Lectures & special events

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our 15th year celebration. We are already looking forward to next year.

MEMF 2015 will run July 11 through July 18. Our theme is Slavic Discoveries: Early Music from Eastern Europe.

New information will become available in the spring of 2015. In the meantime we leave all 2014 information here for your reference.

All concerts except the MEMF Participant Concert will be preceded by an expert lecture, free and open to the public, to be held near the concert site. Some special events have additional admission fees as indicated below.

Friday, July 11, Pre-Festival Arts Council of Edgerton Benefit Concert
Daily, July 12-18, Renaissance Loud Band Intensive
Daily, July 12-18, Baroque Opera Workshop
Saturday, July 12, Pre-concert Lecture by Gail Geiger
Sunday, July 13, Pre-concert Lecture by John W. Barker
Monday, July 14, Bonus Lecture by Christopher Kleinhenz
Monday, July 14, Danza, danza!
Tuesday, July 15, Pre-concert Lecture by Jane Tylus
Wednesday, July 16, Bonus Lecture by Ian Pritchard
Thursday, July 17, Bonus Lecture by Mark Rimple
Thursday, July 17, Handel Aria Competition
Friday, July 18, Pre-concert Lecture by Mark Rimple
Saturday, July 19, Informal Concert: Renaissance Loud Band and L’Orfeo Opera Scenes
Saturday, July 19, Pre-concert Lecture by Jelena Todorović

Pre-Festival Arts Council of Edgerton Benefit Concert

Friday, July 11, 7:30pm; Wartmann Prairie, 7356 Caledonia Road, Edgerton, WI

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, presents Ricercar, Canzona and Dance: Instrumental Music for Varied Occasion from the Cities and Courts of Renaissance Italy.

Sponsored by William Wartmann. Tickets are $10 ($5 students). Purchase at the door or in advance through the Piggly Wiggly in Edgerton or the Edgerton Pharmacy. Not included in the 2014 Festival Concert Pass.

Renaissance Loud Band Intensive

A select group of advanced players of cornetto, shawm, sackbut, and dulcian will focus their entire MEMF week on forming and polishing a historically-based reed and brass ensemble such as existed in the major towns and courts of Italy from the late 15th through the 16th centuries. Culminates in a Saturday afternoon performance on July 19. Maximum of 8 participants is by audition or permission of the instructor only. For further information, contact Bob Wiemken at bob@piffaro.com. Deadline to submit application is June 1.

Baroque Opera Workshop

The Early Monodists: Excerpts from L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi

This program will allow a select group of 10 singers the opportunity to participate in the study and performance of scenes from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, culminating in a Saturday afternoon performance on July 19. Directed by Christa Patton, Paul Rowe, and Drew Minter. For further information contact Paul Rowe at pyrowe@wisc.edu. Deadline to submit application is April 25.

Pre-concert Lecture

Saturday, July 12, 6:30 pm; Luther Memorial Great Room, 1021 University Avenue

“Leonardo da Vinci:  His Observed and Interpreted Universe”
Presented by Gail Geiger, Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Leonardo moved through the complex worlds of Italian Renaissance courts, which often provided him artistic commissions. Yet, he simultaneously became absorbed in whatever his keen observation spotted and his ingenious inventions created. Throughout his nearly 58 years he seems to have been equally known for an “infinite grace in every action” as his 16th-century biographer Giorgio Vasari put it. This lecture will focus on Leonardo’s creative world, the context of the Toronto Consort’s “The Da Vinci Codex.”

Free and open to the public.

Pre-concert Lecture

Sunday, July 13, 6:30-7:15pm; Luther Memorial Great Room, 1021 University Avenue

"Renaissance Italy as a ‘Geographical Expression’”
Presented by John W. Barker, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Italy has been united only twice: by the Roman Republic, and in 1871. The principal factor keeping it divided for some thirteen centuries was the development of the Papal States, which separated north and south Italy, generating distinctly different political and cultural traditions. It was in the areas north of Rome that the Humanistic Movement was generated and refined, with momentous developments in art and music by consequence. And the intense regionalism that resulted has survived to this day.

Free and open to the public.

Bonus Lecture

Monday, July 14, 11am-12noon; Room 2650, Mosse Humanities Building

“Text and Image in Medieval Italy: St. Francis, Giotto, Dante”
Presented by Christopher Kleinhenz, Carol Mason Kirk Professor Emeritus of Italian at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

We will examine the inter-relationship of literature and art in the Italian Middle Ages in both general and specific contexts. We will be concerned with how people “saw,” “read,” and interpreted works of art and how authors incorporated artistic imagery in their works. We will investigate Dante’s use of artistic imagery in his Divine Comedy and will look, in particular, at his presentation of St. Francis of Assisi in canto 11 of the Paradiso and, more generally, at other artistic depictions of Francis’s life (e.g., those of the “School of Giotto” in the Upper Church of St. Francis in Assisi).

Free and open to the public.

Danza, danza!

Monday, July 14, 7-9pm, Great Hall, Memorial Union

Join us for a delightful ball featuring dances of the Italian Renaissance. Dance instruction is by European court dance specialist Anna Mansbridge. MEMF instrumental faculty artists present Italian dance music. Costumes are welcome. Dessert buffet and cash bar. Come to dance or just enjoy the fantastic music!

Open to the public; free for MEMF workshop participants—others $10 at the door.

Pre-concert Lecture

Tuesday, July 15, 6:30-7:15pm; Room 2650, Mosse Humanities Building

"Poetry in Motion: Italian Renaissance Epics and the Crisis of New Worlds"
Presented by Jane Tylus, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature and Director of the Humanities Initiative at New York University.

Italian Renaissance epic is a poetry of motion, as people, horses, swords, magic rings, and words themselves move back and forth across continents and oceans, into and out of forests, from Christian lands to Muslim. But what do the often fantastic geographies of these poems have to do with the real people and real geographies emerging in the 16th century? In focusing on Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and Tasso’s Jerusalem Liberated, we'll ask how these authors moved their readers to think about works of art as testing grounds for new social and cultural identities.

Free and open to the public.

Bonus Lecture-Recital

Wednesday, July 16, 11am-12noon; Morphy Recital Hall, Mosse Humanities Building

“L’Arpicordo of Renaissance Venice”
Presented by Ian Pritchard, historical keyboardist and musicologist.

Although not a household name today, the arpicordo was one of the more common domestic keyboard instruments in Venice in the late Renaissance. (The lute, of course, held the crown in the realm of domestic music-making overall). The notion that the arpicordo enjoyed a high level of popularity is supported by its frequent appearance in domestic inventories, the amount of repertoire explicitly designated for it, and by the sheer number of instruments that survive today.

Free and open to the public.

Bonus Lecture

Thursday, July 17, 11am-12noon; Room 2650, Mosse Humanities Building

“Chasing the Compositional Process in the 14th Century Italian Istanpitta”
Presented by Mark Rimple, Professor of Music Theory and Composition and Collegium Musicum director at West Chester University.

Using modern tools of perceptual analysis and a medieval understanding of rhetorical construction, Mark Rimple will discuss the formal and melodic structures of several estampies from the British Library "Lo" manuscript. He will uncover evidence of compositional decisions and possible alternatives open to the composer and present a method for creating new examples of the genre in order to better understand these few surviving examples of an important musical genre.

Free and open to the public.

Handel Aria Competition

Thursday, July 17, 7:30pm; Music Hall, Park Street at Bascom Hill

Emerging young singers exploring the repertoire of Handel compete for cash prizes. The contestants will perform for an audience and a distinguished panel of judges drawn from the MEMF faculty—and the audience also chooses a favorite! Dean and Orange Schroeder, MEMF supporters and enthusiasts of G. F. Handel, make this competition possible. Complete info»

Open to the public; free for MEMF workshop participants—others $10 at the door. Not included in the 2014 Festival Concert Pass.

Free pre-concert lecture; 6:30pm; Room 2650, Mosse Humanities Building
“The Handel Aria 101”
Presented by John W. Barker, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pre-concert Lecture

Friday, July 18, 6:30-7:15pm; Room 2650, Mosse Humanities Building

“From the Empyrean to the Bower, Love is All you Need”
Presented by Mark Rimple, Professor of Music Theory and Composition and Collegium Musicum director at West Chester University.

Did Italians in the age of Dante, Boccacio, and Petrarch love in the way we do now? How can the poetry, art, and music of the trecento inform our modern understanding of love? This lecture is designed to bring the audience closer to the world-view and emotions of the distant past through the most universal of human feelings. Join Rimple and his Trefoil colleagues for Dio Mio! That's Amore! to continue the exploration.

Free and open to the public.

Informal Concert

Saturday, July 19, 2:00pm; location TBA

Presented by participants in the Advanced Renaissance Loud Band Intensive and the Baroque Opera Workshop.

Free and open to the public.

Pre-concert Lecture

Saturday, July 19, 6:30pm; Luther Memorial Great Room, 1021 University Avenue

“Petrarca’s Triumphs: A Triumph of the Self?
Presented by Jelena Todorović, Professor of French and Italian, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) is defined by one of his biographers as not only “the most remarkable man of his time” but, indeed, as “one of the most remarkable men of all time.” From his position of an intellectual who sets the cornerstone of the new epoch, the “father of the Humanism” embarks in the Triumphs on an allegorical journey that will take us from Love, to Chastity, to Death, to Fame, to Time, to Eternity, in an attempt to penetrate into the very essence of his own and, ultimately, of our collective existence.

Free and open to the public.