Photos by Karen E Reeves
Italian tenor, Francesco Pellegrino, began his career during his early childhood. By the age of ten, he was a celebrated singer of traditional and classical Neapolitan music throughout Italy and Europe and recorded his first album of classical Neapolitan songs, circulated on radio stations throughout Italy.
In 1994 Mr. Pellegrino completed his Diploma in Voice Performance with a minor in piano, from the Benevento Conservatory of Music. His performance activities during that time included opera, oratorio, concert songs and traditional Neapolitan music. During his undergraduate, his extraordinary voice caught the attention of legendary tenor, Carlo Bergonzi. Maestro Bergonzi awarded Mr. Pellegrino with The International Arturo Toscanini Foundation Scholarship, inviting him to continue his studies with him at his academy of music, L’Accademia di Canto Verdiano di Busseto, in Parma, Italy and at L’Accademia Chigiana di Musica in Siena, Italy.
Mr. Pellegrino worked in the chorus of Milan’s illustrious Teatro alla Scala from 1997 to 2001. There he sang under the baton of such world-renowned conductors as Riccardo Muti, Roberto Gabbiani, Valerie Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Vladimir Rostropovich, Kent Nagano, Georges Prêtre, and Giuseppe Sinopoli. As a soloist in opera, Mr. Pellegrino has interpreted the roles of Cavaradossi (Tosca), Pinkerton (Butterfly), Il Duca (Rigoletto)) and Alfredo (Traviata) throughout Europe and the United States. His activity in oratorio includes Bruckner’s Te Deum, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solemnelle.
Oboist/Guitarist Marco Cerastudied at the Padua Conservatory of Music (Italy) and at the Musikhochschule der Stadt Basel (Switzerland). In 1996 he was chosen as first oboe for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, with which he performed in Denmark, Portugal, Germany, United Kingdom and South Africa. He regularly collaborates as a soloist with the leading baroque orchestras in Italy and Europe, including Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Italiano, I Sonatori della Gioiosa Marca, Accademia Bizantina, Cappella della Pieta’ de’ Turchini, Ensemble Zefiro, Europa Galante, I Barocchisti, Les Talens Lyriques and Academia Montis Regalis, and has worked with conductors Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Robert King, Jesper Christensen, Jaap ter Linden and Barthold Kuijken. His wide discography includes works for Teldec, Opus 111, Chandos, Dynamic,
Tactus. Marco moved from Italy to Toronto to play with Tafelmusik from 2000-2002, and rejoined the orchestra in January 2007. As a guitar player, Marco is member of Canada’s premiere Arctic Fusion band: Ensemble Polaris.
Lucas Harris began his musical life as a jazz guitarist in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating summa cum laude from Pomona College, he studied for a year in Milan, Italy as one of the first Marco Fodella Foundation scholars and then at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. Lucas now keeps a busy schedule as a continuo player for dozens of Baroque ensembles across North America. He is the regular lutenist with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and is based in Toronto since 2004. Lucas teaches each summer at Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and has also taught for Amherst Early Music, the International Baroque Institute at Longy, and the New York Continuo Collective. He is a founder of the Toronto Continuo Collective, a weekly class and performing ‘pluck band’ dedicated to learning the art of seventeenth-century accompaniment. Some recent projects included a lute concerto program for CBC radio’s Young Artist Series, a solo recital for the Minnesota Guitar Society, a debut solo CD, as well as duo recitals and a recording with the Chinese pipa virtuoso Wen Zhao. Lucas was music director for a production of Cavalli’s La Calisto for the Opera Program at Ohio State University, and has also been invited as guest director with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver. He was praised for his work with Les voix humaines in Montréal: “The revelation of the concert was the Torontonian lutenist Lucas Harris, who weaved a poetic thread through his infinitely subtle interventions. The sweetness and patience of his playing . . . was astonishing.” (Le Devoir)