Faculty and participants playing a harp and other early music instruments at a workshop at MEMF 2015

Class Descriptions

Please note: This page contains information on the 2018 Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF). Details on MEMF 2019 will be shared as they become available.

MEMF 2018 Quick Reference List

Complete class descriptions are available below, or click on the class time segment (Early morning, Mid morning, etc.) to be directed there.
*Classes marked with asterisk are part of the Advanced Loud Band Intensive and are by audition only.

Early morning

Sunday-Thursday | 9:00 – 10:00 am
Friday | 9:00 – 9:30 am

  • *Advanced Loud Band Intensive (WIEMKEN)
  • Bagpipes: Wake-Up Bagpipes! (KIMBALL)
  • Dance: Dancing in Germany (MURRAY)
  • Harpsichord Techniques (KENNERLEY & STEIN)
  • Notation: Renaissance Notation (WEAVER)
  • Recorder: (Int) Solo and Ensemble Skills (OSTERLUND)
  • Reeds & Brass Technique (P. HERREID & MALAMUT)
  • Violin and Viola: Unaccompanied Violin (BERRY BENSON)
  • Viols: (Intermediate) Masterworks of Polyphony (TERRY)
  • Voices: (All levels) Lutheran Chorale (PROPST)
  • Voices: (All levels) Morgensprechgesang (DEAN)
  • Voices: (All Levels) Par(t) Excellence (HUI)


Sunday-Thursday | 10:15 – 11:15 am
Friday | 9:45 – 10:15 am

  • Continuo: Continuing Issues (PATTON & STEIN)
  • Cornetto: The Sound of the Cornetto (TOLLAKSEN)
  • Recorder: (Int) Music from St.Mary’s (P. HERREID)
  • Recorder: (Advanced) Renaissance Recorders (KIMBALL)
  • Sackbut Technique (INGLES & MALAMUT)
  • *Shawm and Dulcian Advanced Technique (WIEMKEN)
  • Violin: (All Levels) Technique through Improv (MEALY)
  • Viols: (Int) Waiting for the Hammer (Schmidt) (SERNA)
  • Viols: (Advanced) Octo Tonorum Melodiae (TERRY)
  • Voices: Bodenschatz’s Florilegium portense (PROPST)
  • Voices & Instruments: 15th & 16th C. German Songs (CHIN)
  • Voices & Continuo: 17th C. Sacred Song (G.HERREID)

Late morning

Sunday-Thursday | 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

  • Beginning Harp (TBD)
  • Beginning Recorder (OSTERLUND)
  • Beginning Viol (MILLER)
  • Beginning Voice (BRYAN)
  • Conducting: Directing from Within (HUI)
  • Dance for All (MURRAY)
  • Improvising Polyphony (BRISSON)
  • Individual Practice Time
  • Lecture Series

Early afternoon

Sunday-Thursday | 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Friday | 10:30 – 11:30 am

  • *Advanced Loud Band (WIEMKEN, INGLES, TOLLAKSEN)
  • Beer, Battle, and Bells (DEAN)
  • Celestial Bodies -Capricornus for Voices & Viols (SERNA)
  • Fantasticus: The Sonata in Northern Germany (MEALY)
  • Heinrich Schütz: Sacred and Secular Works (CHIN & PATTON)
  • Intermediate Loud Band: Hans Leo Hassler (P. HERREID)
  • Magical and Alchemical Music in Germany (G. HERREID)
  • Membra Jesu Nostri (WEAVER)
  • Mighty Michael Praetorius! (MALAMUT)
  • Marienbrüderschaft (BERRY BENSON & P. ROWE)
  • Motets and Psalms of the Reformation (TERRY)
  • Sacred Motets for Instruments & Voices (KIMBALL)


All-Festival Rehearsals & Concert
Journey to Lubeck: The Musical Legacy of the Reformation
Saturday-Friday 3:15 – 5:00 pm

Saturday, July 14 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Dress Rehearsal
Saturday, July 14 | 7:30 pm | Performance

Early Morning Classes

Sunday-Thursday | 9:00-10:00 am / Friday | 9:00-9:30 am

*Advanced Loud Band Intensive (Bob Wiemken)
Participation by audition/permission only. 8 – 10 players. A select group of eight advanced players of cornetto, shawm, sackbut, and dulcian will focus their entire MEMF week on forming and polishing a historically-based reed and brass ensemble such as flourished in German courts, cathedrals and towns during the 16th and early 17th centuries.  The program will consist of three sessions a day.
See Advanced Loud Band Intensive for more information.

Bagpipes: Wake Up Bagpipes (Joan Kimball)
All levels – limited to 7 players, unless you have your own bagpipes
Energize the start of your day by learning the rudiments of, or honing previously learned skills, on Renaissance bagpipes! Music will include German tunes and dances, as well as some old 16th century favorites. Pipes are available for loan for the week.

Dance: Dancing in Germany (Peggy Murray)
Give some courtly, theatrical and popular dances a try!  We will work with German and other European dance sources from the 16th through 18th centuries, looking at performance traditions and step vocabularies for dances that typified the German region. A gentle physical warm-up is included daily. Exercise clothing and flat dance shoes are suggested.

Harpsichord Keyboard Touch and Technique (James Kennerley and Avi Stein)
Strengthen your technique and skills as a keyboard and continuo player using solo pieces and excerpts from other workshop classesPianists new to the harpsichord are welcome!

Notation: Renaissance Notation (Charles Weaver)
All Levels, instruments and singers
We will explore how to read 16th-century notation and sing and play from it. Notes, clefs, rhythms, ligatures, meter, proportions. Examples drawn from Northern German sources.

Recorder: Technique for Solo and Ensemble Skills (Laura Osterlund)
Intermediate – soprano, alto, tenor and bass at A=440
For intermediate recorder players: let’s bring your playing to the next level! In this class, we will tackle new and interesting challenges in both solo and ensemble playing. Our class will refine the techniques of breathing, articulation, sound production, and phrasing that are native to the recorder. Participants are welcome to bring solo pieces they wish to work on. In addition, we will improve our recorder ensemble skills by sight-reading and rehearsing music for recorder consort together.

Reeds and Brass: Basic Technique (Priscilla Herried and Liza Malamut)
If you don’t have much of a chance to play your reed or brass instrument during the year, and would like to build up stamina or work on fingerings/positions, or if you just want to spend time honing your technique, then this is the class for you. We’ll start the week off meeting one on one, student and instructor, working on your individual concerns in a low-pressure environment. Depending on enrollees, we’ll plan to start working on music together later in the week.

Violin: The unaccompanied violin before J.S. Bach (Brandi Berry Benson)
Advanced – High Int., violin and viola
In this class we will explore the unaccompanied violin works of Johann Jakob Walther, Thomas Balthzar, and Johann Westhoff, tracing the influences of style, and compositional structure that ultimately lead to J.S. Bach’s famous Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. 

Viols: Masterworks of Polyphony (Lisa Terry)
Intermediate, 6 viols
Give your brain a workout studying great works from late Renaissance composers Senfl, Isaac, Obrecht and Josquin. Untangle complicated rhythms and learn strategies to read, count and perform with confidence and virtuosity.

Voices: Lutheran Chorale in the 17th Century (Chelsie Propst)
All levels and types of voices
With the Protestant Reformation came a new emphasis on congregational singing, achieved through the introduction of the chorale. These simple, monophonic chorale melodies accompanied with vernacular texts, formed the foundation of Protestant church music that continues to this day. In this class we will explore the music and history of some of the most popular Lutheran chorales during Buxtehude’s tenure at the Marienkirche.

Voices:  Morgensprechgesang (Matthew Dean)
All Levels – voices
A warmup for vocalists of all levels. We will discuss making the vocal instrument ready in different historical moments, and explore techniques for centering and projecting, from sprechstimme to straw phonation and lip trills. Why let the orchestra have all the fun of tuning and arpeggiating onstage? Each day we will read a service-of-hours excerpt including that of Wittenberg.0

Voices: Par(t) Excellence: Singing From Partbooks (Jerry Hui)
All voice parts
Practice the art of singing from partbooks! We will focus on strengthening music reading and independence by working on music from St. Mary’s Choir Library in partbook format (modern notation as well as fascimile).

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Mid-Morning Classes

Sunday-Thursday | 10:15-11:15 am / Friday | 9:45-10:15 am

Continuo: Continuing Issues (Christa Patton & Avi Stein)
Intermediate – Advanced – all continuo instruments
Bring your problems to continuo class!  We will answer all questions!
Learn how to make a respectable continuo accompaniment out of that mysterious bass line.

Cornetto: The Sound of the Cornetto: a class on technique (Kiri Tollaksen)
All Levels
We will explore why the cornetto was considered similar to the human voice by studying basic cornetto technique, sound production, articulation, phrasing, tonal color, temperament and some ornamentation and repertoire.  There will be group playing with the possibility of individual playing as well. Students must have their own instrument and mouthpiece.

Recorder: Music from the Choir Library of St. Mary’s, Lübeck (Priscilla Herreid)
Intermediate – recorders
The Choir Library of St. Mary’s holds about 2000 pieces from the Renaissance and early Baroque periods. We’ll dive into incredible music by Lassus, Gabrieli, Susato, Clemens non Papa, and others whose works appears in this collection. 

Recorder: Renaissance Recorders (Joan Kimball)
Advanced – 8 Renaissance-style recorders
By permission of instructor, please contact joan@piffaro.com
This class will explore the wonders and delights of true Renaissance-style recorders: their velvety sounds, their quirky fingerings, and their capabilities of in-tune consort playing! Repertoire will include German sacred and secular works by the likes of Ludwig Senfl, Heinrich Isaac, Orlande de Lassus, Hans Leo Hassler and others.

Sackbut Techniques (Greg Ingles & Liza Malamut)
All Levels sackbuts
This technique class is suitable for sackbut players of all levels.  Topics of discussion will include articulation, tone production and quality, breathing techniques and exercises, phrasing and warm-up routines specifically for the sackbut.  Daily group reading sessions will be included as well as an option for some assigned work to be developed individually throughout the course.

*Shawm and Dulcian Advanced Technique and Repertoire (Bob Wiemken)
Advanced: Open to maximum of 8 advanced players by audition/permission of the instructor.
See Advanced Loud Band Intensive for more information.

Violin: Technique through Improvisation (Robert Mealy)
All Levels – violin
A masterclass devoted to learning a relaxed and effective violin technique, through improvisation and ornamentation on 17th-century German ground basses. Students are welcome to bring in their own German Baroque solo sonatas, and chamber works that they are working on at the Festival. 

Viols: Waiting for the Hammer(schmidt) to Fall  (Phillip Serna)
Intermediate – viol consort, 5 – 10 viols with doubling
Composing vocal music compared to and often overshadowed by Heinrich Schütz, Andreas Hammerschmidt (1611-1675) was a respected organist and teacher whose body of work for viol consort was published in three collections between 1636 and 1650 – near the close of the Thirty Years’ War. Join us exploring Hammerschmidt’s Erster Fleiß for 5-part consort filled with a cornucopia of dances, delicious Italian-style canzonas, French-style arias and so much more!

Viols: Octo Tonorum Melodiae (Lisa Terry)
Advanced – 5 players, all sizes of viols, flexibility needed
The eight ecclesiastical modes are the hook for eight enthralling fantasias set in five-part polyphony by Thomas Stoltzer (c.1480-1526). Viol flexibility a must! We will trade instruments and sizes to explore the fantasias in high settings and low.

Bodenschatz’s Florilegium portense (Chelsie Propst)
Voices and continuo
Two of the greatest seventeenth-century German composers, J.S. Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude, owned a copy of Erhard Bodenschatz’s monumental motet collection, Florilegium portense. This collection, containing a total of 365 motets, is one of the greatest repositories of seventeenth-century choral music. In this class we will explore the contents of the ‘Florilegium,’ singing motets by some well-known and not-so-well-known composers that formed the foundation of a good choral library.

Voices & Instruments: 15th and 16th Century German Songs of Life & Love (Bill Chin)
Intermediate – primarily voices, instruments welcome
Love made the world go ’round back in the Renaissance, too. See what composers like Isaac, Lasso, Othmayr, and of course Anonymous, had to say about the subject. Participants will sing part songs, quodlibets, and rounds.

Voices & Continuo: 17th Century Sacred Song in German-speaking Lands (Grant Herreid)
Advanced – High Intermediate –  Singers and continuo players, all continuo and voice types
A survey of sacred song published in Germany and Austria in the early seventeenth century, chiefly from two large anthologies published in Leipzig and Munich for one, two three and more voices and continuo.

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Late Morning Classes

Sunday-Thursday | 11:30 am-12:15 pm

Beginning Harp (TBD)

Beginning Recorder (Laura Osterlund)
All recorders, soprano, alto, tenor, bass at A=440
This class will explore the basics of good recorder technique: sound production, articulation, breath, and the body. This is a flexible class for anyone who’s ever wanted to get to know the recorder a little bit better and will be tailored according to the class to meet student needs. 

Beginning Viola da gamba (Eric Miller)
Experience this beautiful instrument and learn to play simple Renaissance pieces in only one week! A relative of the guitar, the viola da gamba comes in different sizes and is suitable for everyone!

Beginning Voice (Erin Bryan)

Dance for All: Deutscher Tanz für alle! (Peggy Murray)
A sampling of styles over time, get moving in this class that explores courtly, theater and popular German dances through a variety of European sources. The contexts, deportment, steps and choreographies described in sources from the 16th through 18th centuries shed light on a variety of dances considered to represent the German style.  Exercise clothing and flat dance shoes are suggested.

Improvising Polyphony : An Introduction  (Maximilien Brisson)
All Levels –  Open to all
Explore some of the improvisation techniques of the Renaissance that are the very foundations of the Western classical music language. Students will learn a few techniques to harmonize a cantus firmus as well as how to improvise canons, and will be able to improvise 2, 3 and 4 part music. Open to all – the only requirement is basic knowledge and understanding of musical intervals.

Individual Practice Time

Lecture Series
Sunday, July 8
“The Theatre of Instruments: Recreating the Renaissance Wind Band.”  (J. Michael Allsen)

Monday, July 9
A Trip to the Library: UW-Madison Mills Library Special Collections

Tuesday, July 10
“Hearing Buxtehude in a Different Key: His Abendmusiken in Lübeck.” (Jost Hermand)

Wednesday, July 11
“Dance and the Reformation.” (Peggy Murray)

Thursday, July 12
“Voicing Unity and Dissent”  (Michael Alan Anderson)

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Early Afternoon Classes

Sunday-Thursday | 1:30-3:00 pm / Friday | 10:30-11:30 am

*Advanced Loud Band Intensive (Bob Wiemken, Greg Ingles, Kiri Tollaksen)
Participation by audition/permission only. 8 – 10 players. 
See Advanced Loud Band Intensive for more information.

Voices: Beer, Battle, and Bells (Matthew Dean)
All levels – voices
This course for vocalists explores mostly-monophonic songs of war and feasting, from the Play of Daniel through songs of the bards and pub societies. Central will be a 16th century pamphlet with propaganda text for both Danish and Swiss tones. We close with some Christmas-in-July seasonal toasts including German macaronic carols and wassails. Possible field trip to sing at the Rathskeller in Memorial Union!

Celestial Bodies – Capricornus for Voices & Viols  (Phillip Serna)
Intermediate – 4 viols and 5 voices
Not other great composers who died far too young, Samuel Capricornus (1628-1665) demonstrated great inventiveness and versatility through his music for voices and obbligato musical instruments. Join us in exploring Capricornus’ music through the interaction of voices and viols! 

Fantasticus: The Sonata in Northern Germany (Robert Mealy)
Advanced – violin/recorder, gamba, harpsichord
Open to treble players and continuo players, this class will examine the invention of the sonata in northern Germany and the Netherlands, and the development of the stylus fantasticus: we will look at the diminution traditions of Schop, the trio sonatas of Buxtehude and Reincken, and the little-known but fabulous sonatas of van Wichel and Kempis.

Heinrich Schütz: Sacred and Secular Smaller Works (Bill Chin & Christa Patton)
Advanced voices and continuo
Heinrich Schütz is famous for his Venetian-inspired polychoral repertoire, but wrote much for more modest forces. Get up close and personal with the sacred in his Kleine gesitiche Konzerte, the Musikalische Exequien, and the secular in his Il primo libro de madrigali.

Intermediate Loud Band:  Hans Leo Hassler  (Priscilla Herreid)
Intermediate – shawms, cornetti, dulcians, and sackbuts
If you’re a newcomer to MEMF, please contact the instructor (priscillaherreid@gmail.com) about what instrument(s) you’ll be bringing.
Hassler was one of the leading German composers of the High Renaissance, and was one of the first to introduce later Italian compositional style to Germany. He was fluent in the language of polyphony, but as a student of Andrea Gabrieli’s in Venice, Hassler became adept in the new polychoral style, and even wrote Italian madrigals and villanelle.

Magical and Alchemical Music in Germany (Grant Herried)
For singers and players
An exploration of German alchemical fugues written by Michael Maier for his publication Atalante Fugiens (1617), and the magico- humanist masque songs composed by Sigmund Theophil Staden (1607-1655) for Die Tugendsterne by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, for various instruments and voices, and the 14th-century alchemical chant by Johannes Teschen. 

Membra Jesu Nostri (Charles Weaver)
Advanced – SATB Voices, strings
We will perform learn of Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, with an emphasis on understanding and approaching the text and performing with style.

Mighty Michael Praetorius! (Liza Malamut)
Intermediate – all instruments and voices
This class will explore the works of Michael Praetorius, one of the most prolific composers of seventeenth-century Germany.  We will play spritely dances from Terpsichore, discover polyphonic hymn tunes from Musae Sioniae, and delve into the complex Italianate polychoral music of Polyhymnia Caduceatrix.  Geared for all instrument types and voices, class members will get a chance to experience a taste of Praetorius’s genius: soaring melodies, sonorous harmony, and lush instrumentation.

Marienbrüderschaft der Musikanten – Lübeck (Brandi Berry Benson & Paul Rowe)
Advanced – High Intermediate, voices, strings, winds, continuo
An exploration of cantatas by Tunder and Buxtehude for voices and a variety of instruments composed for this musical society to be performed during the Abendmusiken.

Motets and Psalms of the Reformation (Lisa Terry)
Intermediate – viols, violins, and winds
Enjoy comfortable work on phrasing and long line with these beautiful psalm settings and motets for four voices from early German composers such as Praetorius, Schutz, Hassler and Handl.

Sacred Motets and Songs for recorders and voices (Joan Kimball)
Advanced – Recorders, SATB voices and bass viol
A consort of Renaissance recorders and a consort of voices – a match made in heaven! The organ-like sounds of these recorders provide an excellent accompaniment to singers in sacred song. Repertoire will include Latin motets and German sacred songs by composers of the second half of the 16th century – Orlande de Lassus, Ludwig Daser, Leonhard Lechner, Michael Praetorius and others.

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Mid-Afternoon Class

Saturday-Friday | 3:15-5:00 pm

All-Festival Choir and Orchestra Rehearsal (Grant Herreid, James Kennerley, Jerry Hui)

Dress Rehearsal: Saturday, July 14 | 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Journey to Lübeck: The Musical Legacy of the Reformation
While Petrus Hasse, Franz Tunder, and Dieterich Buxtehude were serving as organists of the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church), they assembled a choir library of some 2000 works, which were catalogued in 2015 by Kerala J. Snyder for the first time. Our program will include selections from this collection, and include works by Gregor Aichinger, Hans Leo Hassler, Michael Praetorius, Johann Hermann Schein, concluding our musical journey with the Missa brevis and the festive Benedicam dominum in omni tempore by Dieterich Buxtehude.

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