Weekly Newsletter 

 November 16, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

As I took some time this weekend to skim through recent issues of The New Yorker, I came across this eye-opening piece by Alex Ross about the environmental costs of music streaming. Accessing music from "the cloud" generates substantially more greenhouse-gas emissions than making CDs ever did. In retrospect, though, it is obvious that this would be one of the inevitable costs of having all of musical history available instantaneously.

Ross's piece also reminded me of how the ubiquity of online music has had an insidious impact on the livelihood of the average working musician. As Ross bluntly puts it, "to make a living as a musician, you need to claw desperately for attention at every waking hour."

Of course, all we can do now is access and make music online. Though one must marvel at the creativity of many musicians during the pandemic, performers and performing arts organizations may have struck a devil's bargain in opening the floodgates of online early music content. Though we long for the days when we can savor live concerts again and will certainly rush to them when they return, how long is it before the novelty wears off and we become satiated by Spotify?

It would be utterly foolish to turn our backs on online music-making when the pandemic is over. It is here to stay, regardless of one's opinion of it. But now is the time for us to think about how we can thoughtfully consume music, so that the musical ecosystem we so cherish—one where performers and audiences sustain each other—can thrive for a long time to come.

Derek Tam, Executive Director

Only Five Days to Go: Tabea Debus & Alon Sariel on Nov. 21

Here's Tabea and lutenist Alex McCartney performing the sinfonias from J.S. Bach's Cantatas 156 and 35, arranged for recorder and theorbo
Some melodies just jump off the page, staying in the mind for days on end. Rising early music stars Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel join together for a scintillating program of Ohrwürmer (or as we say in the United States, earworms)!
Alon Sariel - Telemandolin - Sonata in D Major, TWV 44:1: I. Sinfonia. Spirituoso
Here's Alon playing the opening sinfonia (marked "spirituoso") from Telemann's Sonata in D Major, TWV 44:1

This toe-tapping program features favorite tunes and dances from the Renaissance and Baroque. Enjoy works by J.S. Bach, Bertali, Carroubel, Dowland, Merula, Monteverdi, Moorcraft, Ortiz, Schop, Telemann, and of course, the ever-popular Anonymous.

Tabea Debus, recorder; Alon Sariel, lute

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1:00PM Pacific Time
Online livestream access provided with purchase. Concert will be available on demand after livestream through December 12.

$15 general admission per household
With your ticket purchase, you will receive a unique link to our high-definition livestream. Each presentation will feature pre-recorded and live material, as well as a special opportunity to interact with our artists through our live chat.

Second Round of Fall Classes Are in Session!

There's still time to catch some exciting classes this fall!
Fridays at 5PM (November 6–December 11)
Rotem Gilbert – Polyphonic Settings in Italian Sources 1400-1600

Sundays at 1PM (November 8–December 13)
Daphna Mor – Ottoman-Turkish and Arabic Music from the 18th–20th century

Sundays at 3PM (November 8–December 13)
Adam Bregman – Musica practica: Seeing Renaissance Music through the Eyes of Renaissance Musicians

–––We are also offering two one-off classes–––

Saturday, December 5 at 1PM
Nigel North – La Rhètorique des Dieux (lecture/performance)
Come enjoy SFEMS's patented mix of
playing, scholarship, and community! 

We're taking a deeper dive into the world of early music with our world-class faculty as we build upon our summer virtual sessions by presenting several mini-series, each consisting of of five classes, as well as some one-offs that follow up on the summer's topics.

Individual mini-series classes are $25 each. If you purchase all five classes for ONE mini-series, you will receive a $15 discount for that mini-series.
We will also offer time for casual gathering and community with our popular (and free) sherry hours from 4:15 to 4:45PM on Sundays.
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Have Questions? Here's How You Can Reach Us!

If you’re having technical troubles accessing a virtual workshop, online concert, or have a general question for us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here for you!

Click on the button below to read about the various ways to reach us.

NEW: Past Newsletters Archive

Good news! If you're looking for a tidbit from a past SFEMS weekly newsletter, you can now access our archive online!

Click on the button below for direct access to  the archive, or just go to!

UPDATE: Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund—Eighth Round Now Open

Relief fund grant recipients may apply for an eighth grant one month after the date they turned in their seventh grant applications. If you have continuing need, please resubmit your application with documentation demonstrating your continuing need.

First-time grant applicants, as well as repeat applicants who have received fewer than seven grants, will receive priority. (You may file for a continuing grants one month after the day you turned in your previous application.)

As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks an unprecedented financial toll on the world economy, our local early music freelancers have been particularly hit hard. Months of work have dried up in days, leaving many musicians on the brink of financial ruin.

In an effort to help our musicians, the SFEMS board has taken the lead in setting up a short-term relief fund for local early music freelancers. Since then, we have received over $50,000 in donations. This fund will provide one-time, first-come, first-served $250 grants to musicians in need, and will do so until funds run out.

If You're Looking to Renew Your Membership, Watch This Video

If your membership renewal is due in the next several months but you are encountering financial difficulties, please contact administrator Stacey Helley at No membership will lapse during the current crisis if we are informed that you would like to continue being a SFEMS member.

To find out your membership status online, log in on our membership page. (N.B. If you use a different login email address than previously on record, please note that it will create a new, separate profile for you that will not have any membership data.)

You will then be prompted to update your contact information. If there is no change, please click "save and continue."

On the next screen, you will be able to see your membership level and expiration date if you are a current member. You may renew a membership within 30 days prior to the expiration date.

Still not sure? Watch this handy video!
Excited about becoming a member or renewing your membership? SFEMS Marketing Communications Manager Lorena Zapata will guide you step-by-step through the process online!

Early Music Corner:
The Woman Who Built Beethoven's Pianos

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
Nannette Streicher, the daughter of famed builder Johann Andreas Stein, expanded upon her father's techniques and built a reputation as a mechanical wunderkind.
Learn more about piano builder Nannette Streicher in this recent New York Times article!

One of Europe’s finest keyboard manufacturers in the early 19th century, she was critical in helping Ludwig van Beethoven's career blossom.

Near the end of his life, Beethoven confided to Streicher that her pianos had always been his favorite.

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This Week's Events

Want your early music event featured on the SFEMS Weekly Calendar? Contact us here and online at

For events, email SFEMS's Marketing Communications Manager, Lorena Zapata at Please submit listings no later than the Thursday before the Monday publication.
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