Concert Series

The MEMF Concert Series includes 7 individual concerts featuring MEMF guest ensembles, a Handel Aria Competition Concert, a free Participant Concert showcasing consorts that have been coached throughout the week by MEMF faculty, and the All-Festival Concert presented by participants, faculty, and guest artists.

Performances for the 2015 Festival

The Rose Ensemble: Saturday, July 11, 2015

East of the River: Sunday, July 12, 2015

Piffaro: A Renaissance Band: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Handel Aria Competition: Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7:30 pm

MEMF Participant Concert: Friday, July 17, 2015, 1:00 pm

Ensemble Peregrina: Friday, July 17, 2015

All-Festival Concert: Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Rose Ensemble

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Slavic Wonders: Feast and Saints in Early Russia, Bohemia and Poland

We invite you to visit these ancient places and more, where mysterious chants, joyful hymns and magnificent choral works are mingled with tales of folk heroes. Slavic Wonders includes stunning 12-part Baroque motets from the Russian Orthodox tradition, Medieval Latin chants for Slavic saints and powerful double-choir works from the Polish Renaissance. With repertoire and a stage presence hailed by presenters and audiences as ethereal and captivating, and a vocal blend and range called “supernatural” by the critics, The Rose Ensemble has presented this program to capacity crowds across the U.S. and Europe.

Jordan Sramek, Founder/Artistic Director, tenor
Kathy Lee, soprano
Kim Sueoka, soprano
Kris Kautzman, alto
Nick Chalmers, tenor
Andrew Kane, tenor
Jake Endres, baritone
Mark Dietrich, bass
David Burk, multi-instrumentalist
Ginna Watson, vielle, rebec, and harp

Learn more about The Rose Ensemble»

East of the River

Sunday, July 12, 2015


In the spirit of the program’s title, Levantera, East of the River explores Medieval music of the Mediterranean and travels eastward through the Balkans to Armenia and the Middle East, exploring the earliest songs of those extraordinary cultures, together with their traditional dances — the origins of which go back centuries. In this program East of the River lends its innovative blend of sounds to a fascinating and beautiful repertory much of which is little known to today’s audiences.

Daphna Mor, recorders, ney
Nina Stern, recorders, chalumeau
Tamer Pinarbasi, kanun
Shane Shanahan, percussion
Jesse Kotansky, violin

Learn more about East of the River»

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Slavic Connection: West meets East and East meets West

Piffaro’s concert tells a fascinating tale of cross-cultural influence and engagement in the musical interaction between western and eastern composers from the late 15th century into the early 17th. Easterners studied and worked in western environs, most notably the Slovenian Jakob Handl in Vienna and the Transylvanian Bakfark in Paris and Padua, and many western composers occupied lofty musical positions or spent a portion of their professional careers at eastern courts, including Thomas Stoltzer and Johannes Stockem in Buda, among many other German and Flemish notables. Western sacred polyphony traveled east and settled in Slavic courts & cathedrals, and eastern dances, such as the Ungerische Tantz, the Passamezzo ongaro and the Ungarescha journeyed east and found homes in the dance publications of Mainerio in Italy, Praetorius in Germany and Attaignant in France. The concert samples this interaction with motets, traditional tunes, dances, instrumental canzonas and ricercars to give a vivid picture of music making in Slavic lands in the main Renaissance period.

Greg Ingles
Tom Zajac
Grant Herreid
Joan Kimball
Christa Patton
Priscilla Herreid
Bob Wiemken

Learn more about Piffaro: A Renaissance Band»

Handel Aria Competition Concert

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7:30 pm, Music Hall

The only such competition in the U.S., this concert is the final round among 6 finalists chosen from over 50 contestants. The competition will be heard before a panel of 3 judges who will choose 3 winners. But the event will be open to the public, and the audience will choose a favorite from among the finalists. Tickets are $10 at the door; not included in the All-Festival pass.

Learn more about the Handel Aria Competition»

MEMF Participant Concert

Friday, July 17, 1:00 pm

Festival workshop participants perform in ensembles that have been coached by faculty artists throughout the week of the festival. There is no pre-concert lecture and no admission fee for this delightfully diverse concert.

No pre-concert lecture.

Ensemble Peregrina

Friday, July 17, 2015, 7:30 pm, Mills Concert Hall

Filia Praeclara: Music from Polish Clarissen Cloisters (13th & 14th c.)

St. Clare, devoted follower of Francis of Assisi, was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1255, gaining permission from the Vatican to live a convent life in perpetual poverty, as Francis had done. There were a number of Polish convents of the Order of St. Clare in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This rare program offers a glimpse into the musical (and hence spiritual life) of those communities based on some surviving copies of the “Magnus liber” that belonged to Kinga of Hungary (1224-1292) and is now located at the Stary Sacz monastery in southern Poland.

Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett
Kelly Landerkin
Lorenza Donadini
Hanna Järveläinen
Baptiste Romain
Marc Lewon
Eve Kopli

Learn more about Ensemble Peregrina»

All Festival Concert

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The All-Festival Concert will feature instrumental and choral works by composers of the 16th through 18th centuries from the courts of Warsaw and Cracow, including a triple choir Magnificat by Mikołaj Zieleński , and movements from Missa La Lombardesca by Bartołomiej Pękiel for double choir and instruments, and excerpts from Harmonia Caelestis (1711) from Hungarian composer Pál Eszterházy’s Harmonia Caelestis for choir and orchestra. Plus a stunning a cappella Choral Concerto by Ukrainian composer Dmitri Bortniansky from the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg.

Ticket information

Week-long Festival Concert Passes offer a savings of one-fourth over single ticket purchases. Both concert passes and single concert tickets may be purchased via the following channels:

  • at the door before each concert (check or cash only*)
  • online »
  • at the Vilas Hall Box Office (821 University Ave.) or the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office (Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.)
  • by calling 608-265-ARTS (2787).

*Due to the inability to process credit cards in the 2015 concert venues, please be prepared to purchase tickets at the door with cash or check; advance tickets may be purchased with a credit card or check. On Saturday, July 11, the box office at the door (Luther Memorial Church) will open at 5:00 pm; all other concert nights, 6:00 pm.

Advance ticket sales begin May 1 at 11:30am