Originally from New York, Debra Gomez-Tapio is the musical director of the Fioretto Ensemble. She studied early music in the United States and received the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Sarah Lawrence College, New York. She continued her studies in Switzerland at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis as a Fulbright scholar.
Gomez-Tapio’s speciality is in Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque music. She is a vocalist and plays medieval harp. She is also a known choral director and vocal coach. While resident in Europe she appeared with numerous celebrated early music ensembles (including Ricercare, the Ferrara Ensemble, and Sequentia). She has over ten recordings on prestigious labels (including Deutsche Harmonia Mundi).
She now lives in Metsäkansa, Finland, teaches at the University of Tampere, holds master classes in early music and voice and directs Fioretto and Lumous ensembles. Since 2005 she has conducted the Handel Oratorio Choir and provided voice training for the Tampere Philharmonic Choir. In 2009 Debra received the Artist of the Year award for the Pirkanmaa region of Finland for her outstanding achievements in choral as well as early music.
Wach auf min Hort (Program: O Scholares!)
Percussionist Mikael Heikkilä graduated from the Tampere Conservatory as a teacher of percussion in 2004 and since then has studies at the University of Toronto. In addition to classical percussion, he is familiar with folk music and various ethnic drumming techniques, including the West African djembe, various frame drums and tambourines. He works as a freelance musician and in addition to being a member of the Fioretto Ensemble is also a member of the percussion ensemble Osuma, which performs modern music.
Frame drum improvisation (Program: O Scholares!)
Janek Öller has a Master’s degree in music and has studied recorder, bagpipes and early music – first at the Sibelius Academy and later several times in Milan, Italy. He performs actively at home and abroad both as a soloist and in various chamber music ensembles. In addition to his work with Fioretto, Öller is a founding member of the mediaeval music ensemble Oliphant and the recorder ensemble Tuulen Viemä (Gone with the Wind).
Janek has performed regularly as a chamber musician in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy. Since 1991 he has added the bagpipes to his instruments, having studied under Riccardo Delfino.
Mit Ganzem Willen (Program: O Scholares!)
Doctor of Musical Arts Ilpo Laspas is one of Finland's premier organists and cembalists. In addition to studying in Sibelius Academy, he has also studied abroad, for example in Berlin, and gained success in several international competitions with both of his instruments. Finnish Cultural FOundation and Pro Musica foundation, among others, have supported his artistic endeavours and research work.
Laspas is an avid soloist and chamber musician both in Finland and abroad. He has been performing as the cembalist and organist of Fioretto Ensemble since 2014.
Kay Stonefelt (returning guest artist) is a Professor of Music and Chair of the Percussion Studies Area at SUNY Fredonia, where she teaches private studio lessons and conducts the SUNY Fredonia Percussion Ensemble. Kay joined the Fredonia School of Music faculty in 1993 while she was concurrently the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant to Ghana, West Africa. She is a recipient of a 2006 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2010 Poummit Faculty Recognition Award in the School of Music.
Kay has performed in Germany, France, and the former USSR with the Stuttgart Opera Orchestra, and presented solo percussion concerts in Munich and Constance, Germany. Kay was a member of the Baltimore Symphony percussion section and, as a New York City freelance musician, she performed in over 20 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. During her time in NYC, she recorded the music for numerous commercial products and can also be heard in more recent recordings of the compositions of Cindy Cox and Eric Richards. Kay has conducted and performed on several occasions at the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. As an invited participant, she continues to present workshops and master classes at international institutions and festivals.
Lumous Ensemble is a professional early music vocal ensemble which often performs with Fioretto Ensemble. The Artistic Director of the ensemble is Debra Gomez-Tapio.