old music with(out) all the baggage
twisted pearl, deriving its name from a literal interpretation of the word “baroque,” is a chicago-based band of highly talented young string players under the direction of harpsichordist conor lyons that specializes in european music from the 18th century. the group primarily explores lesser-played repertoire and expresses a distinct passion for sharing music in a way that not only demonstrates respect for the music itself through using period-appropriate techniques, but also recalls the warmth, intimacy, and emotional poignancy of baroque performance, reminding audiences that music is a communal pursuit, a beautiful gift meant to be shared near wine and food in the home and with friends.
our vision is for baroque music to exist as a valid contribution to the dialogue of music today, valued by musicians and listeners alike, and understood as an exercise in cultural understanding that can expose us to our own views and mold us as people. our vision is for baroque music to play the same role in our hearts it was meant to play hundreds of years ago: it is a tool for feeling that can expose in us the ecstasy of joy, the pain of despair, the comfort of pleasure, and the agitation of hate. our vision is to realize the intent of baroque musicians today and honor them by affirming their humanity and rediscovering our own.
at the ripe old age of 4, zoë douthit started courting the cello, and soon realized that she had fallen madly in love. born and raised in new york city, she was immersed in the robust wealth of music opportunities there, attending the kaufman center’s special music school and playing in the program offered by the chamber music center of new york on the weekends. she honed her skills under sibylle jonner and mary jo pagano, and after continuing her studies at wheaton college under leonardo altino, dr. daniel sommerville, and dr. beth bauer, she received her bachelor’s degree in music pedagogy, graduating with honors in 2021. zoë continues her music career through teaching in downtown chicago at the chicago center of music education, as well as participating in the illinois valley symphony orchestra. when she is not teaching or playing the cello, she can be found working at the local french restaurant, as well as enjoying her time baking treats, going on walks, and attending concerts with friends.
having sprung from the picturesque state of maine, hannah flanigan is passionate about the violin, analysis, and life itself! she maintains a private teaching studio in wheaton, il and also plays with the illinois valley symphony orchestra. after intensive study under the tutelage of paul zafer and dr. beth bauer, she earned her bachelor of music in violin performance and violin pedagogy, graduating with honors. her other mentors and teachers include song xie, yasmin vitalius, and janet sung. when not playing the violin, hannah is an active member in her church, loves a fun outdoor adventure, and currently works as an analyst at paulson wealth management inc. in their advisor development program.
lawrence has played the bass since he was 10 years old. though he appears to be a mischievous imp, he has studied his instrument diligently with aaron policastro and now studies with andrew anderson of the chicago lyric opera. in 2021, lawrence was invited to play as a guest performer with the wheaton college symphony orchestra for the entirety of their season. he has also played with the camerata chicago academy chamber ensemble. lawrence is now enjoying a gap year in preparation for college auditions, and he intends to major in double bass performance, but for now, he’s content to be the patron of chaos in twisted pearl’s rehearsals.
coming from a family of musicians, timothy began piano and viola lessons at the age of 6. though he’s currently wandering toward his undergraduate degree in music composition at wheaton college, timothy has proven eclectic in his study of music, having studied piano for 12 years under janna williamson, viola for 16 years under lisa hirschmugl, peter slowik, and rose griffin, composition with dr. shawn okpebholo, dr. xavier beteta, dr. howie whitaker, and dr. misook kim, and orchestral conducting with dr. benjamin klemme. apert from music, timothy enjoys studying conlangs, star wars, walks during the sunset, and philosophical or theological discussions (especially when there is alcohol involved).
jenna studied the violin at the wheaton college conservatory of music under paul zafer, receiving her bachelor’s degree in music pedagogy in 2020. during her time there, she was also honored with the college’s president’s award in music and began teaching suzuki lessons to young violinists. during 2021, she served as the principal second violinist for the illinois valley symphony orchestra and played for the music programs at a variety of churches. this autumn, she is pursuing a master’s degree in violin performance from depaul university, where she is studying with ann setzer. that’s all well and good, but the thing she’s most excited about (we insist on her behalf) is a season of hot baroque music from chicago’s favorite baroque strings band.
harpsichordist conor lyons, originally from dallas, texas (he says howdy), moved up to wheaton, illinois to study harpsichord under dr. edward zimmerman, voice under dr. thomas hueber, and music composition under dr. shawn okpebholo, all at the wheaton college conservatory of music, graduating with honors in 2021 with his bachelor’s degree in harpsichord performance. after all that, he decided to settle down for a bit in a cute house in the western ‘burbs with some buddies and prepare for graduate studies. he works in a wine bar, plays with the camerata chicago chamber orchestra, and never misses an opportunity to sit outside eating good food, drinking good wine, and playing good music with his friends.