Weekly Newsletter 

December 7, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

One of the privileges of working at SFEMS is the opportunity to attend as many of our virtual workshops sessions as I can, which has certainly been a treat.

On Friday, I enjoyed yet another scintillating class taught by Rotem Gilbert, focusing on music from two Florentine weddings in the 16th century: the renowned 1589 ceremony for Ferdinando I de' Medici and Christina of Lorraine, and an unknown-to-me 1539 ceremony for Cosimo I de 'Medici and Eleonora of Toledo.

Because I was dreading the imminent lockdown that the Bay Area was about to re-enter, I was struck by the incongruity of reading through rhapsodically joyful music as the gravity of the pandemic weighed upon me. I wonder how many of my fellow participants felt the same way. 

But over the course of the hour, I found my mood had shifted and that my ideological tension had resolved. The music we were making—though perhaps defiant of the current state of affairs—was a rehearsal for the joy and relief that will come sooner or later, and therefore eminently appropriate and necessary. It reminded me that the virtual classes are as much food for now as preparation for a return to seeing each other in person.

Derek Tam, Executive Director

A Year in Review: Your Donations at Work

Change is never easy, especially this year!

Our successful adaption online would not have been remotely possible without every generous act of kindness: your donations, online engagement, and participation.

Take a look below at our year in review to see your support at work! As we round out the calendar year, please consider a donation to help us start 2021 strongly.

As an added incentive, did you know that the CARES act allows all taxpayers to take a charitable deduction of up to $300, even if you do not itemize?

Last Chance: 
On-Demand Through Dec. 12: Debus & Sariel

Enjoy this sneak peek from Tabea and Alon's concert on Nov. 21—Diego Ortiz's "Recercada Segunda sobre tenores Italianos" from the second book of the Trattado de Glosas (1553).
Some melodies just jump off the page, staying in the mind for days on end. Rising early music stars Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel joined together for a scintillating program of Ohrwürmer (or as we say in the United States, earworms) on Nov. 21.
The concert will be available on-demand through December 12.
Tabea Debus, recorder; Alon Sariel, lute

Final Week of Fall Classes, and Spring Classes Coming Soon!

There's still one more weekend 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
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.
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In Memoriam: David Cates 

We mourn the passing of harpsichordist David Cates (1958–2020), who passed away unexpectedly on Monday, November 30. An inveterate keyboard collector, David recorded several highly regarded recordings on the Wildboar and Music & Arts labels. He also served on the SFEMS board for many years. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Join the Conversation:
"Keeping the Music Alive" Facebook Chats

Over the next month, join us for our "Keeping the Music Alive" series, featuring short, live interviews every several days with various community members about how SFEMS is making an impact during the pandemic. Subscribe to our Facebook page and you'll be notified when we head online—usually in the early afternoon!

Enjoy this conversation between Marketing Communications Manager Lorena Zapata and SFEMS President Joyce Johnson Hamilton!

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.

Learn How To Renew Your Membership Step-By-Step

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!
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!

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.

Early Music Corner:
Beethoven's Birthday Month

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
Read the latest New York Times article on Beethoven's "stormy, tender work" as we round out his 250th birthday anniversary this month. With recommendations from artists of all stripes, all you need is five minutes to fall in love with his music all over again!

Facebook Post of the Week

FB POTW 12/7
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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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