Levine Presents: Early and Black


Saturday, June 4th, 2022

Join us for an evening of early music by Black European composers Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Paris 1745-1799), and Charles Ignatius Sancho (London 1729-1789).  In addition to his composing talents, Bologne was a famous French violinist, conductor, and fencer. Sancho was a renowned author, journalist, entrepreneur, abolitionist, and the first Black Briton to vote. Both were amazing, multi-talented and extremely influential men in their countries whose delightful music is sadly little-known today.

Featuring: Mary Findley, baroque violin; Leslie Nero, baroque violin; Seth Castleton, baroque cello; and Patrick Merrill, harpsichord

About the Artists

Mary Findley, baroque violin

An active musician, Mary has performed in concerts internationally in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Holland. She has performed locally at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection and National Gallery and in New York at the Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Hall. Mary has been a featured soloist with many orchestras including Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Schippers. Her concertmaster duties include with the Tulsa Little Symphony (OK) and Amadeus Orchestra (VA). Mary was Artist-in-Residence in Oklahoma and Ohio State Arts Councils.

Mary has been on the Levine faculty since 1981 teaching private lessons on violin and viola, and leads both the Suzuki New Beginners Violin and Suzuki parent classes. She is the former String and Suzuki String Chair of which she held both positions twice and for multiple years. Mary received her B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. in Violin Performance from University of Cincinnati College, Conservatory of Music. She completed postgraduate study abroad at Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany and at Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Mary is registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed Suzuki Teacher Training Violin Books 1-10. She has also attended extensive baroque workshops with Oberlin Conservatory and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Leslie Nero, baroque violin

A native of Washington, DC, Leslie Nero was professionally active for 15 years in Ontario and Quebec, Canada, playing in several orchestras. Upon returning to the Washington metropolitan area, she began playing as a freelance violinist and violist with both modern and baroque ensembles. She often performs with Arcovoce, Opera Lafayette, Modern Musick, the Folger Consort, and the Washington Bach Consort. She also enjoys teaching violin to many eager fourth and fifth grade students in the Alexandria City Public Schools. Her violin is by Jason Viseltear and the bow is a 17th century model by Steve Marvin.

Seth Castleton, baroque cello

Seth has soloed with the BYU Philharmonic, performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and was finalist in the UMD Concerto Competition with the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor, in 2011. Seth’s cello playing has taken him to several summer music festivals, including the National Orchestral Institute, Chautauqua, and Kent/Blossom Music. Seth received his B.M. Brigham Young University and M.M. from the University of Maryland, and is pursuing a D.M.A. at the University of Maryland.

Patrick Merrill, harpsichord

Patrick Merrill completed his Master’s degree at Peabody in harpsichord performance in 2015 with Adam Pearl. In 2016, he won second prize at the eighth Mae and Irving Jurow International Harpsichord Competition. As a harpsichordist, he has participated in master classes with Davitt Moroney and Trevor Pinnock on antique instruments, served as accompanist at the Amherst Early Music Winter Workshop and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and coached ensembles for Capitol Early Music. His continuo work includes appearances with Tempesta di Mare, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Washington Chamber Orchestra, the Bach in Baltimore series, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He also co-founded and performs with the Baltimore-based early music ensemble S’amusant. Mr. Merrill serves on the faculty of the Department of Music at The George Washington University and at Baltimore School for the Arts. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in harpsichord performance at Peabody, for which he is a recipient of the Peabody Dean’s DMA Fellowship.