APERI ANIMAM was conceived in January 2017 as an outlet to explore the early music repertory and to revive its presence in Milwaukee. Meeting once a week on Monday evenings, it seemed appropriate to show their work, and they gave their first concert that May at All Saints’ Cathedral. The concert was received with great praise, and since then, they have been increasingly sought out as a historical performance ensemble in the Greater Milwaukee area.
From their conception, artistic director Daniel Koplitz has encouraged a collaborative and intimate approach to interpretation and rarely conducts in performance. The ensemble rehearses as chamber musicians with a strong focus on cultural context, conveyance of text, and pure vocal quality. They aim to present this music in a manner that is both historically informed and relatable to the modern listener. Their programming is experiential, involving choral movement, spatialization, and interdisciplinary art.
The ensemble has collaborated with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, the Plymouth Chorale, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Early Music Now. They have performed through the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts and have also been featured twice on Milwaukee’s emerging artist festival, the Milwaukee Fringe Festival. Most recently, APERI ANIMAM opened for the world-renowned Flanders Recorder Quartet and worked in a masterclass setting with the British vocal ensemble The Queen’s Six.
DANIEL KOPLITZ, baritone, is a soloist, ensemble singer, and conductor based in Milwaukee. In the spring of 2018, Daniel graduated at the top of his class from the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in vocal performance. During his studies, he had emphases in linguistics, choral conducting, and music history, but he has also furthered his education outside of academia by attending various summer programs such as the Madison Early Music Festival (2016 - 2018), Boston Early Music Academy (2017 - 2018), and the Amherst Early Music Festival’s Ensemble Singing Intensive (2018). In addition, he has begun training under the Estill Voice Model, a research-based approach to vocal pedagogy. Some of Daniel’s past ensemble experience includes participation in the UWM Concert Chorale, the Wisconsin Collegiate Honors Choir, and Vox Antiqua, while some of his past solo engagements include Autumn (The Fairy Queen), the tenor soloist in Vivaldi’s Magnificat, and Aesculapius Carboy (The Zoo).
Currently, Daniel is employed by All Saints’ Cathedral as a choral scholar, a post he has held since 2014. Here, he has been immersed in Anglican liturgical practice, and it was in this position where his love for early sacred music was fostered. Subsequently in January of 2017, he founded the vocal early music ensemble APERI ANIMAM, of which he is the artistic director. Daniel is also the director of The Choristers, the resident children and youth choir at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. In the future, he hopes to obtain graduate and doctoral degrees in musicology.
JACKIE WILLIS, alto, is both a singer and the Administrative Director of APERI ANIMAM. Since graduating, she has taken advantage of the rich artistic community in the Midwest. Jackie has performed as Hecuba (La Didone) with the Haymarket Opera Summer Course, Stag/Turtledove (Handel’s Bestiary) and Third Lady (Zie Magic Flute) with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, First Witch/Enchantress (Dido & Æneas) with UWM Opera Theatre, Suzuki (Madama Butterfly) with La Musica Lirica, and Chorus (Tales of Hoffman) in a collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Skylight Music Theatre. In November 2017, Jackie placed third in the WI NATS Advanced Singer’s division and made her debut as Choreographer for UWM Opera Theatre’s production of Dido & Æneas in 2016. She has also enjoyed participating in the Madison Early Music Festival the last three years.
Jackie will be performing in a reboot of Zie Magic Flute in January 2019 with MOT and a staged production of Carmina Burana in March 2019 with MOT and Skylight. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance in December 2016. Jackie is actively seeking a graduate program to further her interest in early music and Baroque performance.
SOPHIA GEHO, (artistically known as XAI), soprano, is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is double majoring in music composition & technology and vocal performance. Studying composition under Professor Amanda Schoofs, Sophia creates primarily experimental vocal works that often include electronics and utilize extended vocal techniques. She has performed her compositions in UWM's Milwaukee Composers Collective concerts and has appeared in Joshua Backes's DIY Chamber series. In the voice division, Sophia studies a wide variety of styles and eras of repertoire with Professor Wendy Rowe. Sophia has recently expanded her musical reach, performing in concerts around the Milwaukee area. She views every musical opportunity as a chance to grow and has found invaluable experience through her work with APERI ANIMAM.
BEATRICE GERFIN, soprano, is a new member to APERI ANIMAM. A recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance. Beatrice appeared as Head Secretary/Chorus (La Périchole), Belinda Shadow/Chorus (Dido & Æneas), and Chorus (Suor Angelica) with UWM Opera. In the summer of 2017, Beatrice sang with APERI ANIMAM in collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre in a preview performance of Handel's Bestiary. She is looking forward to joining the rising arts scene in Milwaukee as a member of APERI ANIMAM and was drawn to the ensemble for its unique collaborative nature.
ELIZABETH SMITH, soprano, earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and continues to shape her music career in the Midwest. Most recently, she was invited back to Iowa for a third season with American Gothic Performing Arts Festival to perform a children’s adaptation of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, singing the role of Hansel. She has also performed as Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Lucy (The Telephone), Un pâtre and understudy for L’enfant (L'enfant et les Sortilèges), and understudy for Dido (Dido & Æneas) with UWSP Opera. She has had the pleasure of premiering new works by several Milwaukee-based artists, including the role of Spring in American Spring, a new opera by Sam Mullooly; one of the Fallout Singers in Fruition of a Delusion, a 3D musical play written and directed by Don Russell and Kelly Coffey; and as a soloist in Kollin Horn’s song cycle Seven Deadly Sins. Elizabeth joined APERI ANIMAM in early 2018 and is grateful to be in an ensemble that truly serves the music.
JENNIFER JAKUBOWSKI, alto, holds a degree in Exercise Science from Carroll University and is currently pursuing a licensure in Massage Therapy and Therapeutic Bodywork from Blue Sky School of Massage. Jennifer's love for early music has led her to perform with numerous groups in the Milwaukee area including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus, The Master Singers, Music by the Lake Singers, and the Concord Chamber Orchestra. Her musical reach is international, bringing her to France and Italy to sing in Notre Dame and Saint Mark's Basilica. For the past six years, she has attended the Madison Early Music Festival, gaining exposure to early music from all over the world. Jennifer is honored to be starting her fifth season with the Collegium Ladyes women's vocal ensemble and second season with APERI ANIMAM.
KATELYNN JEFFRIES, alto, is currently working toward a degree in music education with a general and choral emphasis at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Under Dr. David Hoffman, Katelynn studies numerous styles of solo vocal repertoire and has performed as a featured soloist in the UWM Vocal Arts Festival. She also has a passion for new music, appearing in concerts for UWM’s Milwaukee Composers Collective. In addition to her solo work, Katelynn is a member of UWM’s Concert Chorale. Katelynn hopes to learn as much as possible about early music during her tenure with APERI ANIMAM, giving her the ability to efficiently teach the style and share the love and enchantment that she feels for it with future students.
AUSTIN BARE, is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During his time in school, he has performed as The Sailor (Dido & Aeneas), Don Gomez (La Périchole), and in numerous opera scenes performances with UWM Opera Theatre. Outside of UWM, he has appeared in roles such as the Lamplighter (The Little Prince) and Mitch Mahone (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). In November 2016, Austin took part in the Wisconsin NATS Regional Auditions, placing second in the Junior Men’s Division. Austin is looking forward to the musical opportunities ahead of him and thoroughly enjoys exploring the historical background of the pieces performed in APERI ANIMAM.
BRETT SWEENEY, tenor, has called Milwaukee “home” for almost a decade. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has had the pleasure of taking part in various projects before and after graduation. Some favorite performing credits include Cochenille/Franz/Pitichinaccio (Tales of Hoffmann) in a collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Skylight Music Theatre, Bitelle (La Cage aux Folles) with Skylight Music Theatre, Le Théière (L’enfant et les Sortilèges) in a collaboration with UWM and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and the ensemble/Anthony Hope cover (Sweeney Todd) with Skylight Music Theatre. Brett is also an AmSAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and an instructor of voice with Maestro Makers. Brett is looking forward to performing the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch with All In Productions in September 2018, as well as being part of a staged version of Carmina Burana in March 2019 with MOT and Skylight.
COLIN HAN, bass, is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Information Science and Technology and is currently pursuing a career in software development. However, after also completing a music minor, he retains a passion and drive to create music through local performing groups such as APERI ANIMAM. He has appeared in UWM’s productions of Dido and Aeneas and La Périchole and participated in the 2018 Madison Early Music Festival. Colin has also performed in numerous UWM choral ensembles including University Chorus, Men’s Chorus, and Concert Chorale. He hopes to grow his career in software development and continue to pursue performance opportunities in the Milwaukee area. Colin expresses a deep appreciation for APERI ANIMAM's dedication to musicianship and ensemble discipline.
JOSEPH KROHLOW, bass, studies vocal performance and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with the intention of pursuing an operatic performing career. A student of Dr. David Hoffman, Joseph has performed as Pédro (La Périchole) and Spirit (Dido & Æneas) at UWM, and the understudy for Christopher Melody in Sam Mullooly’s American Civil War opera American Spring. He also attended the Up North Vocal Institute in Petoskey, Michigan and the Madison Early Music Festival. His interest in early music is whetted by a knack for historical linguistics. Joseph serves as the linguist for APERI ANIMAM and is responsible for reconstructing the late Renaissance pronunciation of the group’s repertoire to aid in its historically-informed practice. He has been a part of the ensemble since its inception in 2017 and is grateful for this opportunity to apply both his creative and scientific backgrounds.
SAM MULLOOLY, bass, is a versatile and accomplished young musician from Milwaukee, WI. He graduated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in composition. As a self-published composer, Sam has written a multitude of operatic, choral, symphonic, and singer-songwriter works. His first full-length opera American Spring premiered in Milwaukee in August 2017 with two sold out performances. Other major works of his include Symphony #1 (a string orchestra symphony), Missa de Profecto (a Mass setting for a cappella chorus), The Hunters (a one-act light opera), A Salient Name (a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano), Beyond the Treehouse (a pop concept album), and the score for the play The Fires of Nero. As a singer, Sam enjoys performing opera, oratorio, German Lieder, and Renaissance polyphony. Past opera roles include Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus) and Ottone (L'incoronazione di Poppea). Sam currently works for Hal Leonard Publishing as music editor of the Shawnee Press School choral division and the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Series. In his spare time, he runs an independent review blog on new music called Album Analysis and continues to compose, arrange, sing, and do anything creative that comes to mind.