Gambas, Sackbuts, And More: Early Music In The City



We're in the city this time on Classical New England weekly music festival travelogue. The biennial Boston Early Music Festival brings thousands of visitors to New England to hear concerts around the clock and revel in the richness and variety of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical music.

To hear the program, click on "Listen" above.

The 2011 Boston Early Music Festival took place from June 12-19.  The Festival also presents concerts during the regular concert season, and highlights of the 2011-2012 season include performances by countertenor Andreas Scholl with The English Concert, the return of British vocal ensemble Stile Antico, harpsichordist Richard Egarr, and the Flanders Recorder Quartet.

Most concerts during the festival are held at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, one of the premiere concert halls of its size in the world.  The opera takes place at Emerson College's Cutler Majestic Theatre, and other venues include Emmanuel Church in Boston, and Houghton Chapel at Wellesley College.

The Festival Exhibition is a destination all by itself. Instrument makers and sellers of all kinds are there with samples of their works, from the smallest penny whistle to complete pipe organs. Not only does this offer trained musicians a chance to try new instruments, it also makes it possible for amateurs and even children to try some of the exotic instruments from the early music world.  Also on hand at the exhibition is a robust selection of CDs (rare in these days of online commerce), sheet music sellers, and more.

There is a wealth of options for lodging in Boston, including bed and breakfasts and unique hotels, like the Liberty Hotel, built in the converted Charles Street Jail. A convenient hotel is the Radisson Hotel Boston, which is where the exhibition is held.

Boston Early Music Festival Exhibition (image courtesy of BEMF/André Constantini)

Boston's history and character have made the city fertile ground for early music. Thomas Forrest Kelly of Harvard University and Early Music America talks with Laura Carlo about early music in Boston:

Here is Thomas Forrest Kelly on two approaches to early music:


Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra with harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout;  June 16, 2011 (image courtesy of BEMF/André Constantini)


More New England Summer Festivals


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