APERI ANIMAM
 

“a beautiful, angelic experience”

-audience review

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established in 2017

 

An emerging professional ensemble, APERI ANIMAM has quickly drawn the attention of early music enthusiasts and organizations across the United States. Most recently, they were selected as one of four ensembles and soloists to perform on Early Music America’s Emerging Artists Showcase in May 2019.

APERI ANIMAM’s repertoire spans from Gregorian chant to Baroque anthems but focuses in primarily on sacred music from the Renaissance, mainly that of the Tudor masters, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. They have been praised for their attention to ensemble precision as well as innovative programming. Artistic director Daniel Koplitz encourages a collaborative approach to consort-singing—the ensemble rehearses as chamber musicians with each member contributing artistically to the work at hand. While there is careful attention to historical performance practice, APERI ANIMAM approaches early music performance with experimentation and intimacy, and they aim to stretch the boundaries of traditional choral concerts.

The ensemble is comprised of vocalists, teachers, composers, and scholars who call the Greater Milwaukee area “home.” Members have experience performing across the city and country, including engagements with the Haymarket Opera Summer Course, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, the Madison Early Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Academy, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. In addition, APERI ANIMAM’s practice is enriched through coaching from their resident historical linguist, Joseph Krohlow.

APERI ANIMAM has collaborated with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Plymouth Chorale, Nordic Brass, and Hesternus. They have been featured on the Milwaukee Fringe Festival and the Riverwest FemFest, and have performed through the Madison Early Music Festival fringe series, the University of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Grace Lutheran concert series, Holy Hill Basilica, and Early Music Now. APERI ANIMAM has opened for the world-renowned Flanders Recorder Quartet and worked in a masterclass setting with The Queen’s Six, Calmus Ensemble, Dana Marsh, and members of Piffaro. Currently, they hold residency at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.

Daniel Koplitz ,  artistic/executive director, board vice-president, & tenor — is a soloist, ensemble singer, and conductor based in Milwaukee. In the spring of 2018, Daniel graduated  summa cum laude  from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in vocal performance. During their studies, they had emphases in linguistics, choral conducting, and music history, and has furthered their education by attending various programs such as the Madison Early Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Academy, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. Their solo credits include Autumn in Purcell’s  The Fairy Queen , the cantor in Franz Michael Haydn’s  St. Leopold Mass , and the tenor soloist in Vivaldi’s  Magnificat . In addition, Daniel is a private voice and piano instructor, a section leader and soloist at St. John’s Cathedral, and the director of the children and youth choir at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Currently, they are seeking out graduate programs with the intention of obtaining a Ph.D in historical musicology.    “Art is humanity’s way of communicating the joys and pangs of being human. It helps us to see ourselves in others and come to the realization that we are not separate, but all part of a greater whole. Becoming an artist has been an act of self-discovery, and I would have chosen no other path .”

Daniel Koplitz, artistic/executive director, board vice-president, & tenor
is a soloist, ensemble singer, and conductor based in Milwaukee. In the spring of 2018, Daniel graduated summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in vocal performance. During their studies, they had emphases in linguistics, choral conducting, and music history, and has furthered their education by attending various programs such as the Madison Early Music Festival, the Boston Early Music Academy, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. Their solo credits include Autumn in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, the cantor in Franz Michael Haydn’s St. Leopold Mass, and the tenor soloist in Vivaldi’s Magnificat. In addition, Daniel is a private voice and piano instructor, a section leader and soloist at St. John’s Cathedral, and the director of the children and youth choir at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Currently, they are seeking out graduate programs with the intention of obtaining a Ph.D in historical musicology.

“Art is humanity’s way of communicating the joys and pangs of being human. It helps us to see ourselves in others and come to the realization that we are not separate, but all part of a greater whole. Becoming an artist has been an act of self-discovery, and I would have chosen no other path.”

Deme Hellwig,   soprano  — is a graduate of Lawrence University with a BM in Vocal Performance. She has performed the roles of first Maid ( Street Scene ), Mrs. Splinters ( The Tender Land ), and Jenny Diver ( The Beggar's Opera ), as well as many roles in opera scenes performances while studying at Lawrence University. Since moving back to Milwaukee in June 2018, she joined the All Saints’ Cathedral Choir and APERI ANIMAM. It is her hope to continue professionally in her passion for early music performance.   “ The amount of emotion and communication that can be expressed in music, even in a single note, is incomparable to anything else. Music has felt like the purpose of my life from day one, and I can only hope to live and perform that purpose to the best of my ability. I cannot think of anything I can connect to and experience more than the deep love and passion I not only feel, but can share, with music. ”

Deme Hellwig, soprano
— is a graduate of Lawrence University with a BM in Vocal Performance. She has performed the roles of first Maid (Street Scene), Mrs. Splinters (The Tender Land), and Jenny Diver (The Beggar's Opera), as well as many roles in opera scenes performances while studying at Lawrence University. Since moving back to Milwaukee in June 2018, she joined the All Saints’ Cathedral Choir and APERI ANIMAM. It is her hope to continue professionally in her passion for early music performance.

The amount of emotion and communication that can be expressed in music, even in a single note, is incomparable to anything else. Music has felt like the purpose of my life from day one, and I can only hope to live and perform that purpose to the best of my ability. I cannot think of anything I can connect to and experience more than the deep love and passion I not only feel, but can share, with music.

Jackie Willis ,  board president & alto  —serves as the administrative director of APERI ANIMAM, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she received a BFA in vocal performance. She has performed in numerous roles around the Midwest, including Hecuba (La Didone) with the Haymarket Opera Summer Course, Third Lady (Zie Magic Flute) with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, First Witch/Enchantress (Dido & Æneas) with UWM Opera Theatre, and Chorus (Tales of Hoffman) in a collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Skylight Music Theatre. She has also enjoyed participating in the Madison Early Music Festival the last three years.   “ I think what I’ve always found comfort in with art is the balance of satisfaction between myself and the audience. We’re all experiencing the same thing, but absorbing it in different ways, just as we do with life. Through early music, it has been consistently accessible to create my own form of communication; I feel that it comes naturally to translate my sentiments through this style of music. Not only do I find peace expressing what I think is beautiful, but seeing a benevolent smile, the embrace of the sorrowful text, or someone simply sitting with their eyes closed, it gives me a visceral feeling which, to me, is the ‘why.’ Those small moments of connection don’t feel so small; it feels necessary. ”

Jackie Willis, board president & alto
—serves as the administrative director of APERI ANIMAM, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she received a BFA in vocal performance. She has performed in numerous roles around the Midwest, including Hecuba (La Didone) with the Haymarket Opera Summer Course, Third Lady (Zie Magic Flute) with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, First Witch/Enchantress (Dido & Æneas) with UWM Opera Theatre, and Chorus (Tales of Hoffman) in a collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Skylight Music Theatre. She has also enjoyed participating in the Madison Early Music Festival the last three years.

I think what I’ve always found comfort in with art is the balance of satisfaction between myself and the audience. We’re all experiencing the same thing, but absorbing it in different ways, just as we do with life. Through early music, it has been consistently accessible to create my own form of communication; I feel that it comes naturally to translate my sentiments through this style of music. Not only do I find peace expressing what I think is beautiful, but seeing a benevolent smile, the embrace of the sorrowful text, or someone simply sitting with their eyes closed, it gives me a visceral feeling which, to me, is the ‘why.’ Those small moments of connection don’t feel so small; it feels necessary.

Elizabeth Smith,   board secretary & soprano  —earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While she mainly stays within the classical realm, Elizabeth's curiosity leads her to do many unique artistic projects. Currently, she is collaborating on an album with Milwaukee electronic artist Crone. Elizabeth has sung leading roles Pamina ( Die Zauberflöte ), Lucy ( The Telephone ), Amahl ( Amahl and the Night Visitors) , and Spring (Sam Mullooly's  American Spring ), and understudied Dido ( Dido and Aeneas ) and L'enfant ( L'enfant et les sortilèges ).  ” Love isn’t always simple, but I value it deeply. I have been crafting my voice and my song for a long time, trying to find ways to fold love into it, and I forever continue my work so that I might share something with you more beautiful and revealing and precious than the time before. And part of the art, I think, is allowing vulnerability. That is what is so difficult, but, also, entirely seductive. I agonize to surrender to that vulnerable place which will allow me to truly offer my voice and spirit as a vessel for music, and for love. And if you, the hearer, can be softened by my attempt at a gift--something I tried to make beautiful for you--then, perhaps, we have the opportunity to connect. And that’s all I ever wanted, anyway. ”

Elizabeth Smith, board secretary & soprano
—earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While she mainly stays within the classical realm, Elizabeth's curiosity leads her to do many unique artistic projects. Currently, she is collaborating on an album with Milwaukee electronic artist Crone. Elizabeth has sung leading roles Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Lucy (The Telephone), Amahl (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Spring (Sam Mullooly's American Spring), and understudied Dido (Dido and Aeneas) and L'enfant (L'enfant et les sortilèges).

Love isn’t always simple, but I value it deeply. I have been crafting my voice and my song for a long time, trying to find ways to fold love into it, and I forever continue my work so that I might share something with you more beautiful and revealing and precious than the time before. And part of the art, I think, is allowing vulnerability. That is what is so difficult, but, also, entirely seductive. I agonize to surrender to that vulnerable place which will allow me to truly offer my voice and spirit as a vessel for music, and for love. And if you, the hearer, can be softened by my attempt at a gift--something I tried to make beautiful for you--then, perhaps, we have the opportunity to connect. And that’s all I ever wanted, anyway.

Xai,   soprano  —a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is double majoring in music composition & technology and vocal performance. Studying composition under Amanda Schoofs, Xai creates primarily experimental vocal works that often include electronics and utilize extended vocal techniques. Xai also studies a wide variety of vocal styles and eras of repertoire with Wendy Rowe. She views every musical opportunity as a chance to grow and has found invaluable experience through her work with APERI ANIMAM.   “Early music and new music represent to me the beginning of time and the end of time as it continuously passes. Time is infinite, it is both linear and circular, and it is oblong and jagged across multiple planes. I find that if time were a circle, early music and new music, the two ends, would meet, connecting as one. Early music echoes through the corridors of time only to reverberate back to us, so that we may send new music and meaning forth, out into perpetual infinity; that is my inspiration, and observing music in this way gifts me with an ethereal connection to the universe. When I am unsure of my path, I remember that music is a constant wealth that will never deplete, for its history is long, its world is vast, and more lies ahead.”

Xai, soprano
—a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is double majoring in music composition & technology and vocal performance. Studying composition under Amanda Schoofs, Xai creates primarily experimental vocal works that often include electronics and utilize extended vocal techniques. Xai also studies a wide variety of vocal styles and eras of repertoire with Wendy Rowe. She views every musical opportunity as a chance to grow and has found invaluable experience through her work with APERI ANIMAM.

“Early music and new music represent to me the beginning of time and the end of time as it continuously passes. Time is infinite, it is both linear and circular, and it is oblong and jagged across multiple planes. I find that if time were a circle, early music and new music, the two ends, would meet, connecting as one. Early music echoes through the corridors of time only to reverberate back to us, so that we may send new music and meaning forth, out into perpetual infinity; that is my inspiration, and observing music in this way gifts me with an ethereal connection to the universe. When I am unsure of my path, I remember that music is a constant wealth that will never deplete, for its history is long, its world is vast, and more lies ahead.”

Jennifer Jakubowski,   board member at-large & alto — holds a degree in exercise science from Carroll University and is a licensed massage therapist and therapeutic bodyworker. Jennifer's love for early music has led her to perform with numerous groups in the Milwaukee area including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus, The Master Singers, Music by the Lake Singers, the Collegium Ladyes, and most recently the St. Johns Cathedral Choir. For the past seven years, she has attended the Madison Early Music Festival, gaining experience and knowledge in early music from across the world.  “ Identifying pathways which we can express our soul to others is very personal, and often harrowingly difficult to achieve. Singing is one of the few physical outlets I have found to express mine. It has elicited countless emotions on the spectrum out of me. Unadulterated joy, anger, sorrow and pity, frustration, and all-encompassing love. The sense of vulnerability I have come to identify with when singing, specifically Renaissance polyphony, has surprised me. Frightening at first, but now something I yearn for, a feeling I now want to elicit in everyone. How do I share this vulnerability I have cultivated with others? How, through my singing, can I help others experience what I consider a starting point in the lifelong journey to a sense of inner peace? ”

Jennifer Jakubowski, board member at-large & alto
holds a degree in exercise science from Carroll University and is a licensed massage therapist and therapeutic bodyworker. Jennifer's love for early music has led her to perform with numerous groups in the Milwaukee area including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus, The Master Singers, Music by the Lake Singers, the Collegium Ladyes, and most recently the St. Johns Cathedral Choir. For the past seven years, she has attended the Madison Early Music Festival, gaining experience and knowledge in early music from across the world.

Identifying pathways which we can express our soul to others is very personal, and often harrowingly difficult to achieve. Singing is one of the few physical outlets I have found to express mine. It has elicited countless emotions on the spectrum out of me. Unadulterated joy, anger, sorrow and pity, frustration, and all-encompassing love. The sense of vulnerability I have come to identify with when singing, specifically Renaissance polyphony, has surprised me. Frightening at first, but now something I yearn for, a feeling I now want to elicit in everyone. How do I share this vulnerability I have cultivated with others? How, through my singing, can I help others experience what I consider a starting point in the lifelong journey to a sense of inner peace?

Crawford Wiley,   lecturer & bass-baritone  —is the Director of Liturgy & Music at St Jude the Apostle Parish in Wauwatosa, WI, where he directs the parish choir and choristers and presides over the 2009 Schantz organ. A native of Naples, FL, he completed his Master's of Sacred Music in Organ Performance at the University of Notre Dame under the instruction of Prof. Craig Cramer. Besides singing bass in APERI ANIMAM and tenor in the Milwaukee Chamber Choir and the Chant Claire Chamber Choir, Crawford is an ardent bibliomane, devout member of the Chicago Art Institute and a lover of the Yosemite.  “ Disarmed as I am by Beauty, I feel that all performance is an attempt to embody and communicate the particular beauty of music, which can only be directly experienced - never explained or relayed. Polyphonic choral music is particularly satisfying because it not only demands the individual commitment and mutual vulnerability that good chamber music requires, but even the intervening wall of an instrument is taken away; there is nothing but the human person - some hundred-odd pounds of flesh and bone vibrating into the lived proportions of the harmonic overtones emerging from tightly tuned voices. For a few moments, as the music rings through our bodies, we are not alone, but known, the frame of our bodies a lyre for Beauty itself. ”

Crawford Wiley, lecturer & bass-baritone
—is the Director of Liturgy & Music at St Jude the Apostle Parish in Wauwatosa, WI, where he directs the parish choir and choristers and presides over the 2009 Schantz organ. A native of Naples, FL, he completed his Master's of Sacred Music in Organ Performance at the University of Notre Dame under the instruction of Prof. Craig Cramer. Besides singing bass in APERI ANIMAM and tenor in the Milwaukee Chamber Choir and the Chant Claire Chamber Choir, Crawford is an ardent bibliomane, devout member of the Chicago Art Institute and a lover of the Yosemite.

Disarmed as I am by Beauty, I feel that all performance is an attempt to embody and communicate the particular beauty of music, which can only be directly experienced - never explained or relayed. Polyphonic choral music is particularly satisfying because it not only demands the individual commitment and mutual vulnerability that good chamber music requires, but even the intervening wall of an instrument is taken away; there is nothing but the human person - some hundred-odd pounds of flesh and bone vibrating into the lived proportions of the harmonic overtones emerging from tightly tuned voices. For a few moments, as the music rings through our bodies, we are not alone, but known, the frame of our bodies a lyre for Beauty itself.

Austin Bare,   tenor  —is currently completing a BA in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. he has performed as The Sailor ( Dido & Aeneas ), Don Gomez ( La Périchole ), and in numerous opera scenes performances with UWM opera theatre. Outside of UWM, he has appeared in roles such as the Lamplighter ( The Little Prince ) and Mitch Mahone ( The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ). In november 2016, Austin took part in the Wisconsin NATS Regional Auditions, placing second in the junior men’s division.    “What really keeps me going as a musician is the effect music and storytelling has on a listener. Being the one who paints the picture and invites an audience in to a new world is such an honor.”

Austin Bare, tenor
—is currently completing a BA in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. he has performed as The Sailor (Dido & Aeneas), Don Gomez (La Périchole), and in numerous opera scenes performances with UWM opera theatre. Outside of UWM, he has appeared in roles such as the Lamplighter (The Little Prince) and Mitch Mahone (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). In november 2016, Austin took part in the Wisconsin NATS Regional Auditions, placing second in the junior men’s division.

“What really keeps me going as a musician is the effect music and storytelling has on a listener. Being the one who paints the picture and invites an audience in to a new world is such an honor.”

Sam Mullooly,   board member at-large & bass  —graduated  summa cum laude  from Illinois Wesleyan University in May 2016 with a BM in composition. As a composer, Sam has written a multitude of operatic, choral, chamber, symphonic, and singer-songwriter works. His first full-length opera  American Spring  premiered in Milwaukee in August 2017. He also works as an arranger, editor, engraver, transcriber, vocalist, and music journalist. Sam is currently the music editor of the Shawnee Press School choral division and the Henry Leck Creating Artistry choral series at Hal Leonard.  “ Truth is paradoxical. Personal truth is not constant, and constant truth is not personal. If I said I didn't exist, I could not be disproven. Yet, I give little room to such nihilism. That is because I, or rather this mind and body called ‘I’, have found purpose, which is to be a servant of music. Just as the puppeteer holds power over the marionette, music holds power over me. To create music is to give back to the universe and feel alive. This art form is my connection to the unexplainable; my key to love, existence, and to the beyond. Fortunately, between the years of 1400 - 1600, music reached a certain form of perfection, where that connection is incredibly clear. It is my wish as a member of APERI ANIMAM to convey that to you. One great concert can change the world. ”

Sam Mullooly, board member at-large & bass
—graduated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University in May 2016 with a BM in composition. As a composer, Sam has written a multitude of operatic, choral, chamber, symphonic, and singer-songwriter works. His first full-length opera American Spring premiered in Milwaukee in August 2017. He also works as an arranger, editor, engraver, transcriber, vocalist, and music journalist. Sam is currently the music editor of the Shawnee Press School choral division and the Henry Leck Creating Artistry choral series at Hal Leonard.

Truth is paradoxical. Personal truth is not constant, and constant truth is not personal. If I said I didn't exist, I could not be disproven. Yet, I give little room to such nihilism. That is because I, or rather this mind and body called ‘I’, have found purpose, which is to be a servant of music. Just as the puppeteer holds power over the marionette, music holds power over me. To create music is to give back to the universe and feel alive. This art form is my connection to the unexplainable; my key to love, existence, and to the beyond. Fortunately, between the years of 1400 - 1600, music reached a certain form of perfection, where that connection is incredibly clear. It is my wish as a member of APERI ANIMAM to convey that to you. One great concert can change the world.

Joseph Krohlow ,  historical linguist & bass  —studies vocal performance and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with the intention of pursuing an operatic performing career. He has performed as Pédro (La Périchole) and Spirit (Dido & Æneas) at UWM, and the understudy for Christopher Melody in Sam Mullooly’s opera American Spring. Joseph serves as the historical linguist for APERI ANIMAM, and has been a part of the ensemble since its inception in 2017.   “Classical music is a community I belong to and a comfort that I can always come back to. I love the never-ending pursuit of excellence that it demands. There are always new connections to be made and new music to be explored. Performance has always called to me because of the cultivated relationship with the audience. You have one hour to make them fall in love and change the way they see the world. And, of course, without the risk of failure, the payoff would never taste so sweet. Even more so, early music has endless possibilities of refinement and the path to an artful and communicative performance is far more nuanced and difficult than any other genre.”

Joseph Krohlow, historical linguist & bass
—studies vocal performance and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with the intention of pursuing an operatic performing career. He has performed as Pédro (La Périchole) and Spirit (Dido & Æneas) at UWM, and the understudy for Christopher Melody in Sam Mullooly’s opera American Spring. Joseph serves as the historical linguist for APERI ANIMAM, and has been a part of the ensemble since its inception in 2017.

“Classical music is a community I belong to and a comfort that I can always come back to. I love the never-ending pursuit of excellence that it demands. There are always new connections to be made and new music to be explored. Performance has always called to me because of the cultivated relationship with the audience. You have one hour to make them fall in love and change the way they see the world. And, of course, without the risk of failure, the payoff would never taste so sweet. Even more so, early music has endless possibilities of refinement and the path to an artful and communicative performance is far more nuanced and difficult than any other genre.”