The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Co-artistic director Cheryl Bensman Rowe talks about early Eastern European music, which is the focus of this summer’s Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF). The festival starts this coming Saturday and runs through the next Saturday. Here is Part 1 of 2 parts. | July 6, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

The 16th annual Madison Early Music Festival opens this coming Saturday night and runs through the All-Festival Concert the following Saturday night. The topic is “Slavic Discoveries: Early Music from Eastern Europe.”

MEMF 2015 Slavic banner

Here is a link to the home website, where you can find complete information about events, concerts, venues and prices:

http://artsinstitute.wisc.edu/memf/

Cheryl Bensman Rowe, who co-directs the festival with her husband, UW-Madison baritone Paul Rowe, agreed to talk about the festival and its lineup of workshops, lectures and concerts. Her interview will run in two parts. Today is Part 1.

Cheryl Rowe color 2

How successful is this year’s festival compared to others in terms of enrollment, budgets, performers, etc.? How well established is MEMF now nationally or even internationally?

This year we are right on track with enrollment, budget and performers as we have been for the past several years. MEMF was “on the map” literally, as you will see from this article from the summer edition of the magazine Early Music America, a national publication that is read by all early music enthusiasts and professionals. We were honored to be included in this map of not-to-be-missed festivals.

Here is a sampling of Early Music Samplings this summer:
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/EMAM/21-2/index.php?startid=8

Our faculty and ensembles come from all over the world:

The Rose Ensemble (below) is from Minneapolis. www.roseensemble.org

East of the River is based in New York City, although the performers are originally from Israel, Turkey, and the United States. www.eastoftherivermusic.com

Piffaro is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: www.piffaro.org

Ensemble Peregrina is based in Basel, Switzerland, and their members are originally from Poland, Finland, Switzerland and the U.S.: www.peregrina.ch

rose ensemble performing

What is new and what is the same in terms of format, students, faculty members and performers?

Our biggest news is that we are now a part of The Arts Institute on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Our program director, Chelcy Bowles, retired from the Division of Continuing Studies at the UW, and she felt that MEMF would be a perfect fit for this relatively new initiative on campus.

Our new program director, Sarah Marty, has been a part of MEMF since she was a student, and has also been a participant in the MEMF workshops, and on our board. She knows a lot of the “behind the scenes “ information, which was really helpful when she took over for Chelcy.

The workshop format remains the same, but this year we have several new faculty members from some of the ensembles:

Daphna Mor, from East of the River (below), teaching recorder and Balkan music.

Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett and Kelly Landerkin from Ensemble Peregrina, teaching Polish medieval chant.

Michael Kuharski, http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Michael-Kuharski/9630833, a fantastic teacher of Balkan dance, will be leading the wonderful dance event with live music played by the local Balkan music ensemble Veseliyka.

https://veseliyka.wordpress.com/

The dance event will be on Wednesday, July 15, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

East of the River 2

Why was the topic of the Early Eastern European music chosen for the festival? What composers and works will be highlighted?

There has been a lot of new musical discoveries over the past ten years of repertoire from Eastern Europe. John W. Barker brought up the idea of Polish Music, and Tom Zajac, a faculty member and performer who has been to MEMF for at least 12 years, has done a lot of research in this area, and was interested in sharing it with MEMF. We are always looking for new and interesting topics to present, and the time seemed right to bring this music to Madison.

Please look at the concerts link for more information about each individual concert:

http://artsinstitute.wisc.edu/memf/concerts.htm

John-Barker

Tomorrow: Part 2 — What makes early Slavic music different? What composers are being rediscovered? And what will the All-Festival concert feature?  

 

Advertisements

4 Comments »


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,119 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 1,775,927 hits
%d bloggers like this: