Our Artists

alexandranew2013 Alexandra MacCracken, the founder and director of Ensemble Gaudior, has performed as a baroque violinist with the Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette, and Modern Musick, as well as with other period-instrument ensembles in Richmond, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York. After earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Ms. MacCracken taught for several years at the University of Virginia, where she also played in the Piedmont Chamber Players, a faculty ensemble. Other highlights of her extensive experience as a chamber musician include membership in the Squareknot Quartet, whose repertoire ranged from the classics to innovative arrangements in popular, folk, and jazz styles, and more recently in the baroque groups La Stravaganza and Harmonia Nova. Ms. MacCracken currently freelances on modern as well as baroque violin and in addition occasionally finds time to play Renaissance consort music on the treble viol.


Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 8.54.07 PM Marta Howard, violist, performs throughout the Washington area in groups as diverse as the Washington Bach Consort and The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and in venues ranging from the National Cathedral to Signature Theatre. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Dr. Howard attended the Interlochen Arts Academy and holds degrees in viola performance from the University of Wisconsin, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Iowa. She has participated in summer festivals around the US, Canada, and Italy, including the Aspen Music Festival and Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and she has studied chamber music with the Cleveland, Tokyo, and Stradivari Quartets. She has taught at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Georgetown University.


Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 8.54.07 PM Caroline Levy, baroque violin, performs with the Folger Consort and Washington Bach Consort. Formerly a music teacher in the Fairfax County Schools and at the Levine School of Music, she currently maintains a private studio. Ms. Levy’s career has also included playing with symphony orchestras in Augusta and Savannah (Georgia), Charleston and Columbia (South Carolina), and Asheville (North Carolina), as well as locally with the Alexandria Symphony, National Gallery Orchestra, and Washington Concert Opera.


Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 8.54.07 PM Leslie Nero, a native Washingtonian, spent many years in Ontario and Quebec performing in modern orchestras before returning to the D.C. area, where she is currently an active freelance musician on both modern and baroque violin and viola. In recent years she has performed locally with a wide range of local period-instrument ensembles, and has participated in summer early-music festivals in Oberlin, Vancouver, Boston, Toronto, and Albuquerque. In addition to her performing career, Ms. Nero teaches beginning strings for the Alexandria City Public Schools.


dougpoplin Doug Poplinvioloncello, performs regularly in venues throughout the metropolitan Washington area as a recitalist, chamber musician, and ensemble member. Never content with standing still, he has pushed his artistic flexibility to include both early music—performing and recording on baroque violoncello with The Bach Sinfonia as well as concertizing with The Washington Bach Consort—and experimental music on electric ’cello with the avant-garde ensemble BLK W/ BEAR and his newest collaboration with singer-songwriter Rich Morel. Mr. Poplin received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Minnesota and undertook graduate studies at the University of Maryland, where he was an Orchestral Fellow and worked with the Guarneri String Quartet.




TGM head 8_11 Thomas MacCracken performs in the Washington area on historical keyboard instruments (harpsichord, fortepiano, and continuo organ) as well as recorder and baroque flute, with groups including the Washington Bach Consort, Bach Sinfonia, Ensemble Gaudior, and The Friends of Fasch. While earning a doctorate in musicology at the University of Chicago he was active as an early-music performer in that city and has been a founding member of several ensembles both there and since moving to Virginia in 1985. As a scholar, from 1996 to 2006 he was editor of the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, and since 1991 he has been involved in documenting all surviving antique viols worldwide, a project whose early stages were supported by a research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution.