People >> Bach Duo

The Bach Duo comprises Nella Hunkins, violoncello and Micaela Schmitz, harpsichord; both Americans who spent much of their lives in Europe. They offer many programmes, including Bach viola da gamba sonatas, suites for solo cello or harpsichord, and duos by other baroque composers.

The duo can be contacted
via email or by ringing 01386 859648.

Listen to some excerpts. Each will fade out before the end of the movement or section.

ensemble Bach, Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Cembalo in G, BWV 1027 / I Bach, Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Cembalo in D, BWV 1028 / II
solo violoncello Bach, Suite 3 in C / IV BWV 1009
Bach, Suite 3 in C/ V
BWV 1009
solo harpsichord
Bach, Toccata In D, BWV 912
Bach, Fugue from the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903

Nella Hunkins is from New York and comes from a family of professional musicians (all Juilliard School of Music graduates). She began her studies at an early age with her cellist father, whose cello she has inherited and plays since 1969. At 14 she enrolled at Juilliard and studied with Leonard Rose, ultimately finishing two degrees at Indiana University under Janos Starker. In 1968 she received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Paris Conservatory. Her first major appointment was Associate Principal Cellist with Cleveland Orchestra in 1973. Family and musical activities brought her to Berlin where she played with the Berlin Philharmonic Ensemble, including their DENON recording of Boccherini Quintets. She performed at the Casals Festival 1974-78, Salzburg Festivals 1984-90, and as a soloist with orchestras in New York, Berlin, and Singapore as well chamber music tours.

For eight years she served as principal cellist for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She has taught at the Cleveland Institute, Oberlin Conservatory (1971-78), Berlin Hochschule der Kunste (1980-86), the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore (NUS, 2001- 2009), and as coach to the youth orchestra of the Jeunesse Musicale. Ms. Hunkins has since chosen to make her home in the Cotswolds where she has made it her mission to share her love of chamber music, especially that of J.S. Bach, and seeks the further opportunities to teach, welcoming all levels.

Micaela Schmitz (originally from the U.S.) specialises in early keyboard instruments, including harpsichord, fortepiano and clavichord. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts under Arthur Haas at the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, New York. This was pre-ceded by a first degree in Music at U.C. Berkeley, and a Masters in Choral Conducting. She spent two years studying with Jacques Ogg and Bart van Oort at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. As a soloist she has received acclaim for her performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which features an entertaining pre-concert talk.

She has performed with Laurence Cummings, Paul Simmonds (duo keyboard repertoire); gambist Jacqui Robertson-Wade, and with Cathryn Dew, recorders.  Her ensemble Lady Georgianna offers costumed 18th-century presentations. She delivers arts workshops with Early Music in the Vale, is Education Officer for the Chipping Campden Music Festival, and co-runs the Worcestershire Waits, an early music ensemble for young people aged 8-16. She edits the magazine Harpsichord & Fortepiano, and received a Finzi Trust Scholarship in 2008-9 to research and edit 18th-century songs. 

See us in the Gloucestershire Echo.

And the Evesham Observer.

A sample programme, performed 19 April 2013, 7.30pm at St Peter's Church, Winchcombe

The Joy of Bach: Music sacred and secular

Bach, 'Arioso' from Cantata BWV 156

Bach, from Suite no. l in G Major for Solo Violoncello, BWV1007

Bach, Sonata in G Major for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1027
    Adagio – Allegro ma non tanto – Andante – Allegro moderato

Vivaldi, Sonata in Bb  Major, RV 46
Largo– Allegro – Largo – Allegro

Gounod, setting of ‘Ave Maria’ to Bach’s Prelude in C, from the Well Tempered Clavier


Bach,  ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’, from ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben,’ BWV 147

Bach, Sheep may safely graze, from ‘Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd’, BWV 208   
arranged by RoDeby Music Digital engraving

Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel, ‘Bist du bei mir’, BWV 508
(once attributed to Bach, as it was found in the Anna Magdalena Notenbuch

Bach, French suite no. 4 in Eb: Allemande for solo harpsichord

Vivaldi, ‘Nulla in mundo, pax sincera’ arranged by Paul R. Marchesano

Bach, Sonata for Viola da Gamba in D Major, BWV 1028
        Adagio – Allegro – Andante – Allegro

Bach, ‘Air on the G String’ 

***Next concert- see Events page here.

Music of Joy for all the World

Bach's viola da gamba Sonata in D Major, the crown jewel of the repertoire, is flanked by virtuosic keyboard works and other baroque treasures by Vivaldi and Marcello, including a Bach transcription of a Marcello concerto.

Music of Peace for All Time
  (lunchtime version)
Sharing a title with their CD, this programme features the timeless music of Bach including viola da gamba sonatas, works by Vivaldi, and works by Bach based on models of Vivaldi.

This programme includes works by Bach and Vivaldi, including passages for two instruments where there is a certain degree of improvisation alongside ones where every note is written out (except for a few embellishments), and works for solo instruments that show simplicity in a single voice next to works where one instrument stands in for an entire orchestra. Vivaldi was much admired by Bach so we have included his work as well.


"Just one of my most memorable evenings -it went so fast - loved every minute. Thank you.(concert goer, 20 November 2010)

"Still buzzing! Loved the concert!" (concert goer, 20 November 2010)

"I thought the interchange [in the Vivaldi Four Seasons] between soloist Lin and concertmaster Alexander Souptel couldn’t be beat until I heard his interplay with magnificent principal cellist  Nella Hunkins in the other three concertos.”
Gil French, American Record Guide)