Welcome to the Madison Early Music Festival
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our 15th year celebration. We are already looking forward to 2015. All information below is from the 2014 event, here for your reference.
15th annual festival will feature a full week of concerts, expert lectures, special events, and a chance to perform with peers and faculty artists
The University of Wisconsin–Madison announces the 15th annual Madison Early Music Festival and Workshop (MEMF). In addition to a 6-event Festival Concert Series, lectures and workshops will provide opportunities to learn and practice instrumental and vocal skills, become familiar with historical performance practices and repertoire, learn about the featured music through the lenses of history and culture, and perform with other participants and faculty artists.
When: July 12-19, 2014
Concerts» 7-concert series open to the public
Lectures» Free pre-concert lectures by renowned musicologists, historians, artists, and linguists
Workshop faculty» Renowned performers and teachers in voice, strings, brass, musicology, and more
Special events» Costume ball and more
Handel Aria Competition» Encouraging emerging singers to explore the repertoire of Handel
Tickets for individual concerts are $20 (students $17). The All Festival Concert Pass is $75 and includes admission to all 5 evening concerts. Purchase tickets: online; at the Vilas Hall Box Office; at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office (Memorial Union); by calling 608-265-ARTS (2787); or at the door. Note: Due to the inability to process credit cards in the 2014 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.
The 2014 Madison Early Music Festival will awaken your senses with the blossoming 14th century of sacred and secular Italian culture that flourished primarily in Florence, Milan, and Ferrara, with important connections to the exiled Papal court in Avignon. A distinct mix of musical, literary, and artistic elements created a rich bouquet of Latin composition from the first generation of Humanists, the cultivation of the Renaissance styles of art, and the fresh growth of Italian dance music. Ironically, patron tastes leaned toward the more fashionable French music and musicians, and the new Italian style withered by the end of the 14th century, paving the way for the dominance of the Franco-Flemish school of musical composition in the Italian peninsula.
Early in the 16th century, renewed interest in the great 14th century poet Petrarch attracted the attention of composers, who were musically inspired by the text painting found in his lyrical poetry. Petrarch’s Italia Mia (1344), a monumental letter in which, "heavy with grief," he yearns for a peaceful and unified Italy, sets off the historical timeline for the week. Our culminating All Festival Concert will feature musical settings of Petrarch’s Trionfi, a long series of poems in which the poet searches for meaning in life while passing from one stage to the next, represented by Cupid, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity. The week will feature music from the great Italian composers of the era, including Francesco Landini, Johannes Ciconia, Cipriano de Rore, Orlando di Lassus, and Giaches de Wert, plus lectures and classes supplying nourishment and illumination for this garden of Italian delight.
The Madison Early Music Festival is a program of the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, presented in partnership with the UW-Madison School of Music.
Directors of the Madison Early Music Festival are Cheryl Bensman-Rowe (Artistic Director), Paul Rowe (Artistic Director), and Chelcy Bowles (Program Director). Click for bios»
Questions? Contact MEMF Program Director Chelcy Bowles at email@example.com or
Sponsors and Presenting Partners of MEMF 2014