The Festival and Workshop
The Madison Early Music Festival was created in 2000 to provide an opportunity for musicians, scholars, teachers and early music enthusiasts to gather and exchange information and ideas about Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music and to bring acclaimed early music artists to the Midwest to perform in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin. There are opportunities for everyone, from those who simply enjoy listening to concerts and lectures to early music scholars, and performance opportunities for amateurs and professionals. All listeners, singers, players and dancers are welcome!
The Festival Concert Series consists of seven concerts and includes performances by ensembles-in-residence as well as a Faculty Concert, Participant Concert, and All-Festival Concert. For the Faculty Concert, resident artists collaborate outside their usual ensemble membership, resulting in an exciting program with even greater variety than the rest of the week's concerts. In the Participant Concert, free to the public, participant consorts showcase the skills they ahve achieved under the coaching of MEMF faculty during the week. In the All-Festival Concert, the culmination of the week, highlight for faculty as well as participants. Each evening concert includes a pre-concert lecture by a renowned scholar and/or performer on a topic related to the Festival theme.
Workshop classes occupy five days of the Festival, with offerings ranging from beginner-level instruction to advanced master classes and consorts. Class topics include vocal and instrumental technique, historical performance practices, and specific early music repertoires. Instruction in historical dance is offered as evening "recreation" as well, in some years, a regular daytime class. A midday lecture series expands evening pre-concert lectures for workshop participants and provides two additional lectures open to the public.
The Rest of the Year
MEMF collaborates with other early music performers and presenters in and near Madison in order to cultivate local early music activity. In addition to partnering with major presenters such as Early Music Now and the Wisconsin Union Theater to host visiting ensembles during the year, we maintain a list of early music events on our Concerts and Events page and send e-mail announcements of upcoming concerts and the MEMF Gazette, our monthly newsletter, to our mailing list. Sign up at: http://eepurl.com/kjiBr.
Where We Are
The annual Festival and Workshop takes place on the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building near the shores of beautiful Lake Mendota and the college-town atmosphere of State Street. Museums, bicycle and nature trails, sailing, interesting architecture and culturally historical sites, and a broad selection of restaurants, pubs, and ice cream and cheese shops (a local specialty in the Dairy State!) are just a sampling of the leisure options available to summertime visitors.