SFEMS 2019–20 Season


SFEMS has issued a request for proposals for individuals and ensembles interested in appearing on the 2019–20 concert series.

  • SFEMS will present a minimum of six concerts during the next concert season from October through May. The presentations will be by both local and non-local ensembles. All concert proposals will be evaluated by the same standards and methods. SFEMS welcomes all proposals that could be of interest to our audiences. We are seeking a diversity of instruments, periods, as well as size of performance group. All concert proposals will be viewed through the lens of creating a compelling concert season.

Proposals should be sent electronically to the Concert Committee care of Bill Stewart ( using the Concert Proposal Submission Form available online.  The deadline for receiving concert proposals for the 2019–20 season is 9 AM Pacific time on Sunday, October 21, 2018.

To reduce the possibility of a submission going astray, applicants are advised to send Bill Stewart a separate email containing a short concert description and confirmation that they have submitted a proposal.

Proposals should include a detailed description of the concert, plus audio samples. The proposal must include a list of instruments to be used, including date of manufacture, style, original instrument after which modeled and name of maker.

Each ensemble must represent that all performers named in the proposal have agreed to participate and must give one person the authority to conclude arrangements with SFEMS.

Local Ensembles:

Compensation for local groups will be $1,100.00 per performer up to a total of $5,500.00 for the group.  Extra fees for guest artist travel to be negotiated.

Non-local Ensembles:

Proposals by non-local ensembles will be negotiated by the Concert Committee with the participation of the Executive Director, taking into consideration the additional expenses of travel and housing.


General Guidelines (SFEMS Policy)

  1. SFEMS emphasizes Bay Area artists and ensembles in its annual concert series. Several non-local presentations will be included in the series in the interest of diversity and audience appeal, and Bay Area artists may include local and non-local guest artists in their proposals.
  2. SFEMS seeks to present a concert series that reflects the broad diversity of early music, including vocal and instrumental repertoire from all eras of western music before 1800, played, as appropriate, on period instruments.
  3. The primary criterion for selection to appear on a SFEMS concert series is quality, within the context of historically-informed performance.
  4. Subject to the primary criterion of quality, an effort is made to distribute performance opportunities and to avoid excessive frequency of appearance.
  5. Proposals must be accompanied by an audition recording that substantially represents the personnel who are proposed to appear on the series.
  6. Selection is impartial.
  7. Audition panelists serve anonymously and are encouraged to maintain the confidentiality of their participation.
  8. Audition panelists are experts in the field. They are chosen from a list of individuals nominated for their awareness of the field, diversity of expertise, impartiality, and absence of potential conflicts of interest.
  9. Curatorship of SFEMS concert presentations is the responsibility of the entire Board of Directors.
  10. The SFEMS Board Concert Committee may delegate tasks to non-Committee members, SFEMS staff, or other individuals, except where specifically excluded in the following procedures.
  11. All questions regarding concert selection decisions are referred to the chair of the Concert Committee, who may, at her/his discretion, provide the inquirer with decision rationale.
  12. The following procedures apply to the annual SFEMS Concert Series. Applications for the SFEMS-California Jazz Conservatory series follow a separate protocol and are restricted to SFEMS Members and Affiliates.

Procedures (SFEMS Policy)

  1. The Concert Committee chair selects five committee members from the SFEMS board and membership and confirms their availability for meeting dates.
  2. As Concert Proposals are received on the SFEMS website, they are distributed by the chairman to each committee member in digital form including links to audio examples. All concert proposals will be audited by every concert committee member.
  3. From all of the concert proposals, The Concert Committee selects a final list of concert proposals to consider. From that group of proposals, a concert season is designed that reflects, among other things, diversity of era, repertoire, and instrumentation; audience appeal; and financial viability. The minutes of the Concert Committee are strictly confidential. This step may not be delegated.
  4. If necessary, the Concert Committee meets again in executive session to make changes in the series if for scheduling or other reasons the series as originally planned is not practical. Any such changes are subject to Board review.
San Francisco Early Music Society