For the past forty years SFEMS has shown the Bay Area the best of what early music can be.
Anonymous 4, Benjamin Bagby, frans Brüggen, Concerto Palatino, fretwork, Laurette Goldberg, Hilliard ensemble, John Holloway, Emma Kirkby & Anthony Rooley, Wieland Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, PAN, Joshua Rifkin, Jordi Savall, and Max Van Egmond are among hundreds of great artists we have presented, many in regional or national debuts. The tradition continues this season—
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The Jazzschool in Berkeley and The San Francisco Early Music Society have established an exciting affiliationthat delights both our audience and our local musicians. Early music lovers and jazz music lovers join together to celebrate the improvisational kinship of the two genres. The Jazzschool offers a casual and intimate environment where the audience can enjoy a light meal cafe and sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while enjoying the concert.
The Berkeley Festival & Exhibition is co-produced by The San Francisco Early Music Society and Early Music America and was conceived of and founded by Robert Cole, then Director of Cal Performances, and the late Joseph Spencer, proprietor of the Musical Offering and then SFEMS president. Over the years, the Festival has presented unique and amazing events: Mark Morris Dance Group’s interpretation of Rameau’s Platée; Le Carousel du Roi, featuring dressage horses and riders executing elaborate ballets from seventeenth-century France accompanied by shawms and sackbuts in their natural setting (outdoors); and the North American premiere of a longlost Mass by Alessandro Striggio for 40 and 60 voices.