Jazzschool_logoThe CJC, formerly the JAZZSCHOOL, and The San Francisco Early Music Society have established an exciting affiliation that 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. CJC offers a casual and intimate environment where the audience can enjoy a light meal and sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while enjoying the concert.

The 2014–2015 series featured eight SFEMS Affiliate ensembles, all professional early music groups active in the Bay Area and beyond.

All concerts begin at 4:30pm at the California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $15 (general admission) and go on sale for each concert approximately one month in advance. Their box office can be reached at 510-845-5373 or

JUNE 2015: Planning is underway for the 2015–2016 season! Affiliates, please send in your proposals now to be considered.


The 2014–2015 Season Opens September 14th

September 14
Les Violettes and Ensemble Vermillian
Improvisation, or playing things that aren’t written on the page, is a key element in performing baroque music.  Bay Area ensembles Les Violettes and Ensemble Vermillian team up for this concert of 17th and 18th century chamber music which highlights the spontaneous and performer-driven aspects of this gorgeous repertoire. More Information

Les Violettes

Corey Carleton; soprano, David Wilson, violin; Frances Blaker, recorder; Barbara Blaker Krumdieck, cello; Colin Shipman, viol; Violet Grgich, harpsichord. Buy Tickets

October 12
Musica Pacifica

Musica Pacifica
will present a program emphasizing the improvisatory aspects of Baroque chamber music.  Included will be concertos and trios by Handel and Vivaldi, where we highlight High Baroque techniques of improvised melodic ornamentation. We will demonstrate some typical 16th-century ground bass and variation patterns and show how these were used to build more substantial compositions—by improvising on them and then by playing works of masters such as Merula, Uccelini, and Rossi who used these patterns in their own works.  Throughout the program, we will discuss the art of basso continuo improvisation and how it developed during the Baroque period.  We will also play and discuss our own arrangements of English Country Dance, in which we take traditional folk tunes and improvise melodic lines and harmonies.

Musica Pacifica
Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; David Morris, gamba/cello; Katherine Heater, harpsichord

November 9
Laudami Ensemble

Join us for a celebration of chamber music from 18th-century France. This performance highlights the lavish ornaments and spirited variations of the French chaconne, one of the most refined and stately dances from the period. Also featured will be preludes and a variety of dance movements, joining to form charming suites by composers such as Couperin, Leclair, Corelli, Dornel and others. Buy Tickets


Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, violin; David Ross, flute; Michael Peterson, harpsichord. For more information, please visit

January 11
Flauti Diversi – Music in the Garden of Delight: The Kinship of Medieval Dance and Arabic Music

The program features lively medieval instrumental dances and tantalizing Arabic tunes and improvisations performed by Frances Feldon, recorders/flute; Gary Haggerty, oud; Sarah Michael, kanun; Roy Whelden, vielle; and Peter Maund and Karolyn Stonefelt, percussion.

The program unites two different musical traditions and groups of performers and displays the kinship between medieval instrumental music and Arabic music. The well-known 13th-century Cantigas de Santa Maria El Escorial codex is illuminated with colorful miniature paintings which show pairs of musicians playing a wide variety of Arabic and Western instruments. By juxtaposing the two traditions in musical performance, it is easy to hear their common musical building blocks, both composed and improvised. You will experience a fascinating musical bridge to another time and place.

Read more about the program and Buy tickets.

Frances Feldon

February 8
Amy Michele White, voice;
 Dominic Schaner, lute & modal vihuela/guitar — Heresy of the Free Spirit

“Heresy of the Free Spirit” seeks to divine the improvisatory and unbound (or free) nature of early music in light of the mystical tradition from which the program takes its title.  Similar to the writings of Marguerite Porete and Meister Eckhart, the music presented here may glimpse poetry and mysticism in fleeting and free spirited improvisation. “Heresy of the Free Spirit” explores long and free form pieces, drones and non-retrogradable patterns, improvisational works for lutes, new music composed in a minimalist style influenced by 16th- and 17th-century compositional practices, 13th-century Cantigas de Santa Maria and 17th-century airs de cour.

Read more about the program and buy tickets.
White Schaner

March 8
Passamezzo Moderno – 1629 Venice

Early 17th century music is perfect for showing improvisation in the Baroque, and the musical innovations of 1629 Venice were a giant leap forward in Baroque instrumental music. Passamezzo Moderno will feature works by Dario Castello, Biagio Marini, and Guiseppe Scarani, all published or written in Venice in 1629, as well as works by 17th century Italian composers Francesca Caccini and Isabella Leonarda, in honor of International Women’s Day 2015.


Jonathan Davis, harpsichord, David Granger, dulcian, Edwin Huizinga, violin, Adriane Post, violin, guest artist: Bruce Chrisp, sackbut

April 19
The Albany Consort –
Making it up
Marion Rubinstein recorder; Jonathan Salzedo, harpsichord; Rita Lilly, soprano; Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, violin; Amy Brodo, cello, viola da gamba and others
A program of thought-provoking compositions, ornamentations and improvisations, tracing virtuosity in performance from 1550 to 1800

–1550-1650: Ornamentation on a madrigal (Doulce Memoire), a bass pattern (Romanesca), and a nuove musiche song (Amarilli), including improvisations by the group and worked out versions by Sandrin, Ortiz, Cabezon, Monteverdi, Caccini, Van Eyck
–1600-1700: Virtuoso instrumental music and song, selections by Castello, Biber, Purcell, Isabella Leonarda, d’Anglebert, Marais
–1700-1750: Instrumental music that exists in both simple and complex versions, by Corelli, Bach, Telemann
–1750-1800: The improvised cadenza in concertos by JC Bach and Haydn

May 10
Hallifax & Jeffrey  The English Viol
Peter Hallifax, Julie Jeffrey, viola da gamba

Peter Hallifax and Julie Jeffrey, viols, play a program of Elizabethan and Jacobean covers and originals:  variations on songs, dances, and ground basses from the early 17th century, as the viol emerged as the dominant instrument in English music. The program includes music by Tobias Hume, John Dowland, Christopher Simpson, and the justly celebrated “Anonymous.”