  Mr. White sang eight seasons with the two-time (1999 & 2002) GRAMMY® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, travelling to over 40 states and 15 countries, and sharing the stage with Frederica von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, the San Antonio, Atlanta and Virginia Symphonies, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.  He can be heard on the Angel/EMI, Focus, New Albion, and Teldec labels.


Michael Holmes, early winds, began his career as a professional French hornist, but has gradually shifted his interests toward early music performance and conducting.  He has performed on various historical instruments including recorders and sackbut, with ensembles such as Stylus Luxurians, the Washington Bach Consort, the Bach Sinfonia, the Washington Baroque Trio, and Abendmusiken at the Amherst Early Music Festival.  He received coaching in early music performance from Daniel LaSalle, Jean-Pierre Canihac, Wim Becu and William Dongois. Mr. Holmes serves as music director and principal conductor of the Orchestra of the 17th Century and as artistic director of the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, one of the USA’s premiere period brass ensembles.  He has performed extensively as a conductor in Europe, leading symphonic and opera performances with ensembles in Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria.  While continuing his performing career, Mr. Holmes is pursing his PH.D in Musicology at the University of Maryland, where he has recently been appointed as Director of the UMCP Collegium Musicum.


Vera Kochanowsky, alto, is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, and holds advanced degrees in early music studies from New England Conservatory and Stanford University.  An accomplished singer, she relishes the performance of early music and has sung with Musikanten, Musica Antiqua, and Collegium Cantorum.  She combines a knowledge of singing performance and language pronunciation appropriate to the medieval and Renaissance periods.  In  1998 she founded the vocal ensemble CARMINA which is devoted to exploring vocal styles before 1700.  Since moving to the Washington D.C. area in 1991, she has also performed extensively as a harpsichordist, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, and currently performs as keyboard artist with the Bach Sinfonia and The Washington Kantorei.  Her first recording, Pour 2 clavecins, with harpsichordist Thomas MacCracken, was released by Titanic Records in 1999.


Douglas Wolters, vielle and viols, performs in the metropolitan Washington, DC area on historical and modern stringed instruments including baroque cello, the viola da gamba, and vielle. Mr. Wolters is the principal cellist of The Bach Sinfonia and the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the baroque ensemble L’Arabesque.  Recent performances include a performance of the Bach Cello Suites at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater to accompany Tony Powell’s original choreography for his ballet company, recitals on the viola da gamba highlighting the French, German, and English baroque, the Haydn C Major Cello Concerto with the Mount Vernon Chamber Orchestra, and a Vivaldi cello concerto with The Bach Sinfonia.   As a member of the critically acclaimed Cezanne Trio, he performed a series of concerts at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, focusing on new Czech music. He has appeared in recitals at Alice Tully Hall in New York, and in Washington at the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institution with the Smithsonian Chamber Players. Mr. Wolters also served as associate principal cellist of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra for six years.  A graduate of New England Conservatory, Mr. Wolters studied cello with Mihaly Virizlay and viola da gamba with Gian Lyman Silbiger. He has recorded for Orion and Northeastern. In addition to performing, Mr. Wolters teaches stringed instruments in the Fairfax County, VA school system and maintains a private studio.



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