Ensemble New Amsterdam was founded in 2000 by Crissman Taylor, mezzo-soprano, and Mary Hammann, violist. A lifetime friendship connects and deep love of music drives the group, whose members live both in Amsterdam, Holland and the former New Amsterdam, New York City. The ensemble concentrates on works for voice and strings, working to illuminate the written word with music.

 

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Past projects include a theatre piece based on the the letters of the Dutch 18th century writer Belle van Zuylen, concerts with newly commissioned pieces on both the poems of Langston Hughes and the Persian poet Rumi, with the actor/composer Robert Owens. During the American tour in March 2014, the Ensemble's program highlights salon music of the 20th century. We are proud to have commissioned new works based on the poems of Wendy Cope!  For more information on booking and the concert tour: info@artistinbalance.org

 Before TV

Before TV, people would sing and play for each other where ever they met. Our Salon music concert showcases French Salon music of Satie, Loeffler, Vieuxtemps, folk inspired music of Scotland and Ireland, English salon music of Frank Bridge and our new song cycle by David Spears, based on the poems of Wendy Cope! All with the combined textures and strains of voice and viola.

Crissman Taylor, mezzo-soprano

Crissman Taylor is an active soloist in recitals, chamber music concerts, and performances of cantatas and oratorios. Her varied musical background and solid musicianship makes her in demand as soloist. Her clear and flexible voice is heard in performances spanning a wide range of repertoire from Bach to contemporary. Her background as a violinist has lead her to specialise in the chamber music repertoire for voice and strings. She came to Holland from Boston in 1991 to complete her vocal studies at the Utrecht School for the Arts, in the class of Udo Reinemann, in 1995. She lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands and teaches at the Utrecht Conservatory since 1992.

Crissman Taylor began her professional performing career as a violinist at the age of fifteen, performing as soloist and chamber musician, often taking part in Boston’s baroque music scene. After her studies at the Tanglewood Institute, she went on to study at the Manhattan School of Music under Raphael Bronstein, and enjoyed a varied career as singer and violinist for more than ten years in Boston and New York, before deciding to concentrate on singing. She is a founding member of the Ensemble New Amsterdam, and also the Ensemble Ex Patria, with whom she performed concerts of the works of the composer Robert Owens in Germany in 2004 and 2005 with the composer at the piano. She also sang Mr. Owens’s piece “Fields of Wonder” with the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra in Pennsylvania, US in May 2004.

Ms. Taylor’s interest in all aspects of learning lead her to pursue a broader study, including the completion of a degree at Harvard University in Psychology and Social Science in 1987, and the extensive study of the Alexander Technique. She is the director of the Utrecht Alexander Technique Institute for Musicians at the Utrecht School for the Arts, where she works with singers and instrumentalists.

Mary Hammann, Viola

Mary Hammann, an active viola soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer, has been heard extensively in North America, Europe and the Far East. One of five musical sisters, she graduated from the Curtis Institute and Mannes College of Music, studying with Michael Tree, Karen Tuttle and Walter Trampler. Ms. Hammann has appeared in numerous chamber music festivals, including Marlboro Music and the Grand Canyon Festival. She has toured and recorded with Orpheus, Philomusica, Solisti, the Brandenburg Ensemble and the Metropolitan Opera. A member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1992, she has recorded on Sony Classics and Deutsche Grammaphon. Ms. Hammann has made five recordings with Auréole, her award-winning flute-viola-harp trio, on the Koch label. As concert soloist, she has performed at Lincoln Center with Solisti New York for Mostly Mozart and with the Jupiter Symphony. In addition to her recordings, she has performed live on many public radio programs, including Performance Today and St Paul Sunday Morning.