Cambridge Early Music runs a lively education programme for all ages, from young people to adult, which encompasses a wide range of musical genres within early music. Central to the calendar are two prestigious Summer Schools, one on Baroque music, the other on Renaissance music.
Founded in 1993 by Selene Mills, Cambridge Early Music was granted charitable status in 2009, confirming our status as a leading provider of early music education in the UK.
Our Summer Schools are short intensive study courses and offer specialist tuition by world-famous professional musicians. They are designed for amateur, semi-professional and professional musicians and offer a high standard of tuition in a friendly and supportive environment.
Cambridge Early Music also works closely with local universities to offer opportunities to students and supports young musicians through Cambridgeshire Music Hub and Cambridgeshire Music. We also run a number of active and engaging education projects and workshops throughout the year, often in conjunction with our annual Festival of the Voice. We are particularly supportive of young emerging ensembles and those starting out on their careers by offering a prize in the York Early Music Festival International Young Artists Competition and collaborating with the Brighton Early Music Live scheme.
Alongside our active education programme, we also run a series of concerts throughout the year in which leading early music ensembles and soloists from across the UK and abroad perform in historic Cambridge venues. The highlight of our season is the Festival of the Voice, with a concentration of concerts and other events across a weekend exploring a particular composer’s work or theme in depth.
Made in Venice: Willaert, de Rore, Ganassi and Bassano, masters of the 16th century
Throughout the sixteenth century, Venice was, of course, a major centre of music and culture in its own right. It was also the centre from which musicians, their music and the instruments they played were exported and imported all over Europe.
We will explore not only the magnificence of multi-choir motets but also the intimacy and intensity of the ‘Venetian’ madrigals of Adriaan Willaert and Cypriano de Rore, combining voices and instruments. As well as working with our singers, instrumentalists will also be able to follow in the footsteps of Venetian masters from Sylvestro Ganassi to Giovanni Bassano, those masters of virtuosity and sensitivity to text and rhetoric, as well as exploring the more ceremonial (and foot-tapping) repertoire of the piffari.
Each day of the course will be divided between sectional rehearsals and ensembles, both large and small, directed by our specialist tutors. The after-dinner sessions might include informal performances of works covered in the day as well as exploring early dance and working on large-scale pieces in which all course members will take part.
11.30 ensembles (organised by the tutors)
13.00 lunch break
13.30 free time / self-organised groups
16.30 ensembles (organised by the tutors)
19.45 tutti session for large-scale works
The tutors will offer coaching and workshops on all aspects of Renaissance ensemble performance. Music will be provided but you are also invited to bring your own sets of parts and scores if you wish.
Is the Renaissance course for me?
We welcome applications from competent singers (all voices) and from players of Renaissance instruments at A=440 including viols, lutes, renaissance recorders and flutes, cornetts, sackbuts, crumhorns, shawms and curtals. Recorder players should be familiar with all instruments in the descant to bass range, unless offering another instrument or voice as well; renaissance recorders are strongly preferred.
Viol players are encouraged to bring Renaissance as well as Baroque instruments but it might be possible to borrow Renaissance viols during the course.
All applicants should have a good standard of sight-reading and be able to hold a line confidently on their own. Singers may be encouraged to take solo parts as well as singing in ensembles. Those applying as instrumentalists will also have opportunities to sing if they wish. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.
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