The Albany Consort started performing in 1974 in London, at Christ Church, Albany Street. The group’s repertoire spans the period 1550 – 1750, with occasional forays into earlier and later centuries. Most performances use period instruments. Husband and wife team Jonathan Salzedo and Marion Rubinstein organize and direct the ensemble. The Albany Consort was based in London until 1981, when Jonathan left England, and is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Contact: Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, Executive Director; Phone: 408-480-0182.
Archetti Baroque String Ensemble was founded in 2010 by violinist Carla Moore and viola da gambist John Dornenburg to perform the rich chamber concerto repertory of the Baroque era. The collective experience and artistry of Archetti’s members creates distinctive, dynamic and historically-informed interpretations without a conductor. The ensemble’s eight-member size is perfectly matched to the eight printed part-books of string concertos by composers such as Vivaldi, Corelli, and Handel, and is also small enough for the intimacy of Bach’s harpsichord concertos. The ensemble’s name means “little bows” in Italian and alludes to the dominance of bowed stringed instruments in the Italian Baroque concerto repertory. Archetti is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they have been praised for their “dazzling clarity” (San Francisco Examiner Online) and “beautiful ensemble playing” (Early Music America).
In 2014 Archetti’s first CD recording was released on the Centaur label, Handel and Hellendaal: Grand Concertos. For more information, click here. Visit Archetti on Facebook.
Barefoot Chamber Concerts presents local chamber music in an informal setting, usually on Friday evenings, usually short concerts starting at 6, usually in the fabulous wooden acoustic of St. Mark’s Parish Hall, usually only $15. Occasionally otherwise. Barefoot has been throwing the fun back into early chamber music for 8 years now. For more information go to our website and add yourself to our all-important email list, or find us on Facebook and subscribe to the page. Contact: Peter Hallifax
Berkeley Baroque Strings
Berkeley Baroque Strings welcomes string players eager to learn Baroque performance practice and to perform for the benefit of the community in which we live. BBS’ fifth season will feature three sets of concerts: The Drama of Love and War, in November 2017; Concerto Night, featuring soloists from the orchestra, in March 2018; and Bach Family, in May and June, 2018. We rehearse Monday evenings, 7:30-9:30, at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in the Fellowship Hall, 2837 Claremont Blvd, Berkeley, under the leadership of Kati Kyme who conducts, instructs, coaches and inspires us in the essence of Baroque style, technique and elegant musicianship. Contact: Charlotte Gaylord
Calextone is Allison Zelles Lloyd, voice and harp; Frances Blaker, recorder and hammered dulcimer; Letitia Berlin, recorder, douçaine and psaltery; Shira Kammen, vielle, harp and voice. Calextone specializes in the music of western Europe from the 13th through the 15th centuries. Find us at Calextone.com
Calextone members are currently working on a socially distant version of the following timely project and are gratefully accepting donations to help us complete it: Boccaccio’s Decameron – A Multimedia Presentation of the Ages. This program of music from 14th century Italy will be presented in the context of Boccaccio’s Decameron but in the voices of Christine de Pizan and the Ladies from City of Ladies (1405), Lady Reason, Lady Justice and Lady Rectitude.The concert includes texts and poems translated into English and projected illuminations from the manuscripts and related sources which encourage the audience to immerse themselves in the unfolding drama and engaging music.
The East Bay Recorder Society (EBRS) is an association of recorder enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recorder players from low intermediate to advanced levels are invited to join to play music together and to learn more about the recorder. Membership activities include the following:
—Monthly playing meetings September through June featuring a professional conductor, usually held the first Friday of the month
—The opportunity to receive the music for practice ahead of time
—Monthly newsletter September through June
—At least two workshops a year, including a weekend in May at the Marin Headlands, featuring large-group, special-interest and low-intermediate sessions with 10 conductors. Viols and soft double reeds also welcome.
—Recitals — Opportunities to perform before a supportive audience of chapter members
—Social events, including Twelfth Night Party and Summer Picnic
Most chapter meetings are held at Zion Lutheran Church, 5201 Park Blvd. in Oakland, 7:30 – 10:00 pm on the first Friday of the month. Contact: Susan Jaffe, President.
Gallimaufry Chamber Chorus
Gallimaufry was formed in early 2014 by well-known early music scholar and musician, Shira Kammen. The group performs music from the medieval and Renaissance eras, as well as traditional and contemporary settings of early texts and tunes. The group is unusual in the early music world for performing mostly secular rather than sacred music. Our name, “Gallimaufry,” is a 16th century French word meaning mix or medley (referring usually to a stew or soup), and reflects the variety of music the group performs. Led by Ms. Kammen as Artistic Director, who also arranges and composes some of the music the ensemble performs, Gallimaufry consists of 20 or so singers from throughout the Bay Area, with experience ranging from skilled amateur to semi-professional. Gallimaufry primarily performs a cappella, but each concert also includes some accompanied pieces and some early or traditional instrumental music performed by Ms. Kammen and by guest artists as well.
Contact: Beth Summers, 3932 Reinhardt Drive, Oakland CA 94619; Telephone: 510-689-2770.
Hallifax & Jeffrey
Peter Hallifax and Julie Jeffrey are viol players who first came together to play the music of the French high baroque tradition, specifically the music of Forqueray, Marais, Dollé and Couperin. Following the success of their first and second seasons, including concerts on the SFEMS series with guest artist Jakob Lindberg, and playing the complete works of Forqueray at the Berkeley Festivals in 2006 and 2008, as well as touring, they have expanded their repertoire to include English 17th century music. Click for more information.
The mission of The Handel Opera Project is to present the works of G.F. Handel and his contemporaries, thoughtfully edited to bring these works to a wider audience for greater accessibility. The Handel Opera Project aims to encourage greater interest in early opera and opera of the Baroque period. Contact: William Ludtke, 2601 Durant Ave. Berkeley, 94704
Harmonia Felice was formed in 2010 to perform the sublime, sensual, virtuosic and spiritual music primarily of the late French Baroque with occasional forays into earlier German and late Baroque Italian music. Harmonia Felice made its debut at the Berkeley Fringe Festival Concerts and has performed on concert series in 2011 in Berkeley, San Jose, and Sacramento and has done outreach lecture concerts at local Bay Area schools, bringing a repertoire and concepts unusual and exciting to young people. Harmonia Felice has a flexible roster including voices and winds as well as strings and continuo instruments. In more recent years, Harmonia Felice is including dancers of several disciplines to performances and video recordings. Contact: Amy Brodo
John Prescott received his BA Magna cum Laude in Music from Carlton College (MN) and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and his MA in Music from UC Berkeley. He has been the recipient of a number of academic honors including the British Marshall Scholarship for two years study at St. John’s College, Cambridge England. He also studied at Oxford University’s Worcester College. He has written extensively on the music of G. F. Handel and is completing his Doctoral Thesis on John Stanley, the 18th century, blind organist, conductor, violinist and impresario. He has taught music courses at UC Berkeley and Music Theory at The Crowden School (Berkeley, CA), and was the musicologist for the San Francisco Elderhostel Arts and Humanities Program and is currently the resident pre-concert lecturer for Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (SF, CA).
Contact: John Prescott, 601 Van Ness Avenue, #523, San Francisco, CA 94102. Phone: 415-441-3695.
The Laudami Ensemble consists of young musicians David Ross on flute, violinist Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, and harpsichordist Michael Peterson. As period instrument specialists, they are dedicated to giving lively interpretations of music from the Baroque era. The performers have recently finished their studies at the Juilliard School and at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Contact Michael Peterson; Phone: 650-380-3996
Contact: Violet Grgich
The Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra (MPRO), formed in 1962, is open for membership to those who play recorder, early winds or early strings. The orchestra meets about twice a month from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays during the fall, winter and spring. Rehearsals are held in Angus Hall at Trinity Church, 330 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park. The orchestra presents two concerts annually. MPRO members also have the opportunity to rehearse and perform in small ensembles. MPRO has performed on public television stations KQED and KCSM, as well as at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Mission San Jose, and the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. MPRO also sponsors an annual workshop, directed by a well-known recorder artist. Visit our website for information on upcoming concerts, workshops, and rehearsal dates. Contact: Judith Unsicker, President, MPRO Board of Directors.
Described by the press as “some of the finest baroque musicians in America” and “among the best in the world,” Musica Pacifica performs 17th- and 18th-century music on varying combinations of recorder, oboe, violin, cello/gamba, harpsichord, and percussion. The artists perform with Philharmonia Baroque and American Bach Soloists in the Bay Area, and with prominent early music ensembles nationally and abroad. They have performed on such prestigious concert series as The Frick Collection and Music Before 1800 (NY), the Getty Museum (LA), Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), the Cleveland Art Museum, the LA County Museum, and the Berkeley Early Music Festival, among others. Musica Pacifica’s eight CD releases on the Virgin Classics, Dorian, and Solimar labels have won national and international awards, including Chamber Music America/WQXR’s 2003 Record Award, features on NPR’s Harmonia, Performance Today, and Minnesota Public Radio, and being chosen as “CD of the Month” by the early music journal Alte Musik Aktuell (Regensburg). Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Ingrid Matthews, violin; Charles Sherman, harpsichord; Alexa Haynes-Pilon, cello/viola da gamba. Contact: Musica Pacifica, c/o Judith Linsenberg, 1379 Hampel St. # 2, Oakland, CA 94602. Telephone/fax: (510) 459-5958.
Nash Baroque was formed in 2013 by traverso player Vicki Melin, and harpsichordist, Katherine Heater to present chamber concerts in stylistically varied and engaging programs on period instruments. Having met while receiving advanced degrees from the Royal Conservatory, the Hague and Sweelinck Conservatory respectively, both are SF Bay Area musicians who join forces with an array of accomplished instrumentalists, vocalists, and period dancers, to perform repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Nash Baroque has performed in Music on the Hill, the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, and in several invitation concerts in New England. In July 2014, they performed a special program honoring the town of Guilford, Connecticut, for the 375th Anniversary Festival of its founding. The program, which was performed first at the Berkeley Festival Fringe 2014, featured music of the British Isles and the early American colonies and was later featured on WSHU CT Public Radio’s program “First Fridays” with host Kate Remington as one of most notable concerts of 2014. They have recently joined forces with Jennifer Meller and her historical dance troupe, San Francisco Renaissance Dancers, for collaborative projects in 2019, 2020!
Contact: Nash Baroque, Vicki Melin, 262 Bella Vista Way, San Francisco, CA 94127. Telephone: 415-265-2675
The New Esterházy Quartet (Kati Kyme, Lisa Weiss, Anthony Martin, William Skeen) is the first period instrument quartet in North America to present the entire Haydn Cycle on original instruments. Created in 2006, the group has now expanded its scope to include Students of Haydn (such as Beethoven), quartets dedicated to Haydn ( such as Mozart’s) and many other Haydn -related genres. The quartet perform its series of concerts in Berkeley, San Francisco and Palo Alto with additional appearances in New York, Ithaca, Los Angeles, Tucson, Menlo Park, and Carmel.
These groups have been performing in the Bay Area for over 30 years. Opera Non Troppo is a repertory company that specializes in operas from the Mozart era and earlier. Resmiranda is an a cappella vocal group that performs three concerts each year of mostly early music punctuated by contemporary pieces. Both ensembles are directed by Renee Fladen-Kamm and have been in residence in Berkeley at the University Lutheran Chapel since 2011. You may view our concert programs at our website.
We are a mixed instrument chamber ensemble focusing on music from the Baroque period, reaching also into Renaissance and contemporary compositions. We are based in San Jose.
Contact: Kraig Williams, 1418 Shaffer Dr., San Jose CA 95132. Ph: (408) 923-8425.
The Sacramento Recorder Society is a chapter of the American Recorder Society. Our meetings are from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, September through June, at the Friends Meeting House in Sacramento. Our members range from low-intermediate to advanced players, all with a love of early music. Players of other early music instruments are also welcome. Our monthly meetings are directed by professional early music specialists. We encourage members to form small consorts or study groups, which meet in members’ homes, and we offer opportunities for those groups to perform. Our monthly newsletter, our website, and our blog keep members informed of early music workshops and concerts throughout Northern California.
The San Francisco Recorder Society holds monthly playing sessions that are led by a variety of local recorder teachers and qualified chapter members. The sessions introduce the members to a variety of pieces from the recorder repertoire, usually addressing the historical context of each piece and a “historically informed” approach to playing it. Recorder players at all levels are welcome to play at our monthly meetings, which are held on the third Wednesday of each month, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall of Christ Church Lutheran 1090 Quintara Street (at 20th Avenue), in San Francisco. A $10 playing fee per session may be applied to the $40 annual fee for chapter membership.
Singers’ Retreat (ON HIATUS)
The Singers’ Retreat has been bringing together good sight singers for two weekends each year since 1986. Directed by Stanford Professor William Mahrt, the workshops are held either in Albany California or at Stanford. The workshops have explored plain chant and sacred polyphony from medieval times through the Renaissance. Intense singing sessions are balanced with short lectures on the music and its historical context . A public performance concludes each two day workshop. Fees are $115 with some scholarships available.
The South Bay Recorder Society, a chapter of the American Recorder Society, provides opportunities for members and others to play recorders and socialize. The SBRS meets 7:30-10:00 PM on the second Friday of the month at the First Congregational Church of San Jose, 1980 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, located at the corner of Hamilton Ave. and Leigh Ave.
Co-Presidents: Anne Mahler and Ken Newton. Address: 1000 Kiely Blvd Apt 56, Santa Clara, CA 95051.
Tactus (San Francisco) is a chamber chorus dedicated to bringing Renaissance polyphony to audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area, directed by Jonathon Hampton. We aim to bring together musicians of diverse identities, ages, and experience to create a musical melting pot of energy and ideas. Through innovative rehearsal methods derived from the latest in teaching pedagogy, we aim to forge musical and personal relationships that will last a lifetime. Committed to the highest quality of artistic excellence, we will perform regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeking to educate, engage, and delight. Contact us.
Vajra Voices (ON HIATUS)
The Bay area women’s ensemble Vajra Voices performs medieval to modern music in a singing style inspired by Hildegard von Bingen that is “clear, sweet, and strong.” In 2010, Vajra Voices debuted in the Berkeley Early Music Festival, and returned to the Festival in 2014 for an enthralling standing-room-only audience at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Holding the questions of what makes historical music ‘authentic’, director, Karen R. Clark, invites each member of Vajra Voices to contribute her unique voice, knowledge and expertise. Every attempt to understand the context in the time the music is composed, its intended purpose, and how best to bring the meaning and expression forward to modern ears is of primary importance to Vajra Voices. For more information, please visit www.vajravoices.com.
Contact: Karen Clark ; Telephone: 707-766-8657
Wildcat Viols was formed in 2003, bringing together three of the San Francisco Bay Area’s favorite early string specialists, Joanna Blendulf, Julie Jeffrey and Elisabeth Reed, and was joined in 2015 by internationally recognized viol virtuosa Annalisa Pappano.
Praised for their musical rapport and the shared enjoyment that radiates from their performances, they have been hailed as “refreshing”, “sensuous”, “gutsy”, “incredible artists”, “breathtaking ensemble.” Early Music America magazine called their debut concert at the 2004 Berkeley Early Music Festival a “wonderful offering . . . beautifully played.”
In 2010 Wildcat Viols, at the invitation of Artistic Director George Benjamin, performed the complete 3- and 4-part Fantazias of Henry Purcell at the Ojai Music Festival, receiving lavish audience and critical praise:
“Articulated fluently…with impeccable intonation” (The Classical Review);
“The expert period instrument group produces a focused ensemble sound…and delivered the music in all its intricately designed, soothing glory” (Santa Barbara News Press);
“A balm… endlessly absorbing” (The London Financial Times); “Spellbinding…fantastic.” (WQXR, the Classical Music Station of NYC).
Wildcat Violsʼ recording of the complete four-part Fantazias of Henry Purcell, the complete viol sonatas of Giovanni Legrenzi and selected Consorts of Four Parts by Matthew Locke (released in 2018) has been enthusiastically received:
“This is an outstanding disc, the playing responsive and expressive at all times . . . a recording crying out to be eagerly revisited. . . . It would be good to hear more from this exciting ensemble.” (The Viol, British Viola da Gamba Society);
“The sound they make . . . is not just incredibly powerful, itʼs beautifully blended, truly concerted, like the best chamber music . . . topflight musicmaking.” (The San Francisco Classical Voice).
Contact: Elisabeth Reed, 4336 Townsend Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602; Ph: 510-866-3964