About Rook

Paul Von Hoff is a trombonist who performs extensively on both historic and modern trombones. Paul is a founding member of the Rook early music ensemble, which focuses on the music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque especially the rarely performed music of the early 17th century. He is also a founding member of the Gaudete Brass Quintet, a modern brass quintet founded in 2004 that has toured extensively, given masterclasses at schools such as Juilliard and Eastman, recorded three albums (one for Cedille records) and has commissioned and premiered over twenty new works. Paul also is the trombone instructor at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Paul holds a Bachelors degree cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Music and a Masters Degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and has studied historic trombone with Greg Ingles, as well as modern trombone with Frank Crisafulli, Lawrence Borden, and Jay Friedman.

Jeremy David Ward is a cellist whose musical inspiration and repertoire spans from Renaissance dance music to the post-tonal works of Saariaho and Dutilleux. As a performer of early bass instruments, he has been featured on concerts for Newberry Consort, Ars Musica, the Dunbar Early Music Festival, and the Chicago Early Music Festival. His contemporary music collaborations have included performances with Chicago new music groups eighth blackbird and dal niente as well as Chicago Opera Vanguard and members of the Pacifica Quartet. His orchestral experience has led him to work with David Zinman, Robert Spano, and Alan Heatherington, and as a member of the ensemble Oberlin 21, he recorded works of Debussy and Takamitsu with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis on the Telarc label. Jeremy is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. His teachers have included Amir Eldan, Peter Rejto and Hans Jorgen Jensen. In addition to Rook, Jeremy is a member of the Newberry Consort Violin Band.

Mark Shuldiner, hailed as a "splendid harpsichordist" (Chicago Tribune) and praised for his "supportive style" and "breathtaking, rapid-fire passagework" (Chicago Classical Review) Mark Shuldiner maintains a rigorous performance schedule. Most recently Mr. Shuldiner could be heard playing harpsichord for Chicago Opera Theater's production of Mozart's Lucio Silla. Mark has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a number of occasions, playing organ and harpsichord under the batons of Riccardo Muti, Harry Bicket, Pinchas Zukerman, and Bernard Labadie. In November of 2014, Mr. Shuldiner appeared as the harpsichord soloist in the CSO’s performance of J.S. Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto, conducted by Nicolas Kraemer. Mr. Shuldiner has also been seen performing for Music of the Baroque, The Newberry Consort, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Callipygian Players, Catacoustic, Rook, and many others. While primarily a performer, Mark also runs the Chicago-based harpsichord workshop – 3rd Coast Harpsichord. The shop specializes in providing tuning and maintenance support to a variety of institutions and private owners including The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, North Park University, Roosevelt University, and Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

Jakob Hansen, a native of Chicagoland, earned his bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Northern Illinois University. His principal teachers include Mark Zinger and Mathias Tacke. While at NIU, Jakob was awarded a grant to pursue study in medieval music and string instrument technique at the Newberry Library with Musician-in-Residence David Douglass, and now continues his study of Renaissance and baroque violin and viola with Mr. Douglass. Pursuing a career as a specialist in early music, he performs with many area ensembles including The Newberry Consort, Northwestern University’s Dunbar Festival Orchestra, Madison Bach Musicians, and the Bach and Beethoven Ensemble. In June, 2011, he was selected for EMA's Young Performer's Festival, and performed a program of early 17th century repertoire under the direction of Scott Metcalfe as part of the Boston Early Music Festival.