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In the News – Dr. Phillip W. Serna Featured in Black Tulip & the Delights of Arcadia on Harmonia Uncut, March 30, 2020

Black Tulip & the Delights of Arcadia Hosted by Wendy Gillespie, Black Tulip was featured on WFIU Harmonia’s podcast Harmonia Uncut on March 30, 2020. The podcast featured Handel’s Pensieri notturni di Filli from a June 2018 program for the Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women at the Buchanan Chapel in Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center. For more information on Harmonia Uncut,  visit For more information on Black Tulip, follow us on Facebook at & on Twitter at

In the News – Dr. Phillip W. Serna Featured with ViolMedium on WFMT’s Music in Chicago, February 22, 2019 On February 22, 2019, WFMT presented excerpts from ViolMedium‘s February 3rd program ‘Façades & Duplicities‘ on WFMT’s Music in Chicago hosted by Lisa Lynn.  The program was performed at Emmanuel Episcopal Church of La Grange and included the Duetto in G-Major, A3:5A from the Maltzan Collection by Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) & excerpts from the Duos, Sz.98 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945).

Performers: Phillip W. Serna, & Eric Miller, violas da gamba 

Often labelled as ‘the last gambist‘ and a 3rd-generation viol performer, Carl Friedrich Abel was son of Christian Ferdinand Abel, viol performer in court ensembles led by Johann Sebastian Bach. After studies in Leipzig and a post to Johann Adolf Hasse’s court orchestra in Dresden, Abel joined the London court of Queen Charlotte where he befriended Bach’s son, Johann Christian with whom he established the Bach-Abel Concerts. ViolMedium is performing the Duetto in G-Major, A3:5A from the first edition first edition edited by Sonia Wronkowska, Edition Güntersberg ( from sources owned by Count Joachim Carl Maltzan (1733-1817) held by the Library of the Adam Mickiewicz, University in Poznań, Poland, discovered alongside twenty-seven sonatas by Abel and two previously unknown sonatas by Johann Christian Bach and Andreas Lidl. Commissioned by German violinist Erich Doflein, Béla Bartók composed his 44 Duos, Sz.98 in 1931 as a series of pedagogical pieces not unlike his Mikrokosmos (1926-1939). Bartók draws from a variety of Eastern European folk melodies & dances as per his youthful ethnomusicological travels with colleague and composer Zoltán Kodály, representing music of many eastern European oral traditions: Hungarian, Romanian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and more. The exquisite quality of the counterpoint, as well as the timbral contrasts, harmonies and melodies make these works ideal for translation to the transparent colors of violas da gamba.

For more information on  WFMT’s Music in Chicago, visit For more information on ViolMedium, follow us on Facebook at & on Twitter at

Founded by gambists Eric Miller & Phillip Serna, the viol is the medium through which we bridge contemporary & historically-informed performance with experimental and innovative programming for violas da gamba – ViolMedium!

PRESS RELEASE – ViolMedium Launches Bold Virtuoso Programming with Façades & Duplicities

January 1, 2019


Madison’s Eric Miller & Chicago’s Phillip Serna  launch their new historical-performance ensemble ViolMedium with Façades & Duplicities, a multidimensional exploration of the rich harmonic, timbral and dramatic potentials offered by violas da gamba! Appearing in St. Paul, Madison, Milwaukee & Chicago, this intrepid duo presents masterworks ranging from the 17th through the 20th centuries by Abel, Bartók, Finger, Marais, Sainte-Colombe, Schaffrath & more!

The Baroque Room, St. Paul, MN
Saturday, January 26, 2019 7:30PM 
Landmark Auditorium, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Madison, WI 
Friday, February 1, 2019 12:15PM
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Friday, February 1, 2019 7:30PM
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Madison, WI
Saturday, February 2, 2019 7:30PM
Emmanuel Episcopal Church of La Grange, La Grange, IL
Sunday, February 3, 2019 3:00PMçadesAndDuplicities2019

For tickets & more information, please visit

Contact: Eric Miller & Phillip Serna
info AT violmedium DOT org
(847) 722-2093

Founded by gambists Eric Miller & Phillip Serna, the viol is the medium through which we bridge contemporary & historically-informed performance with experimental and innovative programming for violas da gamba – ViolMedium!

ERIC MILLER, educator and performer, performs as a viola da gambist and cellist around the Midwest. A specialist in repertoire from the 16th through 18th centuries, Eric performs solo recitals on viola da gamba and is a member of the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. He also collaborates frequently with songwriters, including Indie Folk artist Katie Burns with whom he has recorded five albums. Eric is the founder and director of the Madison Youth Viol Consort, a program for students grades 8-12. In addition, Eric teaches a large private cello studio and has taught orchestra in public schools at all levels since 2009. As a classically trained cellist, Eric holds degrees from Northern Illinois University and UW-Madison where he trained with two consummate chamber musicians, Marc Johnson and Parry Karp.

In addition to his double bass career as soloist, orchestral performer and chamber musician, Phillip W. Serna has emerged among the nation’s leading advocates of the viol – the viola da gamba. Co-founding the Chicago-area historical-performance ensembles Black Tulip, New Comma Baroque, ViolMedium, and the Spirit of Gambo – a Chicago Consort of Viols, he’s appeared across the United States with groups ranging from Burning River Baroque, the Chicago Early Music Consort, Les Touches, the Newberry Consort, and many others. He can be heard on WFMT Chicago, Wisconsin Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio, and on releases from Clarion, Cedille, and Varèse Sarabande Records. Holding Masters and Doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, Phillip teaches at Valparaiso University, North Central College, the Music Institute of Chicago, the J.S. Bach Academy of Music and is assistant director of Illinois’ first public-school period-instrument program at Adlai E. Stevenson High School. Phillip has served on the faculties of the Madison Early Music Festival, the Whitewater Early Music Festival, and is the music director of Viols in Our Schools earning him Early Music America’s 2010 Laurette Goldberg Award for Early Music outreach.

PRESS RELEASE – New Comma Baroque Presents Winter Revelry – A New Comma Baroque Christmas


November 28, 2016

Winter Revelry – A New Comma Baroque Christmas

New Comma Baroque celebrates our first season as as artists-in-residence at Emmanuel Episcopal Church with a special program of Baroque holiday music by Bach, Buxtehude, Scarlatti, Ziani and so much more! Joining Leighann Daihl Ragusa (traverso), Phillip W. Serna (viola da gamba), and Emily Jane Katayama (harpsichord) are guests Amy Bearden (alto) of the Marion Consort and Katherine Shuldiner (viola da gamba). New Comma Baroque’s Winter Revelry is not to be missed!

General admission tickets are $20, with special rates for seniors and students.

New Comma Baroque has gained a reputation for combining education and fun through their inventive programming. The ensemble has been praised for their “gusto” and “lively and intense performances” (John W. Barker, Isthmus, The Daily Page), playing across the Midwest, in addition to Boston and New York City.

New Comma Baroque is a program of the Renovo Music Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit performing arts organization. More information can be found at and

AMY BEARDEN, Guest Artist, alto

Amy Bearden - alto; theorboAMY BEARDEN holds a masters degree in Early Music Voice from the Early Music Institute of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. There, she studied voice with Paul Elliott, a renowned tenor and founding member of the Hilliard Ensemble. At Indiana, Amy focused on Medieval and Renaissance music studying both history and performance. In Chicago, Amy is the Artistic Director and Founder of The Marion Consort, a premier early music ensemble. In addition to Marion, Amy is a sought after choral artist who has performed with Texas Early Music Project in Austin, Texas and is on staff of the Amherst Early Music Festival in New London, Connecticut. Amy also holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Currently, Amy teaches K-8 General Music in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago.

KATHERINE SHULDINER, Guest Artist, viola da gamba

Katherine Shuldiner - viola da gambaKATHERINE SHULDINER graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in viola da gamba performance under the tutelage of Catharina Meints. She has performed with Chicago based ensembles such as BBE: Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, Vox 3 Collective, and continues to perform with The Newberry Consort. Nationally, Katherine has performed with Washington Bach Consort, La Follia Austin Baroque, as well as performing Bach’s Saint Matthew’s Passion with Bel Canto Chorus and the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. Katherine is becoming a fixture in the Chicago baroque music scene, performing with Chicago based musicians such as Rachel Barton Pine, Mark Shuldiner, David Walker, and more. Ms. Shuldiner served a two year term on the board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and was chosen to perform in the first Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival during Boston Early Music Festival. When Katherine is not performing, she enjoys teaching the viola da gamba to children and adults alike. She has taught at Madison Early Music Festival, Whitewater Early Music Festival, and throughout the year teaches the viol at Nettlehorst Elementary School in Chicago.


Phone: (847) 722-2093

Email: Please use this form to contact Dr. Phillip W. Serna with any inquiries or questions or join our mailing list: