Directors of Ensemble Soleil
Peter Tourin has been involved in the early music community for many years as a viola da gamba researcher, builder and performer. A grant-winning researcher with the National Endowment for the Arts, he travelled to Europe, visiting museums in Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and Holland to study period string instruments.
In 1979 he published A Comprehensive Catalogue of Historical Viole da Gamba in Public and Private Collections, now a research project of the Smithsonian Institution.
He is one of the foremost builders of viole da gamba in the world, and as a young person, he also built several harpsichords as an apprentice at Hubbard Harpsichords in the Boston area. Together with his parents, he located to Vermont in the 1970's and founded The Tourin Musica, a family business building viole da gamba, harps and other instruments based on designs derived from historical models.
Active in public performances, music education and workshops, Peter is in demand as a workshop leader and "viol doctor" for the Viola da Gamba Society of New England and the VdGSA.
He has performed and recorded with The Oberlin Consort of Viols and The Boston Viol Consort and is the technical director for the Ensemble Soleil's historical multi-media grant project Glimpses in Time.
He is a versatile musician and performs comfortably on viola da gamba, cello, string bass, and guitar in styles as diverse as orchestral and chamber music, jazz, bluegrass, and tango. In recent years, he has divided his work time between music and computer software design.
Jean Sawyer Twombly is a Master's graduate in Early Music Performance from Cambridge, Massachusetts Longy - Bard College in Baroque violin and viola da gamba. She has attended Oberlin's Baroque Performance Institute, the Ringve Museum and the Amherst Early Music workshops. She led Ensemble Soleil in their appearances on WGBH radio's Classical Performances and Morning Pro Musica. In addition to her work with Ensemble Soleil,
she has performed and recorded with a number of symphonic and chamber organizations, including Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony, and Handel and Haydn Society.
Adept at the informal music genres, jazz improv, fiddling, and blues, she may be heard together with her husband, composer Stephen D. Twombly, in the recording Reality Check. For a number of years, she was president of New London's Summer Music Associates concert series and a board member of the Viola da Gamba Society of New England.
She is well-known as a string teacher and adjunct Assistant Professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department of Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire.
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