Marcin Szelest studied organ with Miroslawa Semeniuk-Podraza at the Academy of Music in Krakow and with James David Christie at The Boston Conservatory. He was the winner of the Second International Sweelinck Organ Competition, in Gdańsk, in 1995. Szelest is the Artistic Director of the ensemble Harmonia Sacra and the Stary Sącz Early Music Festival. He is the organist of the Holy Cross church in Kraków where he has the privilege to perform on a beautifully restored 1704 organ. Additionally, he performs as a member of period instrument ensembles, including The Bach Ensemble, Concerto Palatino and the Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra. He currently serves as professor of organ and head of the Early Music Department at the Academy of Music in Kraków.
Jarosław Thiel is a graduate of the Poznań School of Talents. He studied cello at both the Academy of Music in Poznań and the Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland. Since 1997, he has been focused on historical performance. He completed his post-graduate studies in Baroque cello at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, having worked with Phoebe Carrai and Markus a Möllenbeck. Thiel has participated in master classes run by Christine Kypranides at the Dresdner Akademie für Alte Musik and has collaborated with the most important Polish ensembles specialising in early music. Thiel has been the first cellist with the Dresdner Barockorchester and a member of the Festspiel Orchester Göttingen led by Laurence Cummings since 2000. He also works with leading German ensembles, such as Cantus Cölln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and Lautten Compagney. He regularly performs as a soloist and chamber musician in connection with festivals of early music world-wide. He currently teaches Baroque cello at the Academy of Music in Poznań and the Summer Academy of Early Music in Lidzbark Warmiński, Poland. In 2006 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra.
Lübeck on the river Trave in northern Germany was founded in 1411 and became the "Queen of the Hanseatic League" being the largest and most powerful member of the medieval Baltic trade organization in the 14th century. The program features the religious cantatas by organists and composers Franz Tunder and Dietrich Buxtehude of the famed St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, as well as organist, violinist, and composer, Nicolaus Bruhns.
Both Franz Tunder and his successor, son-in-law, Dieterich Buxtehude significantly shaped the development of the musical tradition of St. Mary's. They were fundamental exemplars of the north German organ school. Friedrich Händel and Johann Mattheson had been guests of Buxtehude in 1703, even before Johann Sebastian Bach came to Lübeck to learn from him in 1705. Since that time, the position of organist at St. Mary's Church has been one of the most prestigious in Germany.
Nicolaus Bruhns was 16 when his father sent him to live with his brother in Lübeck. There he learned violin and studied composition and organ playing with Buxtehude, becoming a famous virtuoso who often stirred admiration when he performed the violin while accompanying himself on the organ. Unfortunately, none of the composer's chamber music has survived, but his talent for composing instrumental music is demonstrated in the orchestral parts of his cantatas.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator