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About The Early Interval

About The Performers

Since 1976, The Early Interval has explored and celebrated the rich history of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, inviting their audiences to experience a millennium of exciting sound worlds. The ensemble sings and performs on replica instruments unique to each period, including recorders, viols, violin, lutes, percussion, and many more. The group often collaborates with actors, dancers, vocal ensembles, narrators, composers, and guest musicians to create and present engaging thematic programs that transport the listener to an earlier time and place.

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Many talented and dedicated musicians have been members of The Early Interval during its history. Below are the current core members, with numerous vocal and instrumental guest artists participating frequently in the ensemble's programs.

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James Bates


Jim Bates began performing with The Early Interval in 2002. Before moving to Columbus, he was on the faculty of the University of Louisville School of Music, he was Music Director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra, and he directed the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra. Dr. Bates is currently Director of Orchestral Activities at Otterbein University, Principal Bass and Assistant Conductor of the Westerville Symphony and Assistant Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra Cadet Orchestra. Dr. Bates joined the conducting staff of the Interlochen Center for the Arts in 1999 and has served as guest conductor or clinician throughout the United States. Dr. Bates serves on the national board of The Classical Mandolin Society of America. He is also honored to serve on the board of the Friends of Early Music in Columbus. While pursuing a Masters degree in double bass at Indiana University, he was active in the Early Music Institute and studied with Stanley Ritchie, Thomas Binkley and Wendy Gillespie.  He also participated in the Early Music Ensemble at the University of Louisville, working closely with its director, Jack Ashworth. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Kentucky in 2002. Jim plays viola da gamba and other bowed strings as well as various wind instruments.

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Sean Ferguson


Sean Ferguson began performing with The Early Interval in 2009. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music history from The Ohio State University and a master of library science degree from Kent State University. In Philadelphia, he studied guitar at the University of the Arts and was a winner of the WFLN Radio Instrumentalists Competition. As a soloist, accompanist, chamber musician and orchestra member, he has performed extensively on instruments of the lute family and classical and early guitars, including appearances with Opera Columbus, Columbus Dance Theatre, Lancaster Chorale, The Ohio State University, Otterbein University, Capital University and Ohio Wesleyan University. He has collaborated as a continuo player for numerous concerts and productions of Baroque operas by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Purcell, and Handel, working under lutenist-conductors Lyle Nordstrom and Lucas Harris, among others.  As a librarian, he has worked at OCLC Online Computer Library Center and The Ohio State University Music & Dance Library. He is president of the Columbus Guitar Society. Sean is The Early Interval’s plucked strings specialist.

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Alexandra Vargo

Xan Vargo is a Columbus local and has been a violinist with the Westerville Symphony for seven years. In 2011, she earned a music performance degree from Otterbein University, after which she opened a music lessons company entitled Dynamic Studios, Inc. She has participated in performance tours of Italy, China, Estonia and Canada. Xan focuses on baroque violin, and also sings and plays rebec, viola da gamba, and percussion.

David Stefano

A Columbus native, David Stefano is currently on the faculty of Otterbein University, co-
directing the Otterbein Early Music Ensemble. He holds degrees in bassoon performance from
Indiana University, under the tutelage of Kim Walker, and earned his Ph.D in Early Music from
the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Australia). David previously taught at Bridgewater State
University in Massachusetts and coached ensembles at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. David has performed locally as a recorder soloist, and as a bassoonist with Ohio
Capital Winds, the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra, and the Westerville Symphony. He
has also performed internationally with ensembles such as Latitude 37 and the Australian
Brandenburg Orchestra, among others.

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