Early Music Program
Instruction is available on the following instruments:
- Strings: lute, baroque guitar, viola da gamba
- Keyboards: harpsichord, organ, fortepiano
- Wind & brass: recorder, baroque oboe, natural horn
Historical Plucked Instruments and Harpsichord
Masters and Doctoral degrees are available for historical plucked instruments (lute, theorbo, baroque guitar) and harpsichord. A strong program in early music, which includes Collegium Musicum and Baroque Chamber Music ensembles—as well as support courses such as baroque performance practice, continuo realization, lute literature and pedagogy, harpsichord performance and literature, and numerous theory and musicology courses—gives lute and harpsichord performance majors strong preparation for careers in early music performance.
In addition to major study the study of harpsichord and lute may be undertaken as a secondary discipline. Organists and pianists, as well as classical guitarists, have greatly benefited from such secondary study, significantly broadening both their musical horizons and career opportunities. The School’s fine variety of harpsichords permits an authentic approach to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century keyboard music and enhances the training of our students. Secondary instruction is also available on the School’s outstanding Viennese fortepiano; study on the pedal clavichord is incorporated in the curriculum for organ majors and is available to other keyboardists as well.
Early Music Ensembles
Students are encouraged to explore not only solo literature but also chamber music and continuo playing in Eastman’s early music ensembles.
The Collegium Musicum performs music from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, with repertoire ranging from solo cantatas to madrigals, oratorios, operas, concertos, and other orchestral works. Recent concerts have included performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Handel’s Concerti Grossi, op. 3, Purcell’s King Arthur and The Fairy Queen, Lully’s Psyché and Thésée, Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, Cavalli’s Ercole amante and La virtù de’ strali d’Amore, and Monteverdi’s Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi.
Baroque Chamber Music Class
Trio sonatas and smaller-scale works are performed by the Baroque Chamber Music class, a flexible group that divides into various ensembles according to the enrollment of instrumentalists and singers.
The Schola Cantorum performs the Office of Compline each Sunday night at Christ Church, 141 East Avenue. The Schola specializes in performing Gregorian chant, choral music from the Renaissance and baroque, and choral improvisation. This critically acclaimed ensemble has collaborated with Manfred Cordes and Weser-Renaissance Bremen,Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Players, and organists Edoardo Bellotti, Hans Davidsson, David Higgs, Olivier Latry, William Porter, Joris Verdin, and Harald Vogel. Schola recordings are available internationally on the Arsis and Loft labels. Rehearsals: Sundays 7:30 – 8:45 p.m., with Compline following at 9:00 – 9:30 p.m. Schola Cantorum may be taken as a one-credit course.
In addition to instruction from the internationally acclaimed full- and part-time faculty, master classes featuring visiting artists are presented regularly. Guests have included Andrew Manze, Gustav Leonhardt, Emma Kirkby, Roger Norrington, Bruce Dickey, Reinhard Goebel, Robert Mealy, Petra Müllejans, Jeanne Lamon, Ellen Hargis, Julianne Baird, Stephen Stubbs, Sigiswald and Wieland Kuijken, Anner Bylsma, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Charles Toet, and Niklas Eklund.
The Early Music Program owns a sizeable collection of period instruments available for student use. These instruments include: baroque violins, violas, and cellos; a set of viols; baroque oboes, bassoon, flutes and recorders, cornets and sackbuts, and natural horns; and a wide array of different harpsichords and organs, a pedal clavichord, and Viennese and English fortepianos.
Graduates of the program perform professionally with leading early music ensembles and musicians all over the world, including Tafelmusik, Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, John Eliot Gardiner, Ton Koopman, Reinhard Goebel, Christopher Hogwood, Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen, and others.