Ensemble Passacaglia
About Us
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About Us

Ensemble Passacaglia was formed in 2001 when Lisa Esperson, Tom Hanna and I became intrigued with the striking combination of winds, plucked strings and percussion. A mutual affinity for medieval and renaissance music brought us together as accompanists for the vocal ensemble the Solstice Singers, and soon thereafter we started performing as a trio. We began incorporating music from the Middle East into our concerts, finding richness in the cross-cultural influences suggested by the intricate rhythms and melodies. In 2007 Molly Johnston joined us, adding the warm and resonant sound of viola da gamba to the mix.

We play this music because we love it, and while aiming for historical and cultural authenticity, our focus is on contemporary vitality and freshness. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Jan Elliott

Jan Elliott (recorder, crumhorn, cornamuse, concertina) has performed and taught music and dance for four decades. Studying recorder as a child with Ruth Guillard and Patricia Brown in Falmouth, she developed a deep interest in medieval, renaissance, baroque and world music. She earned a BA in music from Wesleyan University and an MA in dance ethnology from UCLA, taught music education at Boston University and studied ethnomusicology at the University of London. She currently teaches music in her home studio and dance at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod, and maintains an active interest in traditional music and dance from the British Isles.

Lisa Esperson (riqq, darbuka, tambourine, tar, and other percussion) got her start in early music by singing and playing recorder and percussion with the group In Praise of Folly, which performed at the Boston Early Music Festival in 1991. She teaches percussion to children and adults in the Falmouth, MA community with an emphasis on traditional music and techniques, and is the musical director of Universal Sound. Dr. Esperson is a Chiropractic Physician and has been in private practice since 1982.

Tom Hanna (lute, mandolin, guitar, bouzouki) has been playing classical guitar for over 40 years and lute for about 20 years. He has maintained an active interest in medieval and renaissance music since his college days, though he was raised with heavy metal music and plays with several rock bands. Dr. Hanna is an internist in Sandwich and has practiced medicine on Cape Cod for over 30 years. He lives in Sandwich, MA with his wife and son.

Molly Johnston (viola da gamba, vielle) holds degrees in Music History from Wellesley College and Yale University, and has taught Music History at Duke University, where she directed the Collegium Musicum. She also directed the Utah Shakespearean Festival Consort and the renaissance and baroque music group Quidam Musici of New Haven, CT. In addition to performing with Passacaglia, she plays, sings and records with Canto Armonico of Boston.