A visit to New York City, music and the plague, and more.
February 20, 2018


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During a trip to New York City last week, I made it to two museums, two concerts, and one Broadway show, which happens to have early music at its very core. Farinelli and the King stars Mark Rylance as the bipolar French-born Philipe V of Spain in a play written by Rylance’s composer wife, Claire Van Kampen. If you could overlook Rylance’s mannerisms, the arch script and an uncomfortably twee scene when the cast addresses the audience, it was extraordinary to be at a play that celebrates the therapeutic nature of music. It was also gratifying to see a packed house appreciate the fabulous countertenor Iestyn Davies (pictured left) singing the role of Farinelli and a top-class chamber ensemble (whose musicians play on period instruments, in period costume, eight times a week). I’m under no illusions that all those people will rush out to buy recordings of “Rinaldo” – they were surely there to see Rylance – but it sure was nice to hear music of that quality on Broadway.


I also learned that Midtown Concerts, run by Gotham Early Music Scene, is the largest chamber music series in the country, with 41 free concerts by 41 different ensembles every season. I have to agree with Gene Murrow, GEMS’ executive director, that an early music series attracting significant audiences every week is worthy of note! It’s difficult to believe that New York was often described as an early music backwater in comparison to Boston or Berkeley. Along with the historical performance program at Juilliard, the advocacy of GEMS has completely changed the landscape, with dynamic musicians like Jesse Blumberg and Wen Yang creating innovative geographical and cultural partnerships alongside the venerable Music Before 1800, run by Louise Basbas for more than 40 years. 
Whether it's New York, Arizona, or just about anywhere in North America, make sure to use our online calendar to plan your next trip!
Karin Brookes, Executive Director


Music's Power In The Face of Suffering

An EMA Book Review by Lynette Bowring

In such a world, music had infinite potential to mediate between mankind and a little-understood killer: Earthly music could resonate with both musica mundana and musica humana (the unheard music of heavenly and human bodies), and it could support devotional rituals to appease God or supplement His provided remedies. The transmission of sound through the air and the sympathetic vibration of similar objects could also provide a route to understanding the transmission of disease.

Read the full review of Remi Chiu's Plague and Music in the Renaissance


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Organization Member Highlight
EMA Member since 1986

Founded in 1966 by Milton Scheuermann, Jr., New Orleans Musica da Camera claims to be the oldest continuing early music ensemble in the Americas, and one of the oldest classical music performing organization in the Southern U.S. The group researches and performs music from the medieval to early Baroque periods using historically-informed performance techniques on reproductions of period instruments. 

Find out more about New Orleans Musica da Camera

EMA Events Calendar Highlights: 2/20-2/26
Visit the EMA Events Calendar for more upcoming events. EMA members can submit events by logging into their EMA account and choosing "Events" from the drop down menu.
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