The Mystery Sonatas
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Rosary Sonatas
Part III: The Glorious Mysteries
A soulful journey into the heart of the Baroque

Tekla Cunningham, baroque violin
Tess Roberts, viola da gamba

Henry Lebedinsky, organ and harpsichord

(We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances, Elisabeth Reed is not able to travel to Seattle to perform in this concert. In her place, we welcome emerging viola da gamba player Tess Roberts.)

The Mystery Sonatas, also known as the Rosary Sonatas, are three sets of 5 sonatas for violin and continuo (plus a concluding Passacaglia for solo violin) that were completed around 1676 by Biber, the leading violin virtuoso of the 17th century. Dedicated to the Archbishop Gandolph in Salzburg, these sonatas are as compelling, affecting and moving as they were when they were written almost 350 years ago. Scored for a single violin supported by continuo, Biber employs a different tuning for each sonata. Only the first sonata (the Annunciation) and the final Passacaglia share the standard G-D-A-E tuning. This technique of mistuning the violin, called scordatura, gives a tremendous range of affects and emotions to this music. Retuning brings the violin into different key areas and creates a kaleidoscope of overtones and sonic effects, helping Biber to create specific feelings or affects in the listener. 

The Glorious Mysteries, the final set of sonatas in the Mysteries Sonatas cycle, begins with the Resurrection and the events of Easter:

The Resurrection
The Ascension
The Assumption of the Virgin
The Beatification of the Virgin

Tekla CunninghamBaroque violinist Tekla Cunningham delights in bringing music of the baroque, classical and romantic eras to life with vivid and expressive historically informed performances. Her new recording Stylus Phantasticus with Pacific MusicWorks is earning critical praise for its "tender expressivity", "dramatic flair and dark wit", "songlike expressivity" and "Terpsichorean flair." In an album lauded for "vocal plushness" and "vibrant lyricism," Tekla is described as "a marvel on her Italian instrument, an endlessly songful bird." Early Music America describes the recording as "played with verve, the music presented here reaffirms the old notion that instrumental music can have the flair of any theatrical spectacle... a stellar vessel for the boldest showmanship." Her concert performances have been described as "ravishingly beautiful" and "stellar". "Enough can't be said for Tekla Cunningham, who conducts with head, eyes, and even eyebrows as she plays. She is a consummate musician whose flowing solos and musical gestures are a joy to watch."

She is co-artistic director and concertmaster of Pacific MusicWorks (with Stephen Stubbs and Henry Lebedinsky), and artist-in-residence at the University of Washington where her students are a source of inspiration and joy. She founded and directs the Whidbey Island Music Festival, now entering its seventeenth season, producing and presenting vibrant period-instrument performances of music from Monteverdi to Beethoven and beyond. She plays regularly as concertmaster, principal player and soloist with the American Bach Soloists in California. Her greatest musical love is music of the baroque and chamber music of all stripes, though she can’t seem to quit Johannes Brahms.

Tess Roberts Emerging viola da gamba player Tess Roberts has been exploring the world of early music through the viol since age 11. Past and recent performances include appearances with the Medieval Women's Choir, University of Washington Baroque Ensemble, UC Davis chamber and University choirs, and community outreach performances with Seattle Historical Arts for Kids since 2015. Tess has also enjoyed teaching opportunities at UC Davis and the University of Washington and has recently opened a private viola da gamba studio in Seattle. She also hopes to broaden her teaching to early childhood music education with a global music focus, by studying Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington as she prepares for graduate studies in Gamba performance in Europe. She leads casual play-in and coaching sessions of historical music and performance practices for the local viol community.

Henry LebedinskyHailed by The Miami Herald for his "superb continuo... brilliantly improvised and ornamented," GRAMMY-nominated historical keyboardist, composer, and conductor Henry Lebedinsky has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, Seraphic Fire, Sonoma Bach, and the Cantata Collective, among others. Recent conducting engagements include the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and Sonoma Bach's Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, and he serves as co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco Bay Area's AGAVE. With countertenor Reginald L. Mobley, he has spent the past dozen years introducing listeners near and far to music by Black composers from the past two and a half centuries, including recent appearances at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and Festival Printemps Musical des Alizés in Morocco. In 2014, he founded Seattle's Early Music Underground, which brought Baroque music to brewpubs, wineries, and other places where people gather, and presenting it in multimedia contexts which both entertain and educate. In the middle of the pandemic, he launched his newest venture, Classical Uncorked, an artist-driven music cooperative that blends music, wine, spirits, and good company while seeking to center both performers and repertoire from historically excluded populations.


Tekla Cunningham, violin: H. I. F. von Biber: Mystery Sonatas – The Glorious Mysteries
Saturday, May 6, 2023 – 8:00 pm

This link will take you to the ticketing site.

Suggested donation: $20.00 | students & seniors: $12.00
Pay-what-you-can tickets and an option to offer a donation greater than the suggested amount are available at the ticketing link.

The concert begins at 8:00pm.

The Cathedral will close after the 5:30pm Mass for setup, and doors reopen at 7:30pm. No reserved seating is available for this concert except for Friends of Cathedral Music donors.

While advance purchase of tickets is encouraged and greatly appreciated, walk-up tickets will be available at the Marion St. & Terry Ave. door only (box office will open no later than 7:30pm). Those who have purchased tickets in advance, are entering with a Friends of Cathedral Music membership card, or are on the will-call list may enter at any entrance.

Online ticket sales will be available through the end of the concert. To purchase advance tickets with a check or cash, visit the Cathedral parish office, on the north side of Columbia Street between 9th and Terry Avenues. The parish office is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.

COVID Guidelines
Proof of vaccination is no longer required for Cathedral events. The CDC and King County Public Health continue to strongly recommend you wear a mask at large indoor events. While not required, we encourage all concert attendees to wear masks while community spread continues. We ask that all audience members be respectful of each other’s choices. This policy is subject to change based on Archdiocesan, King County, and Washington State COVID guidelines and regulations.

More Information:

Where to Enter
There are three Cathedral entrances for concerts:

- The Marion Street/Terry Avenue entrance is at the northeast corner of the Cathedral (nearest to O'Dea parking). This entrance is accessible to those with disabilities. Restrooms and the Box Office to purchase walk-up tickets are located at this entrance.

- The Columbia Street/Courtyard entrance is on the south side of the Cathedral near the Chapel. Accessible via a ramp. Advance ticket holders, Friends of Cathedral Music, and will call may enter here.

- The 9th Avenue entrance is on the west side of the Cathedral. This entrance is NOT accessible to those who use a wheelchair or have other mobility issues. Advance ticket holders, Friends of Cathedral Music, and will call may enter here.

Tickets and Seating
You will receive a ticket by email after your purchase on Please bring a printed or electronic copy (on smartphone or tablet) of your ticket to the concert. If you are unable to print or don't have an electronic device, we will have a list of all attendees at the entrances. You may check in at any entrance.

If you or a member of your party has a specific seating need (wheelchair, aisle seat for walker, etc.), please contact us in advance at or 206-382-4874, and we will make sure that you are accommodated.

Parking Information
- The Cabrini Garage closes after Mass at 7pm and will NOT remain open for this concert.

- Limited free parking (~65 spaces) is available in the O'Dea High School parking lot, entrances on Marion and Columbia Streets between Terry and Boren Avenues.

- Street parking is $2.50/hour (free after 8:00pm).

- Accessible parking is available on the west side of Terry Avenue, between Marion and Columbia.

- There is a small pay lot across the street from the Cathedral on 9th Avenue and a larger pay lot at 711 Madison Street. If you park at a garage in the neighborhood, be sure to check the closing time.

Public Transportation
St. James Cathedral is within a few blocks of a number of bus lines and the First Hill Streetcar. The #60 bus stops directly in front on 9th Ave. To plan your trip, visit (or 206-553-3000), or and search for Terry Ave & Marion St, Seattle.

If you have any questions, please call the Music Office at 206-382-4874, or e-mail

804 Ninth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104 | 206-382-4874 |