John Dornenburg is a San Francisco Bay Area performer, teacher, and recording artist. He has performed as viola da gamba soloist in the British Isles, the Netherlands, Turkey, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand, and across the U.S.A., including festival appearances at the Istanbul International Festival, Krakow Festival (Poland), York Early Music Festival (U.K.), Kilkenny Festival (Ireland), Warwick Festival (U.K.), Melbourne International Festival (Australia), Monadnock Festival (NH), Carmel Bach Festival, Aston Magna, and the Oregon Bach Festival.
He has made over 30 CDs of both solo and chamber music on all sizes of viola da gamba and violone (both G and D), including two that feature virtuoso music for unaccompanied bass viol by composers such as Schenck, Telemann, Kühnel, Abel, Sainte-Colombe, Simpson, Hacquart, and Marais.
He is the director of the Sex Chordæ Consort of Viols, founder of the Baroque ensemble Music’s Recreation, and co-director of the Archetti Baroque String Ensemble. In the San Francisco Bay Area he can be heard regularly with the ensemble Magnificat, and on occasion with American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Jubilate Orchestra, and many other groups. He has frequently performed the obbligato viol parts in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions with a wide variety of groups that include the San Francisco Symphony.
John has been music director for productions of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (both for the Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh), and in 2005 he conducted four fully-staged performances of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at California State University, Sacramento.
Since 1988 he has been Lecturer in viola da gamba at Stanford University, and more recently has been appointed Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served one year as acting co-director of the University Baroque Ensemble and continues as instructor in violone. He is also Emeritus Faculty in music history at California State University, Sacramento, where he taught for nearly 20 years. Past appointments include Affiliate Professor at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Washington, and has been Artist-in-Residence at Melbourne University in Australia. He has edited three published collections of 17th-century music for viol consort by John Hingeston for PRB Productions, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Journal of Seventeenth Century Music and Early Music America.
As a chamber musician Mr. Dornenburg has performed in concert with many distinguished musicians including Wieland Kuijken, Andrew Parrott, Jaap Schröder, Marion Verbruggen, Stanley Ritchie, Davitt Moroney, Malcolm Proud, Julianne Baird, Judith Nelson, Paul Hillier, Nancy Argenta, Christine Brandes, Ellen Hargis, Andrew Lawrence King, and James Bowman.
He was awarded the Soloist’s Diploma for viola da gamba from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Holland, where his teacher was Wieland Kuijken. Before that, he studied Baroque performance practice with Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He holds a BA degree with a major in music from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio.