An Interview with outgoing Baroque Workshop Director, Linda Pearse

Linda Pearse, who recently stepped back from her duties as Baroque Workshop Director, was kind enough to grant us a short interview about her future plans and memories of working with us.

SFEMS: How long have you been teaching workshops? How did you get started?

LP: I have been teaching workshops in the US since 2013, but prior to that I worked with students of all ages in Switzerland and Germany.

SFEMS: What drew you to teaching these classes, and what do you enjoy most about it?

LP: I have always been inspired by the curiosity and excitement of people who want to learn a new instrument or deepen their knowledge of a subject – when you pick up a sackbut or a gamba or cornetto, you are taking a huge risk. It is that risk-taking and the inevitable vulnerability that make learning environments so meaningful.

SFEMS: What are some of the more memorable experiences you’ve had teaching/running Baroque workshops? Are there any good stories to share?

LP: There are no good stories, only great ones. The concerts are probably the most memorable, be they rapturous musical experiences with an exceptionally gifted faculty or participant concerts in which people bring their absolute best to the stage. Of course there are fun social moments at the infamous “Sherry Hours”, Nigel North singing pop songs on a ukelele, Bruce Dickey sporting a cowboy hat and doing a fight song from his Indiana alma mater, and then there was that special dance that I might have been implicated in at the auction in 2019… but I digress. The participants are the best and every moment with them is memorable.

SFEMS: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

LP: I am proud of the Robert Dawson Scholarship Fund that we created for up and coming students. I am proud of the size of the workshop—when I started, we had eight faculty and thirty-two participants, and when I left, we had thirteen faculty and sixty-two participants. But I am absolutely honored that these amazing faculty and participants—these wonderful people—allowed me to hold a space for them to work their magic together.

SFEMS: What’s next for you?

LP: I have a few larger projects that are in the works and might emerge in the next year or two… cards are being held close for the moment, but it will no doubt involve a project on early modern (Ren-Baroque) intercultural encounters. I have spent my life fascinated with cultural collisions and identity – music is a perfect medium to explore these concepts. Needless to say, I have never not had enough to do. Onwards!

SFEMS: Is there anything else you’d like to mention or add?

LP: Just that I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with the amazing SFEMS community. I miss you all.

SFEMS offers our deep gratitude to Linda for her many years of dedicated service to the expansion of knowledge of Early Music, and we wish her all the best in her future pursuits!


Written by Heidi Waterman