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

Class Descriptions

Due to the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s decision to suspend in-person courses, workshops, and conferences for summer term because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison Early Music Festival Workshop and Concert Series has been postponed. This extraordinary situation has affected all of us and we missed seeing you this summer. Updates will be posted on our website as they are available.

Please note: This page contains information on past Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF) programs.

MEMF 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 Advanced Vocal Intensive, and are by permission or 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)
  • Cornetto: (Beg/Int) Technique (TOLLAKSEN)
  • Dance: Renaissance Dance Excursions (MURRAY)
  • Harpsichord Techniques (GERBER)
  • Recorder: (Adv) Well Traveled Madrigals (P. HERREID)
  • Recorder: (Int) Hits of the 1500’s (OPSAHL)
  • Theory: A Tour of the Musical Cosmos (WEAVER)
  • Violin and Viola: (High Int/Adv) A Grand Tour of Ornaments (BERRY BENSON)
  • Viols: (All Levels) Play Better! (GILLESPIE)
  • Voices: (All levels) Beneventan Chant (HUDSON)
  • Voices: (All levels) Singing Leadership (HUI)
  • Voices: (All Levels) Singing With Taste (PROPST)


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

  • *Advanced Voice Intensive (HUI, ROWE & CALMUS) – Class is at capacity*
  • Continuo: Continuing Issues (PATTON)
  • Cornetto: A Class on Technique (TOLLAKSEN)
  • Organ Techniques (STOWE)
  • Recorder: (Adv) Making Shapes (OPSAHL)
  • Recorder: (Int) Playing the Words (KIMBALL)
  • Sackbut Technique (Adv) (INGLES)
  • Sackbut & Shawm Tech. (All levels) P.HERREID & SCHMALZ)
  • *Shawm and Dulcian Advanced Technique (WIEMKEN)
  • Violin: (All Levels) Art of Playing with the Baroque Bow (KIM)
  • Viols: (Int) Learn Viol Technique with Country Dances (CHANCEY)
  • Viols & Other Instruments: (Advanced) Playing Petrucci (GILLESPIE)
  • Voices: Diverting Ditties (PROPST)
  • Voices & Continuo: Speaking in Song (G. HERRIED & SNAIDAS)

Late morning

Sunday-Thursday | 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

  • *Advanced Voice Intensive (HUI, ROWE & CALMUS)
  • Beginning Recorder (HUEBSCH)
  • Beginning Viol (MILLER)
  • Beginning Voice (DUNNAGAN)
  • Dance for All (MURRAY)
  • Harp: Have Harp CAN Travel (PATTON)
  • Individual Practice Time
  • Lecture Series
  • Notation: Duly Noted (INGLES)

Early afternoon

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

  • *Advanced Loud Band (WIEMKEN & INGLES)
  • An Englishman’s Treasure (Voices & Lute) (WEAVER)
  • Baroque Chamber Ensembles (Instr & Solo voice) (various faculty)
  • Canzoni del Seicento: Solo songs (G. HERREID & SNAIDAS)
  • Exploring D’Urfey’s Pills to Purge Melancholy (CHANCEY)
  • Intermediate Loud Band: A Grand Welcome (KIMBALL)
  • Madrigals of Wert for Instruments and Voices (TOLLAKSEN)
  • Notre Dame School (Adv. Voices) (HUDSON)
  • Postcards from Orpheus (PATTON)
  • Venetian Mariners for Mixed Instruments (SCHMALZ)


All-Festival Rehearsals & Concert

Musical Postcards from the Grand Tour
Saturday-Friday 3:15 – 5:00 pm
Saturday, July 13 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Dress Rehearsal
Saturday, July 13 | 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. 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 French and Italian tunes and dances, as well as some old sixteenth century favorites. Pipes are available for loan for the week.

Cornetto: Technique (Kiri Tollaksen)
Beginning to Intermediate
Any cornetto player not enrolled in ALBI (Advanced Loud Band Intensive). 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.

Dance: Renaissance Dance Excursions (Peggy Murray)
Dance through Europe as we explore Renaissance dances from a variety of countries and sources. From noble Italian balli to raucous French branles, we’ll work with steps, choreographies, and deportment for dances with different themes and rhythmic characteristics. Comfortable exercise clothes and flat dance shoes are suggested.

Harpsichord Keyboard Touch and Technique (Tom Gerber)
The class takes a whirlwind dance tour through baroque-era Europe, visiting France, Italy, Germany, and England. The points of interest: the stylized dances gathered together in suites (e.g., the Couperins, D’Anglebert), sometimes known as partitas (e.g., J.S. Bach), lessons (e.g., Purcell), etc., as well as the paired pavanes and galliards of the Italians. Comparisons? Contrasts? Pianists new to the harpsichord are welcome!

Recorder: The Well-Traveled Madrigal (Priscilla Herreid)
The sixteenth century madrigal was born in Italy, but from the start was popularized by Franco-Flemish and French composers living and working in Florence. The marriage of Italian poetry and form together with the excellent training and musical tradition of the oltremontani birthed this new form that was quickly adopted all over Europe. We will go on our own Grand Tour of the madrigal as it wended its way from Italy to England, Germany, France, and Spain.

Recorder: Hits of the 1500’s (Alex Opsahl)
Exploring the chansons and madrigals that took Europe, we take a look at some of the most famous chansons and madrigals of the Renaissance. These pieces inspired dozens of intabulations, transcriptions, and diminutions, and pop up in many major music collections from the time. Works include Lassus’ Susanne Ung Jour, da Rore’s Ancor Che Col Partire, as well as works by Janequin, Arcadelt, Crequillon, and Clemens Non Papa.

Theory: A Tour of the Musical Cosmos (Charles Weaver)
All voices and instruments
The Grand Tour capped off an aristocratic education, but what did a musical education involve in the early modern period? This course answers the question with a survey of sixteenth century music theory: the music of the spheres, intervals, consonance and dissonance, tuning and temperament, solmization, hexachords, and counterpoint. Explanations will rely on English examples.

Violin & Viola: A Grand Tour of Ornamentation (Brandi Berry Benson)
Advanced violin & viola
This class will explore the major national styles of ornamentation in the late seventeenth century. Starting in London, we will explore the ornamentation in the Division Violin Collections. Our tour then takes us to Paris where we will study the style of Francois Couperin, and then finally to Rome, where we will study the style of Arcangelo Corelli.

Viols: Play better! Viola da Gamba Technical Torture (Wendy Gillespie)
Level determined by participants
Learn your way around your instrument as you never have before, and experiment a bit with improvisation along the way. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to improvise – just make it up!

Voices: Beneventan Chant, The Forgotten Repertoire  (William Hudson)
This wonderful monophonic repertoire, characterized by its use of tropes and non-biblical texts, was suppressed by the Church in the eleventh century. We will explore the development of this unique southern Italian chant repertoire through its notation and historical place within the early church.

Voices: Singing Leadership: Working With Chamber Ensembles  (Jerry Hui)
Leading/singing in chamber vocal ensembles brings both unique joy and challenges to the music making. In this class, through repertoire from France, Italy, and England, we will explore what individual singers may do to take ownership in music making, and what directors may do in rehearsing and guiding the overall sound. Singers who wish to improve their ensemble musicianship as well as choir directors are welcome. Geared toward choir directors working on rehearsal techniques and for ensemble singers.

Voices: Singing with Taste (Chelsie Propst)
All Levels
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the differences between French and Italian vocal music were the source of many disputes among music lovers. In this class, we will explore some of the most popular singing treatises of the day by French and Italian masters, and begin to understand first-hand the differences in these musical styles.

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Mid-Morning Classes

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

*Advanced Voice Intensive (Jerry Hui, Paul Rowe, Calmus) – Class is at capacity*
Participation by audition/permission only.  The program will consist of two sessions a day  for 2 or 3 advanced acapella vocal ensemble.
Please contact Jerry Hui at chiwei.hui@gmail.com

Continuo: Continuing Issues: Partimento – or the Improvised Composition (Christa Patton)
Intermediate – Advanced – all basso continuo instruments
We will explore of the art of Partimento: best described as single line of music containing theoretical and stylistic cues that guide the skill and the intuition of a performer in improvising a composition. Our guide will be Fedele Fenaroli. His Partimenti ossia basso numerato (1811) was used in music schools in Naples as late as the 1950’s and details seventeenth century practices of Partimento as well as key insights into composition over the last four centuries.

Cornetto: A Class on Technique (Kiri Tollaksen)
For advanced cornetto students enrolled in ALBI (Advanced Loud Band Intensive). 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.

Organ Technique (John Chappell Stowe)
Study works of Froberger, Weckmann, Marchand, and J.S. Bach. This class will meet to play the newly installed Taylor and Boody organ at St. Paul’s Chapel on campus.

Recorder: Making Shapes: Rhetoric and the recorder (Alexandra Opsahl)
This class highlights the recorder techniques needed to truly bring out the rhetoric of a baroque sonata. Using repertoire of the high Baroque sonatas by Telemann, de la Barre, Handel, Barsanti and Corelli, this class will help individuals develop their ability to shape phrases and passagework by focusing on breath control, rubato, and clean articulation.

Recorder: Playing the Words Through the Notes (Joan Kimball)
Intermediate Limited to 8 players.
Focusing on the issues of articulation, phrasing, and breath to “sing” the texts through the recorder, the class will play a selection of French chansons and Italian madrigals. Each chanson will be paired with a madrigal, by subject matter, and we will see how the different languages might dictate the manner of playing.

Sackbut Techniques (Greg Ingles)
Advanced sackbuts
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 Sackbut Technique (Priscilla Herried & Erik Schmalz)
All Levels
This class is for anyone at any stage of their playing. We’ll be divided into two sections: Shawms will meet for one-on-one technical/musical work with Priscilla, either privately or in a masterclass setting, depending on your comfort level. Sackbuts will meet with Erik, first as a group for technique/basics and vocal playing. Splitting up for individual work with Erik is also available if there’s interest. Depending on enrollment, we may do a bit of ensemble playing, reeds and brass together.

*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 & Viola: The Art of Playing with the Baroque Bow (Kangwon Kim)
All Levels. Limited to 10 players.
This class will address various aspects of the baroque bow technique by using the exercises by Franz Benda, a well-known Bohemian violinist and composer from the early eighteenth century. We will explore effective ways of using the baroque bow as well as how to create the same effects and styles with the modern bow. There will also be opportunities for the participants to bring passages from their solo or chamber works for the group to discuss.

Viols: Learn Viol Technique by Playing Country Dances (Tina Chancey)
All Levels
Ten tunes from The Dancing Master will help you with technical issues such as shifting, playing legato, going between half and first position, string crossing, and other preoccupations.

Viols and Other Instruments: Playing Petrucci (Wendy Gillespie)
Advanced. Viols and other instruments – mixed ensemble
Explore some of the earliest printed music in its original form, from which our modern notation was born. Play Renaissance music without barlines to really experience what “tactus” is all about. Stretch your mind with clefs that live on any line of the staff. Learn some absolutely stunning repertoire! Challenging, but worth it.

Voices: (Chelsie Propst)
All Levels – Voices
Communal music-making was popular leisure activity across Europe during the Renaissance. Explore the vast repertoire of vernacular polyphonic music that preceded the better-known Italian madrigal and discover the charming simplicity of the Italian frottola, the French chanson, and the Spanish villancico.

Voices & Continuo: Speaking in Song (Grant Herreid & Nell Snaidas)
Advanced – Solo singers and continuo players, all continuo and voice types. Class size limited to 20.
With the advent of opera and “recitar cantando” in Florence in the first decade of the seventeenth century, the art of “speaking in tones” spread in various forms to the other musical centers of Europe. This class explores the art of recitative from its rise in Italy, to its travels to England, Spain, Germany, and France. 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

*Advanced Voice Intensive (Jerry Hui, Paul Rowe, Calmus)
Participation by audition/permission only.  The program will consist of two sessions a day for 2 or 3 advanced acapella vocal ensembles. Please contact Jerry Hui at chiwei.hui@gmail.com

Beginning Recorder (Sarah Huebsch)
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 (Wesley Dunnagan)

Dance for All: Baroque Dance Tour (Peggy Murray)
If you have ever played a minuet, bourée, or sarabande, you may have wondered about the dances behind the music. In this survey of common baroque dances, we will explore their steps, conventions, and rhythms for a physical understanding of each dance type. Comfortable exercise clothing and flat dance shoes are suggested.

Harp: Have Harp, CAN Travel (Christa Patton)
All levels
Whether it was O’Carolan who wrote planxtys to thank his Irish hosts, or Gian Leonardo dell’Arpa who was too plump to travel from Naples to Ferrara to give lessons to Laura Peperara, or Lucrezia Urbani who did travel from Naples to Mantua in a carriage with her large Neapolitan harp to play L’Orfeo for Monteverdi, or the (possibly) French harpist who played a (seemingly) Italian harp in England for Charles I!… We will revel in the music of these harpists who traveled to make a living.

Individual Practice Time

Notation:  Duly Noted (Greg Ingles)
All instruments and voices
If you’ve ever been interested in being able to work from original manuscripts reading early notation, this class is for you. Using primary source part books, you will be introduced to nonstandard clefs (alto, tenor, mezzo soprano, soprano, and baritone), early note values and the process of matching given text with the notes on the page. Though this may sound daunting, you’ll be surprised how quickly you will attain these new skills and how rewarding it is reading from the original sources.

Lecture Series
Sunday, July 7

High Culture and Low Inns

Travelers on their grand tour record many magnificent sights and sounds, but it is the hazards (bad food, bad weather, and highwaymen, to name a few) and the serendipities (new friends, chance meetings, impromptu performances) of the road that set accounts apart from one another. Travelers of course knew this, and so many accounts pull from literary models provided by romances—tales of love and adventure—to frame their stories and the music that accompany them.

Monday, July 8

A Trip to the Library

A special exhibit at Memorial Library created from materials in Special Collections and the Mills Music Library for the MEMF Grand Tour theme.

Tuesday, July 9

Accompanying The Hunchback

The 1923 silent film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, features Lon Chaney in one of his most moving and impressive performances.  This lecture provides some background on the making of the film, as well as a glimpse of how HESPERUS has chosen and assembled a score of French medieval music to accompany the movie.

Wednesday, July 10

Grand Tour Stories at the Chazen Museum of Art

Italy has long been a travel destination for artists as well as for tourists. An essential part of artists’ education in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the opportunity to study the antiquities of Rome and paint the Italian countryside. The tradition of classical landscape painting inspired by ancient Roman poetry, by nature, and by the surviving buildings and ruins led to the proliferation of vedute and capricci, architectural and landscape panoramas that become popular Grand Tour souvenirs. Come hear stories of English eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travelers to Italy who acquired paintings for their country houses and London residences that are now in the Chazen Museum collection.

Thursday, July 11

Calmus Masterclass with Advanced Voice Intensive Ensembles.

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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)
Participation by audition/permission only. 8 – 10 players. 
See Advanced Loud Band Intensive for more information.

An English Gentleman’s Treasury of Continental Music (Charles Weaver)
Advanced – Voices and lutes
This class examines the music collection of Edward Paston, a Norfolk gentleman and recusant Catholic during the reign of Elizabeth I. Paston arranged his music for one voice to be accompanied by a lute, possibly for liturgical use in secret household celebrations of the Catholic Mass. The collection is remarkably cosmopolitan, containing very recent music by Lassus, Byrd, and Victoria.

Baroque Chamber Ensembles (Brandi Benson Berry, Tom Geber, Kangwon Kim & Alexandra Opsahl)
Advanced.  Violin, recorder, viol, cello, harpsichord and solo voice
Repertoire will be chosen and assigned to ensembles from the following and other composers. One stop along the Grand Tour was Naples, where the traveler would often go to study music and learn cantatas and other vocal/instrumental works of Alessandro Scarlatti. Bach obbligato sonatas from six “harpsichord obbligato” sonatas with violin, three with viol, and three with flute weave a rich tapestry of issues regarding performance practice and French and Italian influences.

Canzoni del Seicento (Solo songs of 17 c. Italy) (Grant Herried & Nell Snaidas)
Voices and lute. Class limited to 10.
Students are invited to discover the magnificent world of Italian solo song repertoire of seventeenth century with Nell Snaidas and Grant Herreid. Each singer will be given two songs to prepare from the wealth of compositions of Monteverdi, Strozzi, Merula, Frescobaldi, and others. As we make our way through the week we will explore this rich solo repertory together, and by the end, each singer will have an expanded portfolio of songs to be able to present in recital or share with students and friends.

Exploring D’Urfey’s Pills to Purge Melancholy (Tina Chancey)
Intermediate: All singers and instruments that read treble clef.
Pills, or Wit and Mirth
 is a collection of songs published from 1698-1720. D’Urfey took traditional tunes and ballads, as well as airs from the theater and the opera stage and wrote texts that were satirical, scatalogical, romantic, and political. This is a performance workshop, exploring how to arrange and present the songs, adding instrumental intros, interludes and postludes; making medleys; and creating countermelodies and descants.

Intermediate Loud Band: A Grand Welcome (Joan Kimball)
Intermediate – shawms, cornetti, dulcians, and sackbuts. Limited to 8 players.
We will play the role of city wind players, greeting the young English travelers with ceremonial music as they enter the cities of Paris, Lyons, Venice, Rome, and Florence on their Grand Tour of France and Italy. Music selections will range from early sixteenth century through the turn of the seventeenth and include works of Isaac, Mouton, Gabrieli, Moderne, and others.

Madrigals of Giaches de Wert (Kiri Tollaksen)
Int/Adv Loud Band instruments and voices
Giaches de Wert was a prolific composer of 4-7 part madrigals of exquisite beauty. Born in Flanders, de Wert received his musical training in Italy where he spent his entire career. We have the possibility of reading some of de Wert’s music from facsimile. This class is primarily open to louds (cornett, shawm, dulcian, trombone) with the desired tessituras of SSATB. Other instruments including voice are possible.

The Notre-Dame School and the Rise of Polyphony (William Hudson)
Advanced voices
This class will trace the development of polyphony in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from organum through the polyphonic motet and conductus. Focus will be placed on the works of Léonin and Pérotin and the creation of the Magnus Liber Organi. Participants will transcribe pieces from original notation.

Postcards from Orpheus (Christa Patton)
Solo voices, harpsichord, strings, basso continuo instruments
The story of Orpheus, mythology’s most famous musician in heaven and on earth, is timeless and beloved in every land. Music celebrating the story of Orpheus and Euridice for voices and instruments will be offered with selections by Luigi Rossi, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and even a comic Orpheus by Leopold I of Vienna! Music will be assigned in advance and coached in a masterclass setting.

Venetian Mariners: Come Sail Away! (Erik Schmalz)
Intermediate – Various instruments. Class size limited to 6 players.
Venetian mariners gathered together once each year to offer prayers to San Nicolò, the patron saint of sailors. Go where the wind blows and take a tour with me through the celebratory music of Venice. I promise not to let you sink!

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Mid-Afternoon Class

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

All-Festival Choir and Orchestra Rehearsal (Grant Herreid)

Dress Rehearsal: Saturday, July 13 | 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Musical Postcards from the Grand Tour
Designed by Grant Herreid for MEMF, this program is inspired by the writings of Thomas Coryat, and English 17th century travel writer.  The journey begins in London during the Stuart period.  Join us as we travel to Paris, Venice, Rome, Dresden and back to London during the reign of Charles II.  Composers include Claudio Monteverdi, Giacomo Carissimi, Heinrich Schütz, and Henry Purcell.

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