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johnthiessen headshotJohn Thiessen, Executive Director
John Thiessen comes to GEMS with an extensive background in arts management, including the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, NOVUS NY and The Music Paradigm. He was previously Executive Director of the American Bach Soloists. As an instrumentalist specializing in music from the 17th–19th centuries, Thiessen has been described by The New York Times as “the gold standard of Baroque trumpet playing in this country”. He has appeared as soloist and principal with Philharmonia Baroque, Tafelmusik, Handel & Haydn Society, and Boston Early Music Festival. Thiessen has recorded over 80 commercial CD’s for Sony Classical, BMG, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, London Decca, Telarc and EMI. He serves on the faculties of Juilliard’s Historical Performance Department, the American Bach Soloists Academy and Montclair State University. 

216 Gene Murrow photo by Tatiana Daubek 3in Gene Murrow, Founder and Chairman of the Board
Gene was founder and president of two successful computer companies and has been involved with early music for over 40 years. Following a music degree from Columbia with oboe studies at Juilliard, he toured with the New York Renaissance Band and the Paul Winter Consort. He has coached American Recorder Society Chapters and at early music workshops throughout the United States for over 30 years, and served as ARS President from 1994-2000. A founding member of Early Music America, he has served on the Board of Directors for two terms. Prior to founding GEMS in 2007, he served as General Manager of Early Music/New York in New York City.

144 Naomi headshot 2in

Naomi Morse, Director of Marketing
A native of Vermont, Naomi lived in Brooklyn from 2007–2020. She is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she performed frequently with the College's early music vocal ensemble. During 2006, she lived in York, England, where she studied ensemble singing at the University of York with her early music quintet, "Uncloistered." In addition to her professional singing and work at GEMS, Naomi plays the fiddle for traditional contra and English country dances as well as in concert with a number of bands, including The Poor Cousins and Childsplay.

Robby Meese headshotRobby Meese, Director of Concert Services
Robby is a conductor and arts leader based in New York City. Recent highlights include engagements as cover conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Chorus and Orchestra, and the Dearborn (MI) Symphony Orchestra, and multimedia production work with the Albany (NY) Symphony and Joyce DiDonato’s Eden tour performance in Ann Arbor, MI. Prior to moving to New York, Robby earned degrees from Duke University and the University of Michigan. In addition to working with GEMS, Robby is the administrative director of Music Before 1800 in Morningside Heights. He lives with his wife Caroline in Brooklyn. 


Kevin C Devine headshotKevin C. Devine, Assistant Director of Concert Services
Kevin is an artist and administrator performing engaging and unconventional programs across the United States. He has a passion for innovative projects that strive to engage a 21st century audience. In order for classical and early music to thrive, he believes that the diversity of the musicians on stage, the composers, and the audiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we live. Kevin has obtained degrees from Boston University, Stony Brook University, and The Juilliard School. He has been invited to play solo recitals on several concert series, including Gotham Early Music Scene in Manhattan and Harpsichord Heaven at the Barn at Flintwoods. As an accompanist and teacher, he works with Amherst Early Music Festival, American Bach Soloists and San Francisco Early Music Society Baroque Workshop. An avid hurdy-gurdy player, Kevin loves to explore the breadth of the repertoire for the instrument, from the cantigas de Santa Maria to 18th-century arrangements of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Rachel Givner

Rachel Givner, Director of Administrative Services
Rachel manages a wide variety of GEMS administrative and financial responsibilities, thoughtfully and with attention to detail. Her professional background includes 20+ years of experience at the New York City Transit Authority in planning, analyst, and management roles. Rachel is an amateur clarinetist who currently plays in folk music ensembles, and who also sang in her high school's Renaissance Choir. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she played in the wind ensemble and in a Dixieland band. She has a graduate degree from the London School of Economics, where she played in the orchestra.

Rebecca J. WeberRebecca J. Weber, Director of Development
Rebecca, an organizational advisor with more than a decade of experience in strategic capacity building, developing growth opportunities, content marketing, and galvanizing organization-wide campaigns, is driven to guide the sustainable scaling of GEMS’ reach by her strong belief in the organization’s mission to serve artist-led early music projects. A former nonprofit executive director in the social justice sphere, she brings a deeply held commitment to closing the opportunity gap that includes public access to the arts and opportunities for artists. Rebecca graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in communication and currently volunteers as co-leader of the Women Career Changers Networking Circle, a group dedicated to helping women help each other. 

Dennis EdemekaDennis Cembalo, Social Media Manager
Dennis is a Brooklyn native who has had a long-standing appreciation of early music. As a frequent concert-goer, he has become well acquainted with musicians and venues throughout the city. Dennis studied Architecture Technology at the CUNY City Tech, but his studies have now turned toward the keyboard. He is an avid harpsichord enthusiast seeking proficiency with the instrument and its repertoire. Dennis' goal within GEMS is to strengthen the connection between early musicians and their audience as well as expose new audiences to the art form.

LuGene Be headshotLuGene Bé, Wellness Program Coordinator
LuGene grew up in Grinnell, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa with a music/voice major. Her past work includes the telecommunications corporate world, Program Director and Coordinator for non-profit organizations, residential real estate sales, and a small business owner of a natural health and wellness service. She is a Certified Natural Health Professional, Certified Health Coach and Certified Reflexologist. While living in Des Moines, Iowa she also sang as section leader in church, synagogue and temple choirs. With GEMS, LuGene brings her experience planning, directing and executing various types of programs with non-profit organizations for people of all ages. She and her husband live in Washington Heights and enjoy attending as many early music performances as they can, as well as playing early music on viola da gamba, Baroque violin, Renaissance and Baroque flutes, and rebec.

Paul Ross

Paul Ross, Past Board President and Media Guru
Following a career in publishing, Paul joined GEMS to design and implement effective scheduling and management systems for our organization. For 14 years, he was Managing Editor of Ziff-Davis's PC Magazine, where he coordinated the efforts of some 40 professionals in writing, editorial, design, and printing to ensure that the magazine reached newsstands and subscribers on time, twice a month.


150 Wendy RedlingerWendy Redlinger, GEMS Live! Artist Representative for Special Projects
Wendy enjoyed a successful career at Vermont-based World Learning and its School for International Training overseeing language instructional programs abroad and negotiating with organizations around the world for placement of ESL teachers. Fluent in English, Spanish, German, Nepalese, and conversant in French, she began her career as a booking agent by representing the medieval duo Asteria following their win of the 2004 EMA Medieval/Renaissance competition (her son, Eric, was half the duo). From 2006 to 2013, she was booking a roster of New York-based early music groups for GEMS Live! which at one point includes 14 ensembles. From 2013 to 2018, Wendy led Road Scholar educational travel tours to Cuba. In 2015 Wendy started booking U.S. tours for the Cuban early music ensemble, Ars Longa, which have taken place in the spring of 2017 through 2020. She continues to represent Ars Longa for U.S. touring in spring 2021 and beyond. Wendy holds a B. Mus. degree in piano performance, and has been performing on portativ organ and harpsichord since 1991, first in a duo with the late Edmund Brelsford and later with local southern Vermont baroque ensembles, where she lives.

GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music — playing repertoire from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.