SFEMS Announces 2016 Summer Workshops

Holy Names University campus
Holy Names University campus, home of this summer’s SFEMS Baroque Workshop

SFEMS has just published the dates, locations, and themes for our 2016 Summer Workshops! Perhaps the most important news this year is that, for the first time, all of our workshops will be located conveniently in Oakland and Berkeley. The major change is that our Baroque Workshop will be hosted at Holy Names University in the Oakland hills. As the photo above suggests, it’s a pretty idyllic setting, boasting sweeping views of the Bay Area and the glorious summer weather with sparkling Mediterranean air for which the region is justly famous. The Medieval-Renaissance, Classical, and Recorder Workshops will continue their very successful residency at St. Albert’s Priory, one of the most convenient locations imaginable. Despite its secluded ambiance, St. Albert’s is situated in the heart of Oakland’s vibrant Rockridge neighborhood, with its cornucopia of restaurants and shops. And it is almost ridiculously accessible by public transportation (about a block’s walk from the Rockridge BART station). The Music Discovery Workshop and Youth Collegium, SFEMS’ unique Renaissance Day Camp for children ages 7–15, remains happily at the School of the Madeleine, on a quiet, residential street in north Berkeley.

Another exciting development this year is that SFEMS’ first-in-the-US Classical Workshop, previously for strings only, now will accept on a first-come, first-serve basis, one participant on Classical oboe and flute to join the fun!

Registration opens next month, so start your summer vacation planning now! The SFEMS workshops are one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling ways to immerse yourself in the glories of early music. The convenient locations of this year’s sessions offer great opportunities to revisit your favorite workshop or to try something new and different. Many details of workshops’ themes and faculty rosters already are posted, and more will be added soon. Following are capsule descriptions of the workshops.

Baroque Workshop (Linda Pearse, director): June 19–25; Holy Names University, Oakland
Wars, Conquests, and Beheadings: The Music of the Courts in England, France and Italy Whether it be the “Sun King,” Louis XIV of France, Charles II and James II of England, or the Gonzagas of Mantua, rulers and their court life provide fascinating ground for engagement at this year’s Baroque workshop. Composers for study include G. F. Handel, Matthew Locke, Thomas Tomkins, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Claudio Monteverdi, and others. For questions or more information, contact director Linda Pearse at baroqueworkshop@sfems.org

St. Albert's Priory
St. Albert’s Priory

Medieval/Renaissance Workshop (Adam Gilbert, director): July 3–9; St. Albert’s Priory, Oakland.
Love, Lust, and Longing From vilain to courtois, we will explore the medieval and Renaissance realms of amor (refined or courtly love) and amars (animal lust) in songs of unrequited love and longing, in songs full of double entendre, and in sacred Masses and motets. We will chase the spirit of Rabelaisian humor in bawdy songs and dances, and find out just how much they all have in common. For questions or more information, contact director Adam Knight Gilbert  at medrenworkshop@sfems.org.

Classical Workshop (Kati Kyme and Bill Skeen, co-directors): July 10–16; St. Albert’s Priory, Oakland.
Haydn, His Friends, and His Students The Classical Workshop is America’s only workshop dedicated to late 18th-century performance practice, exploring string chamber music of the Classical era. Morning and afternoon coaching sessions by the New Esterházy Quartet are followed each evening by informal performances of the day’s repertoire. Private instruction and colloquia on bowing and fingering complement our program. The workshop invites string players of all ages and abilities. Pre-formed ensembles are welcome too. NEW in 2016! The Classical Workshop will now accept on a first-come, first-serve basis one participant on Classical oboe and flute to join the fun! More information will be posted soon!  For questions, contact co-directors Kati Kyme and William Skeen at classicalworkshop@sfems.org.

Recorder Workshops I and II (Rotem Gilbert and Hanneke van Proosdij, co-directors): July 17–23 and July 24–30; St. Albert’s Priory, Oakland
Week I: “The Four Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air”
Week II: “Tears and Laughter: The Art of Comedy and Tragedy”
Directed by recorder players Rotem Gilbert and Hanneke van Proosdij, the SFEMS Recorder Workshops feature every aspect of music making for the recorder, including technique classes, Renaissance recorder consort, medieval to contemporary music and consort music. Featuring small class sizes and an international faculty, they invite intermediate to advanced recorder players to sign up for one or both weeks. Each week concludes with a spectacular performance of all workshop participants in the Recorder Orchestra at St. Albert’s beautiful chapel. Evening events include faculty concerts, lecture demonstrations and a focused Wednesday mini-workshop. For questions or more information, contact co-directors Rotem Gilbert and Hanneke van Proosdij at recorderworkshop@sfems.org.

School of the Madeleine
School of the Madeleine

Music Discovery Workshop and Youth Collegium (Yuko Tanaka, director): June 19–24; School of the Madeleine, Berkeley.
Our workshop features something for everyone this year. For younger kids looking for a fun, artistic introduction to the Renaissance, there is the Music Discovery Workshop—this year focusing on the “Commedia dell’Arte.” No prior musical is training needed. The Youth Collegium is a parallel program for middle- and high-school-aged singers and instrumentalists who want to explore early music in greater depth. This year’s theme will be announced soon. For questions or more information, contact director Yuko Tanaka at discoveryworkshop@sfems.org.


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Written by Jonathan Harris
San Francisco Early Music Society