Mensa Sonora


Mensa Sonora, an ensemble based in Washington, DC, unites four individually successful performers dedicated to exploring and reviving this vibrant repertoire. It is the shared thread of Oberlin Conservatory and Baroque Performance Institute, with which each of the four members has been associated either as students or faculty, that ultimately brought Mensa Sonora together. The group was formed in 1996 and played its debut concert in Cleveland.

Risa Browder (violin) grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. Ms. Browder received her professional training at Oberlin, in London, and in Basel, where her teachers were Marilyn McDonald, Catherine Mackintosh, and Jaap Schröder. An Associate of the Royal College of Music, London, Ms. Browder maintained a demanding concert schedule in that city for nine years before deciding to return to America. As chamber musician Ms. Browder has worked with Emma Kirkby, the Consort of Musick, the Purcell Quartet, and London Baroque and can be heard on recordings with them on Virgin Classics, EMI, Chandos, Hyperion, and Musica Oscura. She has played and recorded with numerous London orchestras including London Classical Players (Roger Norrington), English Baroque Soloists (John Eliot Gardiner), Academy of Ancient Music (Christopher Hogwood), and English Concert (Trevor Pinnock). Since returning to this country, she has kept busy with ensembles such as Smithsonian Chamber Players, Violins of Lafayette, and Washington Bach Consort. She is concert master of Capriole in Williamsburg and violinist in Trio Riot.

Julie Andrijeski (violin) specializes in historically-inspired performances of music and dance ca. 1550-1800. Ms. Andrijeski appears with groups including Apollo's Fire (Cleveland), Chatham Baroque (Pittsburgh), Cecilia's Circle, Brandywine Baroque (Delaware), and a Celtic trio, Shanua (Cleveland). Teaching credits include baroque violin instruction at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and, for the past three years, direction of the baroque orchestra and teacher of baroque dance at Case Western Reserve University. She frequently serves as both concertmaster and choreographer/director for projects at Clayton State College (Atlanta), Kent State, Indiana University and CWRU. Ms. Andrijeski's most recent and ambitious project cast her as director of Handel's opera Il Pastor Fido, wherein she led the orchestra from the violin, choreographed the dances, and played the role of the Goddess, Diana. She holds an M.M. from Northwestern University and a B.M. from the University of Denver and is currently a doctoral candidate for degrees in Historical Performance and Violin Performance at CWRU and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

John Moran (violoncello), a native of the Washington, DC area, holds performance degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He is an active freelance musician appearing on cello, viola da gamba, and basse de violon in both Europe and the United States, performing with the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the Violins of Lafayette, Capriole, Folger Consort, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, The Consort of Musicke, and English Baroque Soloists. On top of his busy concert schedule Mr. Moran is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation "Techniques of Expression in Viennese String Music (1780-1830)" at King's College London and has recently begun work on a historical monograph of the cello for Yale University Press. Recording credits include Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammaphon, Erato, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and Musica Oscura. Mr. Moran has two young sons and is a founding member of Trio Riot, formerly known as the Reicha Trio.

Keri Mikkelson (harpsichord), co-founder of Fiori Musicali, holds degrees in harpsichord and piano from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute. Ms. Mikkelson enjoys performing both as soloist and chamber musician. Her solo appearances include performances with the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra and Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, the Washington Bach Sinfonia, and the Peabody Sinfonia. As chamber musician, Ms. Mikkelson has had the pleasure of collaborating with such groups as the Baltimore Bach Society, Voices of the Golden Age, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, the Franklin Chamber Players, and Parallel Collective. Ms. Mikkelson has won the Amherst Symphony Competition, the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, and the Kiwanis Festival Competition of Canada. She is on the faculty at St. Paul's School and Goucher College and is presently completing her doctoral degree at the Peabody Institute.

Watch Past Performances

Video 6/28/1999: Mensa Sonora

Mensa Sonora explores both 17th and 18th century chamber music.

Mensa Sonora