History of Echoing Air
Echoing Air, Inc. was founded in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ensemble dedicated to the exploration of and advocacy for music that features the pairing of 2 countertenor voices with 2 recorders and basso continuo. The name “Echoing Air” reflects the aspects of pairings of voices in duets and imitation, and is a quote from a famous song by Henry Purcell, who was perhaps the greatest English Baroque composer, “Hark, the Echoing Air”. Since its inception, the ensemble has undertaken many tours of the United States, including performances in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and Arizona.
Since its formation, Echoing Air has greatly expanded its repertoire to include Baroque music of all parts of Europe, music of the Renaissance, music of the Gaelic traditions of Scotland and Ireland, and contemporary 20th and 21st Century compositions featuring singers with Baroque period instruments. As his doctoral dissertation at FSU, Echoing Air founder Steven Rickards compiled a compendium of contemporary repertoire written for the countertenor. Echoing Air has had the privilege to perform, and in some cases, premier pieces by modern composers, some of which have been composed specifically for the ensemble.
Echoing Air has a fervent commitment to education. Ensemble members are all educators with a passion for working with students. Particularly in the present day where music is so often being cut from budgets, Echoing Air enjoys bringing our joy for what we do into the schools from preschool through graduate school. Dr. Rickards also expanded the ensemble’s outreach and community presence by inviting selected local teen singers to participate in the Echoing Air Vocal Ensemble in a project of collaboration with the Peabody Consort in the Indianapolis Early Music Festival of 2017. As an ensemble, we are ambassadors for our art, instruments, and music, opening doors of new experience and understanding to the audience and performers of tomorrow.
Keith Collins (recorder, Baroque bassoon, early harp)
C. Keith Collins (recorder, bassoon, harp) is adjunct instructor in historical bassoon and recorder at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music's Historical Performance Institute, and also teaches historical bassoon at the University of North Texas. He has performed with many of today's leading early music ensembles, including Washington Bach Consort, Tafelmusik, National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Opera Atelier, Apollo's Fire, Echoing Air, Folger Consort, and the Grammy-nominated Musik Ekklesia. Keith is a founding member of the award-winning shawm and curtal band Ensemble Lipzodes. In 2008 Keith completed the first doctorate in historical bassoon performance at Indiana University's Jacob School of Music. When not practicing or making reeds, Keith enjoys volunteering at Indiana Raptor Center, a hospital and educational facility for birds of prey. He serves on the Board of Directors and gives educational presentations about raptor ecology and conservation to the public.
Jeffrey Collier (recorder, Baroque flute, tenor)
Jeffrey Collier is a founding member of Echoing Air and enjoys transcribing and arranging music of the Baroque period for the ensemble. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he studied singing with Mac Morgan and performed on recorder and other early instruments with the Emory Early Music Consort. Following his completion of medical school he has remained an avid musical performer specializing in Early Music. He studied Baroque flute with Barbara Kallaur, and he has participated in many intensive workshops and masterclasses with such artists as Christopher Krueger, Michael Lynn, Max van Egmond, Eva Legene, Janet See, and Stephen Preston. He currently calls Indianapolis home, and has performed on both Baroque flute and recorder with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble Voltaire as well as ensembles throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Reviews have praised his “pure and focused” playing (Classical Voice of North Carolina, March 2005). One reviewer stated it was “like hearing the angels in heaven…” (University of Indianapolis Reflector, February 2005). He sings tenor with the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. When not practicing music, Dr. Collier practices Family Medicine in a private solo office in Carmel, IN.
Christopher Armijo (Recorder)
Christopher Armijo is an instrumentalist specializing in the Baroque and Renaissance recorder. He is a performing member of Forgotten Clefs, Inc. (Bloomington, Indiana’s Renaissance wind band) for which he also serves as corresponding secretary. Christopher can be heard regularly as a soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, as well as several other venues in Monroe and Brown Counties. He has performed in early music workshops across the country including the San Francisco Early Music Society Baroque Workshop, the Mountain Collegium Early Music Workshop, and the Amherst Early Music Festival, where he has worked with Bruce Dickey, and members of ¡Sacabuche!, the Flanders Recorder Quartet, and Tempesta di Mare. A diverse musician, Christopher has also recently begun performing on the cornetto and shawm in period ensembles. He is also a member of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s horn section.
BA in Music, Columbus State University; MM in Recorder, Indiana University – Historical Performance Institute.
Thomas Gerber (harpsichord and organ continuo)
Thomas Gerber is a founding member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble Voltaire as well as Echoing Air. A graduate of Hillsdale College and Ball State University, Gerber received a Master of Music degree in harpsichord and early music performance practice from Indiana University. Mr. Gerber is assistant professor of music and humanities at Marian University, Indianapolis, and also serves on the faculties of the University of Indianapolis, where he teaches music history and coaches the student Baroque ensemble, and Butler University, where he teaches harpsichord. His continuo keyboard skills are highly sought after by period instrument groups and modern orchestras alike. He has performed with the Ann Arbor-based 17th-century-music chamber quintet Anaphantasia, the liturgical early music ensemble Musik Ekklesia, and other period-instrument early-music groups including Alchymy, Catacoustic Consort, the Callipygian Players, Pills to Purge Melancholy, Ars Antigua Chicago, and Haydn-by-the-Lake. He also performs regularly with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared at the Early Music Festival of St. Louis, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, and the Tropical Baroque Festival. He can be heard on the Dorian, Concordia, Indie Barock, and Catalpa Classics labels.
Christine Kyprianides (viola da gamba and Baroque cello)
During nearly thirty years in Europe, Christine Kyprianides recorded and performed throughout the world with prominent early music ensembles including Huelgas Ensemble, Musica Antiqua Köln, Les Adieux, Ganassi-Consort, Das Kleine Konzert, Collegium Carthusianum, and Les Arts Florissants. She has also been a long-time collaborator of fortepianist Richard Burnett at Finchcocks in Kent, England. Her recording credits include over 70 albums for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Sony, Harmonia Mundi, Capriccio, Virgin Classics and Globe. Kyprianides holds degrees in performance from the Peabody and the New England Conservatories, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; at the Tanglewood Berkshire Music Center she was awarded the Gregor Piatagorsky Cello Prize.
Kyprianides has taught early music performance practice at the Dresden Academy of Early Music, the Lemmens Institute of the University of Louvain, the conservatory for Liturgical Music of Halle/Saale, the Conservatories of Cologne and Buenos Aires, the Catholic University of Santiago de Chile, the Summer Seminar of Early Music in Wallonia, the University of Denver, and Indiana University. Currently a resident of Indiana, she is a member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Voltaire, and Echoing Air. In addition to her performance activities, Kyprianides is active as a scholar, presenting and publishing papers on performance practice issues and the social history of music, and has recently joined the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster.
Nathan Medley (countertenor)
Countertenor Nathan Medley has emerged in recent years as one of the leading younger-generation countertenors, with notable success internationally in concert and opera. A founding member of Echoing Air, he has sung at some of the major stages of the world including the English National Opera and Barbican Centre in London; Carnegie Hall; Philharmonie di Paris; Kölner Philharmonie; La Salle Pleyel in Paris; Palais de Musique, Strasbourg; Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; The Lucerne Festival; Avery Fisher Hall in New York; and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. He has enjoyed recent performances at the Boston Early Music Festival (Ottone in Monteverdi’s L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Andre Campra's Carnival de Venice), and has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, Opera Omaha, Pacific MusicWorks, Mercury Baroque, Seraphic Fire, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Cincinnati Collegium, Miami Bach Society, and Dayton Bach Society. In May 2016 he premiered a new song cycle by John Harbison for countertenor and gamba consort in Chicago with Second City Musick.
Nathan Medley made his professional debut in 2012 in John Adams’ The Gospel According to the other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmononic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. He returned to Los Angeles in 2013 for Peter Sellars' staging of The Gospel According to the other Mary which toured to Switzerland and New York City, and again in 2015 under the baton of John Adams performing Olga Neuwirth’s staged song/play, Hommage á Klaus Nomi. He made his English National Opera debut in 2014 in Adams’ The Gospel According to the other Mary, also staged by Peter Sellars. The work was recently recorded for Duetsche Grammophon by the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle.
Other opera credits include Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina (Opera Omaha), Speranza in Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Boston Early Music Festival), Athamus in Handel's Semele (Pacific MuisicWorks, Seattle), the title role in Cavalli's L'Ormindo with Alchemy, Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dema in Cavalli's L'Egisto, Le Peinture in Charpentier's Les Arts Florissants, Armenian/Un Des Arts in Andre Campra's Carnival de Venice (BEMF), Acteon in Charpentier's Acteon, and Ottone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, where critics in Cleveland praised him for an interpretation "sung with baroque perfection.”
Steven Rickards (countertenor and founder)
Steven Rickards is the founder and President of Echoing Air, Inc. He has received international acclaim as one of America’s finest countertenors of his generation. His varied career spans music from the medieval period to the present day. Rickards has appeared domestically and internationally with many organizations in the performance of Baroque works. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah with the Oratorio Society of New York. He performed Bach’s Mass in B Minor worldwide in performances throughout France with The Festival Singers under the direction of Robert Shaw. Subsequent performances of the work include American, Australian, and European performances with Joshua Rifkin and the Bach Ensemble, where the masterpiece was performed with one singer to a part. Rickards has also performed numerous Baroque works with other leading ensembles including the American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, the Folger Consort, the Gabrieli Consort, the New London Consort, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the baroque orchestras of Indianapolis, Seattle, and Portland. Ensemble singing has played an important part in Rickards’ musical life. His career has included membership in leading proponents of the choral and chamber art, including Chanticleer and Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices. Rickards can be heard on numerous labels including Chanticleer, Decca, Dorian, Four Winds, Gothic, Harmonia Mundi, Koch, Newport Classics, Smithsonian, and Teldec. On the Naxos Label he recorded two solo albums of songs by John Dowland and Thomas Campion with lutenist, Dorothy Linell.
Rickards is a published composer and an advocate for new music. In his book Twentieth Century Countertenor Repertoire (Scarecrow Press), he championed the creation and collection of contemporary works for the countertenor. It is the only published resource on the subject. His interest in contemporary repertoire has led to his inclusion in the premiere of many chamber and operatic works. He took part in the premiere of John Adams’s oratorio El Niño at the Châtelet Opera in Paris in 2000. Subsequent performances of the work include the Adelaide Symphony, the BBC Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Malmö Opera, the Moscow State Academic Philharmonic Society, Norske Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Tokyo Symphony. Additional operatic premieres include John Eaton’s operas Danton and Robespierre at Indiana University, and The Tempest at the Santa Fe Opera. He also premiered Bruno Moretti’s Vespro, with the New York City Ballet. American premieres include performances of Michael Nyman’s Self-Laudatory Hymn of Inanna and Her Omnipotence at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
Rickards received his undergraduate and masters degrees from Indiana University. A Fulbright-Hays Scholarship and Rotary Grant provided funds for additional study in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His doctorate was conferred by Florida State University. He is currently on the faculty of the Historical Performance Institute at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He also serves on the faculties of Butler University, Marian University and the University of Indianapolis. He was a recent recipient of a 2015-2016 Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship presented by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
Andrew Rader (countertenor guest artist)
Countertenor Andrew Rader has performed on three continents, both as a soloist, and in chamber music. He has sung the title role in Giulio Cesare, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Eustazio in Opera Mission’s Rinaldo in New York City, and he was the cover for the three countertenors in Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the LA Philharmonic.
Concert work includes St. John Passion, Come, Ye Sons of Art, Fire and Ice: Michelangelo the Writer, Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Chichester Psalms, Handel's Dixit Dominus, and L’Amfiparnaso, Carmina Burana, Bach Mass in G Minor and numerous cantatas, including BWV 170 upcoming in April. In his performance of Carissimi’s Historia di Job, San Francisco Classical Voice said, “his voice was as strong as his character’s faith.”
Competition successes have included Second Prize in the 2015 Nicholas Loren Vocal Competition, Second Prize in the 2015 Handel Aria Competition of the Madison Early Music Festival, Third Prize in the 2011 Gianni Bergamo Classic Music Award, and Third Prize 2014 Orpheus National Vocal Competition.
Not only at home in Baroque and Modern music, he specializes in a varied repertoire, including jazz, bel canto, and stealing a few of the trouser roles from women. Whether in concert, stage, or chamber repertoire, he has been consistently praised for his clear, strong tone and effective use of text. When not on the stage, he splits his time between coaching fellow singers and spoiling his overweight cat, Hildie.
Board of Directors