Register Now for SFEMS 2014 Summer Workshops!

A Millennium of Music in Six Weeks

Since its founding in 1975, the San Francisco Early Music Society has recognized music education—of both amateurs and professionals—as a central part of our mission to support and build public appreciation for historically-informed performance of early music. For the past 35 years SFEMS has offered one of the most comprehensive summer early music programs in the US, led by a faculty of international artists in residence. Our workshops offer instrumental and vocal master classes, lectures, coached ensembles, and recitals that provide an opportunity for musicians and dancers at a variety of levels to improve their ensemble skills, performance techniques, and teaching abilities.

Full days of classes, coaching, and rehearsals are followed by informal evening events, including faculty concerts and lecture-demonstrations, plus more light-hearted activities, from sherry hour to jam sessions and dancing to outrageous spoofs of early music.

Chamber music for winds at the 2013 Baroque Workshop.
Chamber music for winds at the 2013 Baroque Workshop.

All of the workshops enjoy attractive, comfortable venues, conducive to relaxed and focused music making. Sonoma State University, an hour north of San Francisco, hosts our Baroque and Medieval/Renaissance Workshops. The campus, surrounded by hills and vineyards, offers several performance halls, a small theater, large classrooms, a dance room (with dance floor), and two large spaces for the large ensemble rehearsals, as well as brand-new, single-room dorms. Nearby are wineries and historic towns in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, and the Russian River.

The Classical and Recorder Workshops will take place at St. Albert’s Priory, a peaceful ivy-covered brick oasis one block from an upscale boutique-and-restaurant district in Oakland. All the single dorm rooms overlook a serene courtyard garden. The beautiful chapel that will house performances and orchestra rehearsals has wonderful acoustics. St. Albert’s is two blocks from the Rockridge BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, putting the entire San Francisco Bay Area and its many attractions within reach by public transit.

Fairies dance at the 2012 Music Discovery Workshop.
Fairies dance at the 2012 Music Discovery Workshop.

For young people ages 7–15, SFEMS offers its annual Music Discovery Workshop, now in its 20th year. Our 2014 workshop will be held at the School of the Madeleine, a private elementary school located in a quiet residential neighborhood of north Berkeley. The school has large classrooms, an inviting, well-secured playground, and ideal performance space.

Financial aid, based on need, is available from SFEMS in the form of tuition scholarships or work/study arrangements. College credit is also available from San Francisco or Sonoma State University (two semester units per week).

Registration for the 2014 Summer Workshops now is open, and this is the ideal time to make plans for the summer. Tuition rises after April 30, and many classes fill up before that date. Check  the detailed information on workshop themes, classes, and faculty for the individual workshops at our Summer Workshops page. For  questions regarding fees, logistics, or other matters, please contact Katie Hagen, Workshop Administrator, at khagen@sfems.org.

Download the complete workshop brochure

Written by Jonathan Harris