Ile du Berceau was founded in 2011 by cellist and vocalist Martha Larson. The ensemble varies in size from an intimate acoustic duo (cello / vocals + guitar) to a swingin' sextet, depending on the size and style of event and performance venue. Band members include a rotating cast of the following talented musicians:
Martha was classically trained as a youth, but expanded to jazz and rock while an engineering student at Northwestern University. She was active in the Chicago music scene for over ten years, performing with various rock and jazz ensembles including singer-songwriter Kat Parsons, indie rock band The Paper Airplane Pilots, prog rock ensemble Aziola Cry, rock musician Phil Angotti, and gypsy jazz guitarist Alfonso Ponticelli. Martha was also a founding member of Chicago gypsy jazz ensemble, the Uptown Strings. She studied jazz theory, improvisation, writing and arranging with David Bloom at the Bloom School of Jazz who is now producing her debut solo jazz album. Upon moving to Northfield, MN in 2010, Martha founded Ile du Berceau, made frequent appearances with the Clearwater Hot Club and began cultivating the budding gypsy jazz scene in southern Minnesota. Martha began her professional career as an acoustical consultant for the Chicago firm of Kirkegaard Associates, and is now the Manger of Campus Energy and Sustainability at Carleton College. She lives in Northfield with her loving husband, Nat and adorable baby daughter, Olga.
Mike Hildebrandt, Violin
Mike was trained classically in college at the University of Minnesota, played in the U of MN Symphony Orchestra, studied with members of the Minnesota Orchestra and played in various chamber groups throughout southern Minnesota. In college, he began playing other styles of fiddle music and became a member of the innovative Twin Cities' folk music scene. Mike currently lives in Faribault, Minnesota, where for the last 30 years he has practiced medicine, raised his family, and continued to write original fiddle music and perform with a variety of groups, especially his long time friends in The Over and Back Band and Jivin' Ivan and the Kings of Swing. In 2007 Mike was inducted into the Minnesota
Rock/Country Music Hall of Fame (now called the Mid-America Music Hall
of Fame) as a member of one of Minnesota's first bluegrass bands, The
Platte Valley Boys.
Sam is a jazz guitarist born and raised in the woods of northern
Minnesota. He is a musician by profession and plays regularly in the
Upper Midwest as a soloist and with his band the Clearwater Hot Club. Sam also hosts the weekly Jazz night at the VFW in Grand Rapids, MN with a rotating cast of musicians from
his Sam Miltich Trio and Sam Miltich Quartet. While growing up, music was always a part of the gatherings of
his large extended family. At a screening of Woody Allen's movie "Sweet
and Lowdown," Sam heard the
music of the late gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and decided to
dedicate himself to the study of gypsy jazz. By the time he was
eighteen, Sam was touring with the Robin Nolan Trio in
the U.S. and Europe. He would later join the Hot Club of San Francisco
for two years before starting his own band, the Clearwater Hot Club. In addition to gypsy swing and traditional jazz, Sam's musical interests include Brazilian choro, French musette, Eastern
European tamburitza, and other forms of traditional folk music.
Mark Kreitzer, Guitar (and more!)
Mark is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, mandolin, mandocello, mandola, Dobro, and ukulele. Mark leads the Mark Kreitzer Band, also known as the '53 Swingbillies. He is also a member of the Clearwater Hot Club, Patty and the Buttons, and the Mill City Hot Club and often sits in with other local groups, including Becky Schlegel, The Platte Valley Boys, Twin Cities Hot Club, and French 75. Mark was a long-time member of the Harmonious Wail and, as a member of the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, was inducted into the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame. As a prolific songwriter and recipient of MBOTMA’s first Favorite Bluegrass Songwriter award, Mark has recorded two CDs of his originals — “Pages” (solo CD) and “The Mark Kreitzer Band.” Mark is an educator, as well, currently teaching American Folk Instruments at Carleton College and songwriting and guitar at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul.
Paul Ousley, Bass
Paul has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra,
the Audubon String Quartet and a host of jazz greats. His former
teachers include James Clute, Stuart Sankey, Gary Karr, and James Van
Demark. He has served on seven college faculties including the
University of Iowa and the Eastman School of Music. His pupils include
professional players, teachers, scholarship recipients at major music
schools and festivals, as well as winners of the Schubert Club and
Minnesota Idol solo competitions. Paul currently teaches double bass at St. Olaf College and is the Orchestra Director of Owatonna High School.
Daniel Groll, Drums
Daniel is a prolific musician, singer and songwriter, best known as leader of the Counterfactuals which was voted 2011 Best Band in Northfield. Twice touted as having "Must hear" status by The Current (MPR), the group is comprised of professors from Carleton and St. Olaf. Daniel received a dual-degree in Philosophy and Jazz Performance (Drums) from McGill University. He went on to earn a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Chicago and is now both an Assistant Professor in philosophy department at Carleton College and an Affiliate Faculty Member at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota.
Nat Wilson, Guitar
Nat specializes in the intricate art of rhythm guitar, having been strongly influenced by the Chicago gypsy jazz scene. He played many instruments as a youth, finally settling on the french horn. He is now fully dedicated to the world of stringed instruments and plays often with his wife, Martha. He was drawn to Northfield, Minnesota in 2010 through his role as digital archivist at the Carleton College Gould Library.
Matthew Miltich, Bass
Matthew occasionally joins the Ile du Berceau crew when traveling south from his home in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Hailing from a very musical family, Matthew played many instruments before devoting himself to the bass. As a founding member of the Clearwater Hot Club, he has traveled as far as Japan to spread the sounds of gypsy jazz music far and wide.