Weekly Newsletter 

 February 8, 2021 — The Bay Area Early Music Digest 
This week in Early Music: 

A Note From Us

Get an inside look at SFEMS each week! This week, hear from SFEMS Administrator Stacey Helley.
We’re six weeks into 2021 and things are humming along. Things? Well, we have Tessarae Baroque streaming a concert next month; the spring virtual sessions are humming along; and the summer workshop extravaganza is taking shape. Creative energies are percolating around our panoply of offerings for May, June, and July.
Last week, Derek noted how our field “has been woefully (maybe even willfully) ill-equipped to adapt to technology.” Well, ten months of lockdown has shown us that if we can learn an ancient instrument, we can train our gray matter to adapt to the technological obstacles in our path, and we can make the most of the tech we operate.  We’re going to continue taking baby steps, adapting, creating, and keeping our sense of humor. The summer workshop extravaganza will be testament to that. I’m looking forward to it!


Stacey Helley, Administrator

Tesserae Baroque Kicks Off SFEMS 2021 Concert Lineup

Tesserae Baroque | Mar 13 at 4:00PM PST
La Selva Selvaggia:
From Diminution to the Stylus Phantasticus

The stylus phantasticus (the fantastic style) was a 17th-century name given to the instrumental music of the early Italian Baroque, deemed to be wild, bizarre, improvisatory—and, of course, new.

At the same time, this “new” style was largely grounded in older practice: the improvisation of diminutions, or florid Renaissance ornamentation. This program by Los Angeles-based Tesserae Baroque (Ian Pritchard, music director; Alexandra Opsahl, executive director) explores the fertile ground in which these seeds of improvisation grew into the sonata and toccata.

Enjoy music by Palestrina, Domenico Ferrabosco, Fontana, de Rore, Castello and others!


February Classes Continue with Lai de la Fontaine and Shira's Fourth Session!

Our slate of exciting classes continues this Saturday with Mary Springfel's Chasing the Good Lai – Machaut's Lai de la fontaine, and Shira Kammen's fourth of five classes as part of her mini-series!

Our winter and spring classes will be offered through March 27th, with lectures, demonstrations and play-along sessions.

Listen, practice, dance, ask questions, and interact directly with our faculty members—there's something for everyone!

Enroll at

Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund—Tenth Round Now Open

Relief fund grant recipients may apply for a tenth grant one month after the date they turned in their ninth grant applications. If you have continuing need, please resubmit your application. However, there is no need to submit documentation of recently lost work, given the paucity of gigs.

First-time grant applicants, as well as repeat applicants who have received fewer than eight 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 $60,000 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.

UPDATED January 12, 2021: Because of your generosity, SFEMS is more than equipped to continue providing grants for the foreseeable future! We are temporarily suspending the ability to donate to the relief fund, but hope you will considering support SFEMS’s programming.

Need a Tax Letter from SFEMS?

If you need a duplicate copy of your donation acknowledgment for your 2020 tax return, please contact SFEMS Administrator, Stacey Helley, at

You should have received both an email immediately after making your donation fro
m "", and a mailed letter the following month.

Learn How to Renew Your SFEMS 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!

Early Music Corner: George Bridgetower (1779–1860)

Explore a different facet of the early music world each week!
A celebrated English violinist, George Bridgetower was born in Poland to a German mother and a West Indian father. A dashing virtuoso, Bridgetower inspired Beethoven to compose his ninth violin sonata. Learn more about the unfortunate story behind the "Bridgetower" sonata becoming the "Kreutzer" sonata. Read more!

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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 Tuesday before the Monday publication.
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