About the Directors
Dr. Vera Kochanowsky, harpsichordist and director of Illuminare, is a graduate of the Oberlin and New England Conservatories and holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stanford University, where she specialized in the performance practices of the 17th and 18th centuries. Dr. Kochanowsky was also the recipient of a Fulbright grant for harpsichord and early music studies in Europe. Her teachers have included John Gibbons, Arthur Haas, George Houle, Alan Curtis and Gordon Murray. Active as a harpsichord soloist, chamber musician, and singer, Dr. Kochanowsky has performed with numerous Washington era groups including the National Gallery Chamber Players, the Bach Sinfonia, and the Washington Kantorei. Her solo performance at the Phillips Collection was praised by The Washington Post as “a first rate recital... poised, pristine, luxuriant.” She has also made solo appearances at the National Gallery of Art and the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center (winner of the 1995 and 2002 recitalist competition). She has concertized extensively with harpsichordist Thomas MacCracken, and together they have released two CDs: Pour 2 clavecins and A Decade of Duos. Dr. Kochanowsky founded Carmina in 1997, and in 2006 she started the Carmina Women’s Ensemble, now known as Illuminare. She teaches harpsichord and chamber music privately and is a helpline volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Carmina director Dr. Hubert Beckwith teaches music history and literature at George Mason University. After receiving a PhD in musicology from the University of Maryland, he served as the first executive secretary of the American Handel Society. For over fifteen years he taught at the University of Maryland University College, as well as at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has contributed to projects ranging from a series of international Roman Catholic worship resources to the National Tune Index of early American wind-band music. Since 1994 he has been music director at Living Faith Lutheran Church in Rockville, Maryland. A composer, arranger, and writer on music, Dr. Beckwith often prepares performing editions for Carmina and Illuminare; for Carmina’s 2004 concert at the German Embassy, he composed an enthusiastically received birthday tribute to Beethoven. He has sung with Carmina since 1998 and served as assistant director from 2007 to 2012.