Mara Winter is a performer, composer and photographer who spends her time exploring the infinite braid of the past and present. Her musical journey blends a profound personal artistic ethos with a deep commitment to technical fluency in historical flutes, spanning from the Middle Ages and Renaissance through the Classical and early-Romantic eras. With a diverse background steeped in rigorous historical performance training and extensive engagement in international contemporary and improvisational music circles, Mara's ongoing research explores the application of physical, intuitive microtonal tuning techniques to enhance the nuances of 16th-century modal music.
Mara directs her Renaissance traverso consort, Phaedrus, based in Basel, Switzerland. The ensemble released their debut album, 'Adonia: 16th Century Italian Music to Lament a Fallen God’, on Passacaille Records in 2022. Phaedrus is currently preparing to record a second album of Habsburg-Burgundian polyphony and basse danse repertoire, 'Le Diamant et la Marguerite'.
With the Baroque and Classical traverso, Mara Winter has performed with orchestras across Switzerland, Germany and the United States: J.S. Bach-Stiftung, La Scintilla (Zurich Opera), Il Gusto Barocco, Les Passions de L’Ame, Orchester le Phénix, Capriccio Barockorchester, and Pacific Musicworks, among others. In earlier repertoires, she is a regularly featured performer with internationally-recognized groups such as Sollazzo Ensemble, Cappella Pratensis, Ensemble Leones, Le Miroir de Musique, Ensemble Peregrina. Since 2020, she has been a guest instructor of Medieval transverse flute at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. In May of 2024, Mara will serve as the guest director of the renowned Boston Camerata (USA) to premier the new concert program, 'Celestial Visions from Medieval Britain'.
Mara is also active as a composer, focusing mainly on the creation of new music for the traverso, voice, and electronics. Throughout her two years of artistic research under the supervision of Caspar Johannes Walter at the Hochschüle für Musik in Basel, she completed a cycle of color-informed microtonal pieces for four flutes. Her compositions have been premiered at documenta fifteen (Kassel, DE), and Météo Festival (Mulhouse, FR). Her original music has been recorded and released on the labels Another Timbre (UK), INSUB records (Geneva), Discreet Editions (Basel), and Kunsthall Produktionen (Bern). In 2024, she will premier two new collaborative concert works commissioned by the Utrecht Early Music Festival.
In 2020, Mara co-founded the boutique record label Discreet Editions together with composer and performer Clara de Asís. It fuses the realm of ancient music to that of contemporary, experimental composition through collaborations, commissions, structured improvisation and other, yet-to-be-named performance practices.