First Concert – Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 5 pm

Burning River Baroque

Paula Maust, harpsichord, organ
Malina Rauschenfels, soprano
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano
Phillip W. Serna, viola da gamba

The name Burning River Baroque pays tribute to the past, present, and future of Northeast Ohio. There was a time when our rivers would catch fire and burn. Today, the land those rivers travel burns with the spirit and conviction of a community whose best days lay ahead. We are as marked by the currents of history as we are the ceaseless pursuit of new frontiers. So too is the repertoire and beating heart of Burning River Baroque. Carrying that fire to our stage are Malina Rauschenfels, soprano, Paula Maust, harpsichord and organ, Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano, and Phillip W. Serna, viola da gamba.

Malina Rauschenfels is a soprano, composer and multi-instrumentalist transplanted to Cleveland after 11 years in New York City. Praised by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as “spellbinding” and for her “powerful clarion tones and crisp articulation,” she has also been commended by for her “exceptional vocal range, strong acting abilities, gripping theatricality, and commanding gestures, both musical and physical.” Equally comfortable with early music and contemporary music, she has sung with Quire Cleveland, Contrapunctus, Marble Sanctuary Choir, Toby Twining Music, Trinity Chamber Singers, and C4 – the Choral Composer Conductor Collective. Malina has appeared in broadcast performances on WCLV Cleveland and can be heard recorded on “Musica Celestial” with the Newberry Consort, “Caritas et Amor” with Marble Sanctuary Choir and “Madrigalian Motets from Jacobean England” and “Carols for Quire from the Old & New Worlds Volume 3” with Quire Cleveland. Recent engagements included performances in “Celestial Sirens” with The Newberry Consort, concerts on the SoHIP early music series in Boston with Burning River Baroque, Cavalli’s opera ‘Apollo e Dafne’ with Venice Opera Project, and a recital with organ in Venice, Italy. Last summer included three BEMF fringe programs, Cavalli opera ‘Il Giasone,’ Three Bridges Festival with Emma Kirkby, an opera written for her by Rachel Devorah Trapp performed in Halifax Canada through Opera from Scratch, and ‘Acis and Galatea’ with El Fuego in Chapel Hill, NC. More information can be found at

Praised as “a refined and elegant performer” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Paula Maust performs extensively as a harpsichordist and organist across the United States as a soloist, chamber musician, and church musician. Her diverse musical career focuses on historical performance practice and combines her distinct interests in performance, pedagogy, and scholarship. Paula is a co-director of both Musica Spira and Burning River Baroque, and she has also collaborated with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Baroque Band, El Fuego Fire, and New Comma Baroque. Recent significant performances include Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in G Minor, Duruflé’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In addition to performing, Paula teaches masterclasses and presents engaging lectures to introduce people to the harpsichord. She also worked as a music theory and ear training graduate teaching assistant at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Paula was recently awarded the Dean’s DMA Fellowship to pursue doctoral studies in harpsichord at the Peabody Institute. She earned the MM Degree in Early Music: Harpsichord from the Peabody Institute and the MM Degree in Organ from the Cleveland Institute of Music. At CIM, Paula was awarded the Dean’s Award for the graduate student with the highest academic achievement, and she also completed the Early Music Certificate through Case Western Reserve University. She completed the BM Degree in Church music at Valparaiso University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was an associate scholar in the interdisciplinary honors college. Her teachers have included Adam Pearl, Webb Wiggins, Todd Wilson, and Lorraine Brugh. Further information can be found at her website:

Called “ an astonishing singer’” by the Chicago Tribune, Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, has performed as a soloist in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America and the Arab Emirates. In 2013, Stoppelenburg won the Chicago Oratorio Award, as well as a second place in the American Prize Opera Competition. She performed for Dutch King Willem Alexander in March 2014. She has appeared with Camerata Amsterdam, Radio Philharmonisch Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Haymarket Opera Company, Music of the Baroque, Boulder Bach Festival and the Arizona Bach Festival. She was be the soloist of a series of twenty Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. Matthew Passions with Camerata Amsterdam in the Spring 2016.

The ensemble Brothers and Sisters (vocal duo Charlotte and Josefien Stoppelenburg and piano duo and brothers Martijn and Stefan Blaak) recently appeared live on Radio 4, the Dutch classical radio station and just made their ensemble debut in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As a vocal duo, Charlotte and Josefien have performed in nearly every Dutch concert hall.

Josefien’s second love is painting. She was the artist in Residence at the Evanston Art Center in 2014 and paints frequently on commission. See also and

Phillip W. Serna performs on double bass with Midwestern orchestras as well as on viols with ensembles including Black Tulip, Harmonie, the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, New Comma Baroque, the Newberry Consort of Viols, the Secret of the Muses, the Spirit of Gambo, and many others. Phillip has appeared on Chicago’s 98.7FM WFMT, Wisconsin Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio and WUIS NPR and can be heard on CD releases from Clarion, Cedille, Soundbyte and Varèse Sarabande Records.

Holding Masters and Doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, Phillip teaches double bass and viola da gamba at Valparaiso University, double bass at North Central College, viola da gamba and viol consort at the Music Institute of Chicago, and is assistant director and sponsor of viol consorts and Illinois’ first public-school period-instrument Baroque ensemble and viol consort at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, and is music director of the Early Music outreach program Viols in Our Schools – which earned him Early Music America’s Outreach Award for 2010 and their Early Music Month prize for

Founded in Cleveland in 2012, Burning River Baroque takes its name from the famous incident in which the badly polluted Cuyahoga River caught on fire. This name not only connotes the fiery passion which the ensemble brings to its performances, but also reflects the practice of tying history and social change to music and current issues in a way that feels fresh and relevant to contemporary audiences. While Baroque performance practice informs the group’s presentation of historical works, they have evolved its presentation to encourage a participatory concert atmosphere, breaking the fourth wall and involving audiences in the drama that is occurring onstage.

Burning River Baroque seeks to throw open the doors of the concert hall to audience members who may never have considered that classical music had something to offer them or could reflect their life experience and concerns. Classical music can be perceived as elitist or stuffy; Burning River Baroque shows that it can be the opposite. It is their mission to create concerts that educate and appeal to all types of audiences. Burning River Baroque has performed in NYC, Boston, Berkeley, California, Canada, and extensively in Ohio. The Boston Musical Intelligencer described them as a group that “…left an indelible imprint on my psyche.” Co-directors Malina Rauschenfels and Paula Maust manage the group and hire outside artists as necessary for a diverse array of programs each concert season.