Current Performance Ensembles
ASTERIA -- Sylvia Rhyne (soprano) and Eric Redlinger (tenor and lute)
Personal Summary / Bio
In October 2004, Asteria burst onto the national Early Music scene, winning Early Music America’s first Unicorn Prize for Medieval and Renaissance Music with a performance heralded by the New York Times as “intimate and deeply communicative…meltingly beautiful.” This engaging duo brings out the passion and emotional impact of late medieval vocal and instrumental music with timeless love songs of wide appeal, transporting their listeners back to the age of chivalry.
Eric’s skill on the lute and sweet tenor voice are complemented by his expertise in early music, earned through study at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and extensive archival research into original sources. Following graduation from Middlebury College, Eric spent several years immersing himself in the European musical archives of the Hague, Basel and Marburg. During this time he also did post-graduate studies in composition and musicology at the Frankfurt Conservatory of Music and studied medieval lute with Crawford Young and voice with Richard Levitt at the Schola. He now makes his home in New York, where he has studied with Drew Minter and Gary Ramsey.
Sylvia brings to the partnership not only her quicksilver soprano but also a strong dramatic connection with the audience, gained from a professional career in musical theater. She has starred internationally as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and on Broadway as Joanna in “Sweeny Todd” under the direction of Harold Prince, Susan Schulman and Stephen Sondheim.
Raised in London and the Pacific Northwest, Sylvia grew up surrounded by classical music, opera and dance. She pursued a passion for early music at Carleton College, guided by Stephen Kelly, taking leading roles in early operas and operettas on her way to a degree in music. She studied also with Wesley Balk at St. Olaf College and recorded with Dennis Russell Davies and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Arriving in New York, Sylvia was invited to sing with the New York City Opera and began ongoing coaching with Marcy Lindheimer.
Eric and Sylvia first connected through singing with John Hetland’s Renaissance Street Singers, a group that brings a cappella 15th and 16th century music to New York City sidewalks and parks. The pair immediately discovered their mutual interest in earlier repertoire and began meeting regularly to work on late medieval pieces, gradually developing their passionate approach to the music. Their performances convey the anguish and ecstasy of the poetry and the rapturous beauty of the interweaving vocal and instrumental lines.
Asteria’s musical exploration and their research into ancient Burgundian manuscripts in France has resulted in three critically acclaimed albums of 15th century chansons available through www.magnatune.com and www.itunes.com. They are also available on Asteria's own website, complete with program notes, free song downloads and videos: www.asteriamusica.com.