SFEMS Baroque Workshop — Venice and its Music

SFEMS Baroque Workshop – 2014 Features Venetian Influences!

The San Francisco Early Music Society’s Summer Baroque Workshop has been providing amateur and pre-professional musicians with expert guidance, motivation, skills, and the means to achieve and experience artistic excellence for over thirty years. Our participants come from all walks of life and a variety of career paths—both within the music world and without.

Workshop Faculty

pearse linda pic
Linda Pearse, director

Our faculty members are top-quality professional musicians with (cumulatively) hundreds of years of experience! As a faculty, we are especially concerned with creating a positive, friendly environment where all levels of experience and technical ability are encouraged and engaged with enthusiasm. Because participants come with many different levels of experience, they can be nervous or excited at times, but we manage this with charm, humor, and sometimes a bottle of wine in the evening (after 7pm, of course). Our workshop instruction includes practical playing tips, information about style, articulation, performance practice, musical literature, and practical techniques for managing performance anxiety and building an effective practice routine. We take our participants’ concerns very seriously and make every effort to help them improve technically as well as artistically.

Venice and its Music–2014 Baroque Workshop Theme

This year,grand-canal-view-from-north-1738.jpg!Large the workshop will focus on Venice and its relationship to other important European musical centers. Venice was a leading center for the dramatic musical developments at the beginning of the 17th century and its musical influence is evident well into the 18th century. Venice’s relative independence from the Catholic church in Rome, its very cosmopolitan economic and social life, and affluent private citizens and churches created the perfect environment for musical engagement with the “modern” style. The developments in dramatic music were paralleled in the instrumental idiom—composers began to specify performance by particular instruments in their scores and parts, instrumental music became increasingly virtuosic, and efforts to create eloquent musical expression led to the creation of stunning works both for concerted forces of voices and instruments and for instruments alone. For much of the seventeenth century the ‘Venetian style’ dominated musical writing throughout Europe, before ultimately giving way, later in the century, to the development of idiomatic national styles.

Venice and its Musical Influences

SFEMS’ 2014 Baroque Workshop will explore the Venetian influence and the contrasts in styles that later emerged. Participants will learn and perform music from the French masters (for double-reeds and viols), and the Venetian school (particularly for sackbut and cornetto), German arias (for singers), and the music of prominent Baroque composers such as Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Bach, and Schütz. Daily activities include master classes in which each participant can perform and be coached, chamber ensemble rehearsals (each with an assigned faculty coach), orchestra rehearsals, small instrumental ensembles (e.g., oboe band, and recorder or brass consort), special topic sessions (e.g., reed-making, or continuo playing), and very congenial socializing.

Workshop Performance and Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Performance opportunities include solo and chamber groups, a large orchestra, and a Concerto Concert, in which each participant can perform one movement of a concerto with the Workshop orchestra. Final performances for all ensembles are held during the final days of the Workshop.

sonoma-state-universityIn addition to our daily workshops, master classes, chamber ensemble rehearsals, and a faculty recital, on most days we also offer informal lectures after class. Musicologist Fred Gable and harpsichordist Yonit Kosovske will be two of our featured speakers, discussing a variety of historical and performance topics related to the music we are studying and performing.

Relax, after a full day of music making, with companionship, new friends, performances, or a walk in the stunning surroundings of the Sonoma State University campus.

What other Baroque ‘Workshopper’s have said….

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

As participants in previous workshops attest:

“I enjoyed getting tips on fingerings and bowings, interpretation, ornamentation, etc. during the Master Classes as other players were being coached, and, of course, when it was my turn to play I found all the suggestions very helpful.”

“I enjoyed the camaraderie among everyone present. I loved the way participants and instructors all blended together equally. A fine choice of personalities among the instructors really facilitated this. The dining hall table conversations were fabulous.”

“The pieces and the era we explored represent my very favorite music, even though I am a musical omnivore.  The 17th Century ensemble music really makes my spine tingle like no other, and it was a thorough treat to participate in ensembles playing this music. I do not have that opportunity where I live, and it was definitely worth travelling for.”

A week at the SFEMS Baroque Workshop will rejuvenate, challenge, and inspire you to bring your best to your performances, and hone your skills and expertise as a Baroque musician.

For further information….

Please contact me at baroqueworkshop@sfems.org for more information, or register online at https://sfems.org  I look forward to meeting you this summer.

Linda Pearse
Assistant Professor of Music, Mount Allison University
Artistic Director ¡Sacabuche!
Artistic Director San Francisco Summer Baroque Workshop

Adjunct Lecturer for Early Brass
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Early Music Institute

The orchestra at the 2013 Baroque Workshop.

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Written by Derek Tam