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Meet Us

Artistic Director, Maria Romero (violin)

Maria Romero is Assistant Professor of the Practice in Violin and Baroque Violin and Director of Historical Performance at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. Maria is Concertmaster of the Nashville-based period ensemble Music City Baroque and was recently appointed its Artistic Director. She has collaborated with period ensembles including the Orchester Wiener Akademie, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Bourbon Baroque, Michigan Bach Collective, Open Gates Project, Les Delices's SalonEra, and Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, among others. Most recently, Maria has performed with Philharmonie Austin, Mountainside Baroque, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Bach Akademie Charlotte, and Nashville Opera Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with the Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra, Mountainside Baroque, and Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra as winner of their concerto competition, among others. Maria has been featured in period performance festivals such as Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Bloomington Early Music Festival, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, and Early Music America's Young Performers Festival Ensemble at the Boston Early Music Festival. A versatile musician, she collaborated with Wayne Wallace and Michael Spiro in latin jazz album recordings; the album "Canto América'' received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2016. 


Maria is a graduate of Venezuela's El Sistema music program and has since been passionate about music education as a tool for social empowerment and transformation. She holds Master and Doctor of Music degrees from Indiana University, where she studied violin with Kevork Mardirossian, baroque and classical violin and viola with Stanley Ritchie, and violin pedagogy with Mimi Zweig. Maria holds a B.M. degree and Graduate Artist Certificate from the University of North Texas, where she studied violin with Julia Bushkova and baroque violin with Cynthia Roberts. Other important mentors to her include her former teachers Stephen Redfield, Jorge Orozco, and Lyle Nordstrom. Maria holds an Executive Graduate Certificate in social enterprise, cultural agency, teaching artistry, and civic leadership from the Global Leaders Program, and she was a fellow for the Cleveland Institute of Music's inaugural Future of Music Faculty Fellowship Program. She currently serves on the board of Early Music America.

President of the Board, Mareike Sattler (mezzo-soprano)

It was the austere yet expressive musical language of the “Early Baroquian” Heinrich Schütz that pulled Mareike Sattler, a native of Germany, into Early Music from a young age on.  She spent formative years singing with the renowned Girls’ Choir Hannover, the Kantorei St. Petri und Pauli (Hamburg-Bergedorf), and with Cappella Vocale Hamburg. While she also studied voice privately (Wilfried Jochens, Iris Vermillion), her love and preference for ensemble singing continues to today.  After a short season with Vox Feminae in New Orleans (Musica da Camera New Orleans) she relocated to Nashville and joined the choir at St. George’s Episcopal Church as a staff singer. She has enjoyed singing in ensembles around Nashville, and in the greater Tennessee area, among them the Tennessee Chamber Chorus, St. Cecilia Ensemble, Schola Cantorum (Christ Church Cathedral), Collegium Vocale (Vanderbilt), Nashville Chamber Singers, Vox Grata, Elevare, and Music City Baroque. She has performed as a soloist with Music City Baroque, Middle Tennessee Choral Society, Vanderbilt Community Chorus, among others.

Mareike’s life with Music City Baroque began as a listener from its beginning in 2005, and it has evolved into performer and board member, and since 2022 she is honored to lead the board as president.  

Mareike Sattler is a Principal Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, with a long interest in Mayan Languages, especially K’iche.’ Baking German breads and goodies and working in the textiles arts round out her days.

Treasurer, Idalynn Besser (viola and viola da gamba)

Idalynn Besser,viola and viola da gamba,is a free-lance performer and studio teacher in Nashville. Idalynn holds degrees in Viola Performance from the University of Louisville and Belmont University, with additional post-graduate study at the University of Victoria and Indiana University. Since moving to Nashville, she has performed,recorded and toured with the Nashville Symphony and is currently active in recording video game musical scores. Previously, she played with the Alabama Symphony, Victoria Symphony and the Louisville Orchestra. She is an ardent student of historical performance, and spends part of each year at institutes such as Mountain Collegium, Amherst Early Music Festival and Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and the Viola da Gamba Society of America’s Conclave. Her fascination with historical performance began in undergraduate study, when she was assigned to Collegium Musicum and fell hard for the motets of Dufay, and a brief meeting with the viola da gamba during a student performance of Monteverdi’ s Orfeo. In 2020, she took the first step to fulfilling the goal of truly playing the viol with the purchase and study of a tenor viol, and now she eagerly awaits the arrival of her own bass viol from the luthier studios of Francis Beaulieu. 

When not performing or teaching, she enjoys the company of her husband, violist Bruce Christensen and their two Great Pyrenees, Kiki and D’Arcy.

Secretary, Carrie Kimbrough (violin)


Nashville native Carrie Kimbrough is the Director of Belmont Academy and Pre-College Programs at Belmont University’s College of Music and Performing Arts (CMPA). She received both her B.M in classical violin performance and her M.M in violin pedagogy (with an emphasis in early music) from Belmont University.


As part of her work with Belmont’s precollege music program (Belmont Academy), Carrie also helps organize the CMPA Summer Performing Arts Camps for young musicians and is the Director of String Crossings Camp, Belmont’s string camp for high school students. She also enjoys teaching violin lessons and delights in sharing her love of music with students of all ages and stages.


An early music enthusiast, Carrie performs regularly with Music City Baroque and is also currently serving as secretary on the Music City Baroque Board.


When not working, Carrie likes to read and spend time with her cat.

Concert Operations, Jessica Dunnavant (flute/recorder)

Jessica Dunnavant has played traverso and recorder with Music City Baroque since the 2005-2006 season. In that time, she has loved exploring the depth and richness of the repertoire, and MCB has featured her as a soloist many times over the years. In addition to her work with Music City Baroque, Jessica was a founding member of Traverso Colore Baroque flute ensemble and has traveled to perform with Madison Bach Musicians. She was featured in November 2021 as soloist for Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major RV 428, “Il Gardellino” with the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, and she performed in September 2023 at the Valley Conservatory Early Music Festival in Huntsville. Jessica has served on the board of Music City Baroque in various capacities over the past decade. She is Adjunct Artist/Teacher of Flute at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she teaches both Baroque flute and the Blair Academy flute students. She is the flute professor at Lipscomb University, and she also maintains a large private studio and freelance performing career on modern flute. Jessica is second flute in the Jackson Symphony in West TN, she edits the Flute Examiner newsletter, and in her limited spare time she loves to grow vegetables and flowers in her backyard and she is learning to knit things that aren’t rectangles!

Intern, Christina Vongsiharath 


Christina Vongsiharath was born and raised in Murfreesboro, TN, and attends Middle Tennessee State University, majoring in Music Industry and minoring in Finance. She loves performing and is a clarinetist with MTSU’s Wind Ensemble and Clarinet Choir. She also recently learned how to play the erhu (Chinese fiddle) and is a part of the Chinese Music Ensemble. In 2023, she was previously awarded the MTSU Office of Education Abroad Scholarship, Commitment Scholarship, and Honors College Study Abroad Scholarship to study abroad in Vienna, Austria for the course, “History of Western Art and Music II” and conducted a research paper on “How Turkish Culture Shaped the Music Scene in Vienna.” Her passion for writing has grown, and she is currently writing her thesis about the changes in Laotian music. Her research is being advised by, ethnomusicologist and professional zheng player, Dr. Mei Han and Dr. Joe Morgan. She plans on attending graduate school for ethnomusicology and wants to become a professor teaching students about non-western instruments. In her free time, she likes to try new restaurants and hobbies and hang out with friends and family.

Laura Ross (violin)

Laura Ross joined the Nashville Symphony violin section in 1984, having previously served as a member of the Windsor Symphony (1975-77), Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra (Principal 2nd Violin 1980-82), Flint Symphony (1979-82) and Toledo Symphony (1982-84.)  Raised in Royal Oak, MI, Laura holds both a Bachelor and Master of Music from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Her primary teachers were Emily Mutter Austin and Angel Reyes.

She served as Nashville Symphony Union Steward from 1995 – 2019 and, since 2000, as a member of the Nashville Association of Musicians, Local 257 Executive Board and as its AFM Convention Delegate. Since 2002 Laura has been Secretary of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) representing the top 51 orchestras in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and has been a member of ICSOM’s Electronic Media Committee member since 2000, participating in national symphonic recording agreement negotiations. She previously served the Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) as Member-At-Large (991-94), Secretary (1994-2000), and as a member of the ROPA’s Electronic Media Committee (1989–2000). In 2010, Laura was appointed as a union trustee of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF).

As an early member of Music City Baroque, Laura served as Secretary of MCB’s Board from 2010 – 21. Laura has had a life-long passion for Baroque music and was delighted to be invited to join Belle Meade Baroque (now Music City Baroque) in its early seasons; it has given her wonderful opportunities to collaborate with her friends and colleagues and to return to small ensemble playing. To this day when the Nashville Symphony splits the orchestra to perform either The Nutcracker or The Messiah, Laura always chooses The Messiah!

She has also been a member of St. George’s Episcopal Church Choir since 1986.

Malcolm Matthews (harpsichord)

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Malcolm Matthews holds a Doctoral Degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music and is one of only four organists to ever be awarded the prestigious Artist’s Certificate in Eastman’s 100-year history. He is the currently the associate organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tenn., and adjunct professor of organ and harpsichord at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music.

In addition to his organ-related studies with David Higgs, he completed a master’s degree in harpsichord performance in the studio of William Porter and a minor field in collaborative piano under Jean Barr. He particularly enjoys collaborative work and frequently answers calls to accompany both ensembles and soloists on a wide range of repertoire. He has appeared as a soloist with the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and Rochester’s Philharmonic Orchestra.

Matthews was a featured artist at the 2018 convention of the Organ Historical Society and his accomplishments include: First Place, 2013 Westfield International Organ Competition and Second Place, 2012 National Young Artist’s Competition in Organ Performance; Semi-finalist, 2016 International Bach Competition; Second Place, 2016 OSM Manulife Competition; First place, 2005 South-Eastern Region IV Young Organists Competition; and Semi-finalist, 2009 Concours international d’orgue de Lyon.


What I love about baroque music is that it requires musicians to bring so much of their own personality and creative ideas to the music.  As composers did not burden their scores with too many excessive indications, skilled performers are able to bring the music to life and respond, in the moment, to varying interpretations and nuances.  Continuo playing, especially, rewards those who are adaptive and open to creating music with the knowledge that each time one approaches a work, circumstances and emotions may--and should--influence one's musical decisions.

Christopher Stenstrom (cello)

An experienced orchestral and chamber musician, cellist Christopher Stenstrom performs regularly with the Nashville Opera, the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Music City Baroque, and Alias Chamber Ensemble, and was a core member of the Nashville Symphony for over 20 years. He studied with Andor Toth, Jr. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he also studied viola da gamba and baroque cello with Catharina Meints. He received a Master's degree from Bowling Green State University, studying with Dr. Alan Smith and performing as a member of the graduate string quartet. He has been active in the nonprofit community for many years as a grant writer and development consultant, and served as board president for Music City Baroque and the Nashville Philharmonic. He was the lead grant writer for the contemporary music ensemble Intersection for six years and in 2020 began working full-time in the nonprofit sector. Christopher is currently the Grants and Sponsorships Manager for the Frist Art Museum.

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