Weekly Newsletter 

 October 19, 2020 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week!

Seven hundred years ago, fearful young courtiers in the kingdom of France began passing a strange and seditious poem among themselves. Though the Roman de Fauvel later acquired the trappings of legitimacy—it was festooned with songs and paintings in a beautiful manuscript—it remained a potent reminder of how vice could easily subvert virtue, an unceasing cry of distress against chaos and disunity.

This week, New Mexico-based ensemble Severall Friends will join SFEMS for an (extremely timely) online concert presentation about Le Roman de Fauvel that will tease out the links between past and present. Ensemble director and early music legend Mary Springfels will start with a 20-minute introductory lecture, followed by an hour-long concert presentation and a live Q&A with ensemble members afterwards.

Join us on Saturday to see how the Wheel of Fortune will turn.


Derek Tam, Executive Director

THIS SATURDAY: Severall Friends presents
Le Roman de Fauvel on Oct. 24

Enjoy this deliguthful teaser!
Saturday, October 24 at 4:00 p.m. PT
High-definition Vimeo livestream with purchase.
Available on-demand through November 14.

How does a horse become the ruler of his master’s house? Delve into the strange and satirical world of Le Roman de Fauvel, a biting criticism of the intrigues of church and state in 14th-century France that resounds still today.

Join early music legend Mary Springfels and Severall Friends on a musical excursion into a poem that illuminates all-too-human foibles and vices.

Tracy Cowart, harp and voice; Shira Kammen, Medieval fiddle; Drew Minter, voice and harp; Mark Rimple, citole and gittern; Mary Springfels, citole and vielle; Spiff Wiegand, hurdy-gurdy and percussion
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NEW: Additional Fall Classes Start Nov. 6—Register Now!

Wanting more classes? Please join us for a second set of mini-series classes starting Friday, November 6!
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, November 14 at 3PM
Miyo Aoki – Mirth and Melancholy in Elizabethan England

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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LAST CHANCE: Watch Agave Baroque On Demand Through Oct. 24!

A high-definition Vimeo stream of our Oct. 3 concert presentation, "American Originals", is available with $15 purchase.
It will be available on-demand through October 24.
Incomparable countertenor Reginald L. Mobley joins Agave Baroque to celebrate Black and Latino composers from North and South America, centering on the United States with stops in Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Among the many treasures of this repertoire are an unexpected and sentimental side of Scott Joplin, a song by Black American guitar virtuoso Justin Holland, two works by the earliest known Cuban classical composer, and a set of songs by the extraordinary Florence B. Price, who seamlessly blended Romantic art song and spirituals into a sound all her own.

Recorded Saturday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m. PT

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

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

First-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-time grant applicants 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!

"Pressing Play in the Pause"—Join Us for Our 2020–21 Virtual Season

In these extraordinary times, the power of music to transcend the vicissitudes of fortune has become more vital than ever. Though our lives remain on hold, music must move forward.

Join us for our 44th season of extraordinary music-making! Press play in the pause with us as we share an ongoing series of unique online concerts, starting with three presentations this fall.

With your household 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.

Concerts will also be available on demand for a limited time after the initial livestream. Our first concert with Agave Baroque on October 3 is still available on demand (scroll below).

Our remaining presentations include:

October 24: Severall Friends presents Le Roman de Fauvel
November 21: Tabea Debus and Alon Sariel present Ohrwurm

Savor great music—period.

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PBO Cancels Live Performances

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale has cancelled all live performances as originally scheduled through April 2021, including off-season performances and the February Gala. 

They will continue to expand on a robust series of virtual offerings through 2020/VIRTUAL, and have news to share soon about the 2021/22 season.

SPONSORED: Les Délices Presents "Bewitched"

Les Délices' 2020-21 virtual season begins with Bewitched (streaming Oct. 22–Nov. 2).

Experience an immersive, high-quality digital concert featuring wild, passionate baroque music perfect for the Halloween season. Rising-star soprano Hannah De Priest gives voice to the sorceress Circe in a bone-chilling cantata by Colin de Blamont and wreaks vengeance in Clérambault's cantata Medée.

Subscriptions (from $80) and single tickets ($8–20) available now.

Early Music Corner: 5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Baroque Music 

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!

From the New York Times:

"In the past, we’ve asked some of our favorite artists to choose the five minutes or so they would play to make their friends fall in love with classical music, the piano, opera, the cello, Mozart, 21st-century composers and the violin.

Now we want to convince those curious friends to love the spirited, sublime music of the Baroque period, which lasted about 1600 to 1750. We hope you find lots here to discover and enjoy[!]"

Read more here!

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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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