The Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble was formed in 2003, and is based in Oxford, Mississippi. The group is composed of enthusiastic proponents of the historically informed presentation of music created before 1750, played on recreations of original instruments which are found in museums throughout Europe. These include recorders, viole da gamba, harpsichord, and organ.
These are our members:
Irene Kaufmann Cotelo is a Senior Lecturer of Spanish at the University of Mississippi and a member of the Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble since 2003. She majored in music at the University of Mississippi and holds master’s degrees from the University of Mississippi and the University of Texas at Austin. A native of Uruguay, Ms. Kaufmann played flute with the Uruguayan National Symphony for over a decade. She was also a member of Grupo Barroco and the Orquesta Barroca de Montevideo. In Oxford, she has also played with the Sarah Isom Trio. She studied with Prof. Raul Botella (Montevideo) and participated in master classes by Mario Videla (Argentina), Ricardo Kanjii (Brazil), and Steven Rosenberg (United States), among others. Outside of the classroom and off the stage, you can find Ms. Kaufmann moderating Spanish-practice sessions with community members at La Hora de Español, reading, and walking around town.
Greg Johnson is Head of Special Collections, Blues Curator, and Professor at the University of Mississippi. He is the co-author of 100 Books Every Blues Fan Should Own (Roman & Littlefield, 2014), which won the Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ award for “Best Historical Research in Blues, Gospel, Rhythm & Blues.” In addition to playing double bass with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra he regularly performs traditional and contemporary Celtic and Americana folk, blues, and jazz on a variety of instruments.
Susan Marchant majored in music education at the University of New Hampshire where she played clarinet and cello. She began recorder studies in the early 1970’s and has studied with Frans Brueggen, Frances Blaker, and Han Tol. To this was added the viola da gamba in the mid 1980’s, studying with Martha Bishop and Alison Crum. She has performed early music at festivals, concert series, and on radio and television with the Harwood Ensemble in Chicago, IL and the early music ensemble PanHarmonium in Birmingham, AL. PanHarmonium has performed several medieval stories throughout the U.S. with noted actor and storyteller Dolores Hydock. Ms. Marchant is a member of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and has served on its board of directors.
Warren Steel is professor of music Emeritus at the University of Mississippi, where he taught music history, organ, and harpsichord for 35 years. He holds degrees from Harvard and Michigan; he studied organ and harpsichord with John Fesperman, James Weaver and Edward Parmentier. His books and other writings document early American psalmody and its survival in the Sacred Harp singing tradition, as well as the baroque organs of Mexico. His organ CD Baroque Pearls: Rediscovered Gems from France and Spain was issued on Centaur Records in 2007.
Ronald Vernon is Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of Mississippi, where he taught from 1972 until 2015, serving as Chair of the Department of Music from 1986 to 1996, and as Associate Dean of Liberal Arts from 1997 until 2010. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana Tech University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from The University of Texas at Austin. His professional service includes terms as president of numerous musical societies, including two terms as a member of the board of directors of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, and he currently serves as music director of the Germantown (TN) Symphony and the Memphis Chapter of the American Recorder Society