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American Concert Series Round-up

A peek at four American early music concert series for the 2009-2010 season --- Berkeley, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Boston.

It’s that time of year again. No matter where you live in the U.S., the 2009-2010 concert season is about to begin. And if you love early music, there are five series in particular that you should know about—all offer interesting and varied programs that will please even the most demanding among us. Keep in mind that many ensembles have their own series (I’ll cover that in a later post), and that numerous museums and concert venues present early music as part of their general programming fare, but here I’m looking at the main ones which present only early music (click on the titles to see complete schedules).

San Francisco Early Music Society

SFEMS goes out of its way to present both local and international ensembles. This year it looks as if the local groups have a strong presence for most of the season with excellent programs. Rounding out the series are Capella Artemisia and LIBER (formerly Liber unUsualis).

Early Music Guild of Seattle (International Series)

The Early Music Guild has a terrific line-up of ensembles for their season with Musica Ad Rhenum, Sequentia, and Hesperion XXI. They also offer some notable local/regional ensembles, including the Tudor Choir, Portland Baroque Orchestra (with Rinaldo Alessandrini, dir.), and the well-known duo of Ingrid Matthews and Byron Schenkman.

Early Music Now

EMN in Milwaukee will present six ensembles with a wide range of styles and approaches—Galileo’s Daughters, Ensemble Lipzodes, Emma Kirkby and Jakob Lindberg, the Caravan Ensemble, Anonymous 4, and Red Priest.

Houston Early Music

Houston’s season start off with a bang and continues with a wonderfully varied line-up. (Red Priest, The Rose Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, and Tapestry).

Boston Early Music Festival

BEMF is famous for their bi-annual festival, but their year-round concert series is no less exciting. This season you’ll have an opportunity to hear the Blue Heron Renaissance Choir, Emma Kirkby and Jakob Lindberg, Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” (BEMF Chamber Opera Series), Sequentia, Vittorio Ghielmi and Luca Pianca, Les Folies Françoises, The Tallis Scholars, and La Capella Reial de Catalunuya, Al Darwish & Hespèrion XXI.

UPDATE: Here are other series to add to the list.

Music Before 1800

Based at New York City’s Corpus Christi Church, Music Before 1800 has been presenting concerts for three-and-a-half decades. The 2009-2010 season includes a veritable early music feast with Dialogos, Stile Antico, Cappella Romana, Anonymous 4, Choir of Corpus Christi Church, Juilliard Baroque, violinist Hélène Schmitt, and Pomerium.

Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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