Meet A4

Four women got together for a music reading session one afternoon in the spring of 1986; they wanted to hear what medieval chant and polyphony would sound like when sung by female voices. Twenty-five years later, Anonymous 4 has performed for sold-out audiences on major concert series and at festivals throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; and has made 19 recordings for harmonia mundi usa, selling over two million copies.

Anonymous 4's programs have included music from the year 1000; the ecstatic music and poetry of the 12th-century abbess and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen; 13th- and 14th-century chant and polyphony from England, France, and Spain; medieval and modern carols from the British Isles; American folksongs, shape note tunes, and gospel songs; and works newly written for the group. Their recordings have received France's prestigious Diapason d'Or, Classic CD's Disc of the Year, Classic FM's Early Music Recording of the Year, several Gramophone Editor's Choice awards, Italy's Antonio Vivaldi Award, Le Monde de la Musique's Choc award; the group has also twice been voted one of Billboard's top classical artists. Anonymous 4 recently returned to the Billboard charts with the release of Secret Voices (2011), music from the 13th-century, Spanish Codex Las Huelgas.

Composers who have written for Anonymous 4 include David Lang (love fail, a full-evening-length work to be premiered in 2012), Richard Einhorn (Voices of Light, an oratorio with silent film; and A Carnival of Miracles, for vocal quartet and two cellos), John Tavener (The Bridegroom, for Anonymous 4 and the Chilingirian String Quartet), Peter Maxwell Davies (A Carnival of Kings), and Steve Reich (Know What is Above You).

Anonymous 4 has recorded and toured with the Chilingirian String Quartet, fabled harpist Andrew Lawrence King; newgrass stars Darol Anger (violin) and Mike Marshall (mandolin, guitar); and has a new collaboration project with the indie rock band, the Mountain Goats, featuring songs by John Darnielle with vocal arrangements for the quartet by Owen Pallett.

ruth cunningham as a baby

RUTH CUNNINGHAM   Ruth received a B. Mus. in Performance of Early Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and is certified as a cross-cultural music and healing practitioner. She does the social media and informal tour photography for Anonymous 4. She specializes in singing early music and improvisational music in both liturgical and concert settings. Ruth looks forward to expanding her work in improvisatory performance as well as continuing to teach workshops and individual sessions in sound healing and improvisation. Her solo album, Light and Shadow encompasses a mixture of music, including chants from Western and Eastern traditions as well as her own compositions and improvisations. Her other releases include Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and Harp and two recordings of multi-faith chants with colleague Ana Hernandez: Blessed by Light and HARC: Inside Chants. Her website is

MARSHA GENENSKY   handles Anonymous 4ís American music research, and has acted as music director for A4's American projects, American Angels, Gloryland, and 1865. She also does the historical language pronunciation research for A4's medieval music projects, acts as tour manager, and generally "makes things go" for the group. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2004, she has been teaching performance courses and workshops on medieval music and on Anglo-American sacred and secular song, and has become a SF Giants fan(atic). Marsha looks forward to creating (and performing in) more American music projects; she also plans to seek a new role in the Bay Area, helping to support and fund performing artists and ensembles.

SUSAN HELLAUER is a native of the beautiful Bronx, New York, where she grew up rooting for the Yankees. While earning a B.A. in music as a trumpet player from Queens College (City University of New York), an increasing fascination with medieval and Renaissance vocal music led her to convert to singing, and to pursue advanced degrees in musicology from Queens College and Columbia University. Susan handles Anonymous 4's medieval music research, and is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Queens College, CUNY, where she teaches courses in Medieval, Renaissance and American Popular Music.  She has taught plainchant at Yale University, has led Chant Camp workshops throughout the U.S.,  and is proud to be a volunteer with the Nyack Community Ambulance Corps.

JACQUELINE HORNER-KWIATEK   When she is not performing with A4 and spearheading the group's new music projects Jacqueline is a mezzo-soprano soloist. Her work has included Bach cantatas with the Washington Bach Consort, appearances at Washington Early Music Festival with the Baltimore Consort and Armonia Nova, performances of her recital program "Leading Ladies" at Duke and Georgetown, and regular appearances with the viol consort Parthenia. She has also been a soloist in several world premieres including Richard Einhorn's oratorio about Charles Darwin, The Origin; The Loathly Lady, a comic opera by Paul Richards; and Requiem for the Titanic at St Anne's Cathedral Belfast, a performance that was broadcast live throughout Ireland. She is currently singing the role of Katherine in an opera about Nicolai Tesla being developed by the dream team of Phil Kline, Jim Jarmusch and Robert Wilson. Jacqueline is also a voice teacher with a thriving studio in New York City and gives masterclasses and ensemble technique workshops in NYC, DC and throughout the US. She is currently a Doctoral candidate at The Juilliard School.  Her website is




JOHANNA MARIA ROSE spent her childhood in the village of Grand-View-on-Hudson (a stone's throw away from New York City), reading lots of children's books and fairy tales, putting pennies on the railroad tracks, and looking for sea glass and stones at the river's edge.  While putting in her time as a Manhattanite, she earned a degree in voice from the Manhattan School of Music, as well as studying acting.  A long-standing love of early music then led her to an MFA in the Performance of Medieval and Renaissance Music from Sarah Lawrence College.  Her various hats in Anonymous 4 include sharing the work on language pronunciation research, adapting readings for the concert programs, and new music commissions. Having escaped from the city, she now lives in a house from the 1830s (in which there is not a single straight edge), not far from the scene of her childhood.  She spends happy hours in her little garden, trying to deter the woodchucks from eating all her flowers, the squirrels from demolishing the birdseed in her birdfeeder, and the woodpeckers from drilling holes in the eaves.

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Discography: 1865 Marie et Marion love fail The Drop That Contained the Sea Secret Voices The Cherry Tree
Four Centuries of Chant Gloryland Noel The Origin of Fire American Angels Wolcum Yule
Darkness into Light la bele marie The Second Circle 1000: A Mass for the End of Time Legends of St. Nicholas A Lammas Ladymass
11,000 Virgins Christmas Music from Medieval Hungary Miracles of Sant'Iago The Lily & The Lamb Love's Illusion On Yoolis Night
An English Ladymass Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light A Portrait of Anonymous 4
Photo Galleries: A4 Album Publicity

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