Milwaukee – On November 19, 1986, Thallis Hoyt Drake and a group of visionary friends met at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall for the purpose of founding an organization “dedicated to the enrichment and expansion of musical offerings in southeastern Wisconsin by presenting historically informed performances and educational experiences by recognized artists and ensembles that specialize in music before 1800.” Beginning next fall, that organization, Early Music Now, will launch a season in celebration of its 20th Anniversary. With the theme “It’s About Time!” – this 20th Anniversary season is planned to build on the successes of the previous 19 seasons:
– to present the best performances of Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque music from all over the world; – to trace the evolving rhythms of music over the past 10 centuries and more, through the tantalizing sounds of authentic instruments and glorious voices; – to experience the flow of history through the vitality of carefully researched and brilliantly executed performances; and – to bring this delightful and amazing music to a growing audience in Milwaukee and beyond.
Over the years, EMN has presented world-class artists from England, Brazil, Japan, China, Germany, Holland, Spain, and from the major early music centers of the United States – often contributing to the launching of the reputations of artists new on the scene, as well as participating in the continued presentation of established artists. The 06-07 season promises to combine those traditions, with inclusion of 4 ensembles that have international reputations and have become household words throughout the early music world, and 2 rising ensembles that will be new to Milwaukee audiences.
Early Music Now has enjoyed a stellar reputation with its artists and audiences from the very beginning. In recent years its presence has expanded, increasing to six concerts each season, and now with regular excursions into Madison, Northern Illinois, and other regional venues. The 0607 season offers six concerts in Milwaukee, with two also offered in Madison and Evanston (Illinois).
The Chicago-based Newberry Consort holds a special place in the hearts of Milwaukee’s early music lovers. They opened the inaugural season of EMN, and have had a continuing presence throughout the years. So it is fitting that the Consort open this 20th season, with a program entitled “Music for Sounds and Seasons,” on Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 7:30 in UWM’s Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.
The official 20th Anniversary celebration will take place at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Saturday, November 4th, 2006 at 7:30, close to EMN’s founding date of November 19 (1986). Separate choirs of Renaissance brass, winds, and strings will be joined by theorbo, harpsichord, and organ when Spiritus Collective tests the acoustics of the Cathedral with “Cori Spezzati e Virtuosi” – music of Gabrieli, Castello, and Picchi – as it would have been heard at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice in the early 17th century. This concert is presented in collaboration with The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and The Milwaukee Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. This event will also feature an exhibit and auction of art works created by 25 local artists depicting the theme “It’s About Time!” and close with a gala reception.
No other holiday program quite compares with “The Christmas Story,” presented by The Waverly Consort. This perennial favorite recounts the events of the first Christmas, with all the spirit and pageantry of medieval church dramas and mystery plays. Presented by EMN at three venues, patrons may choose from The Wisconsin Union Theater (Madison) on Friday, December 8 at 8:00, The Basilica of St. Josaphat (Milwaukee) on Saturday, December 9 at 7:30, or First United Methodist Church (Evanston) on Sunday, December 10 at 3:00. The Madison performance is presented in cooperation with the Wisconsin Union Theater and The Madison Early Music Festival.
Noted for their special balancing of period authenticity, musical precision, and pure fun, The Baltimore Consort will present “Cupid’s Cabinet: Amorous Chansons and Dances for Valentine’s Day” at All Saint’s Episcopal Cathedral (Milwaukee) on Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 5:00 pm.
Another rising star in the early music world, Tempesta di Mare, will present “Vivaldi da Camera” at the UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts (Milwaukee) on Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 5:00, preceded by EMN’s annual Silent Auction and Chocolate Reception beginning at 3:00. Recorder virtuosa Gwyn Roberts and lutenist Richard Stone will be joined by three additional members of The Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Players in a celebration of the Vivaldi’s remarkable vitality and variety.
This season of celebration will close with three performances of another audience favorite, the six male voices of Lionheart, in “El Siglo de Oro” (The Century of Gold), featuring music of 16th century Spain, with Morales’s “Missa Ave Maria” as its centerpiece. Choose from three opportunities: First United Methodist Church (Evanston) on Friday, April 13, 2007 at 7:30, the Chapel of St. Joseph Center (Milwaukee) on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 7:30, or Luther Memorial Church (Madison) on Sunday, April 15, 2007 at 3:00. The Madison concert is presented in collaboration with The Madison Early Music Festival.
Season subscriptions and individual ticket sales begin on Saturday, April 8th. Tickets will be mailed immediately after Labor Day. Early subscribers to a 6 concert or 5-concert season (ordered by May 31) have their choice of a one-year subscription to Early Music America or their choice of an artist CD at any concert during this season. Early subscribers to a 4-concert or 3-concert series will receive a coupon valid for one half price artist CD at any concert during this season.
Season subscribers are seated in the reserved section, with the flexibility to mix concerts in all three venues (Milwaukee, Madison, Evanston), and with the option of purchasing the full 6-concert series, or packages of 5, 4, or 3 concerts. The best price break comes with the full package, a discount of 17% off the per-ticket cost (effectively 6 concerts for the price of 5.) The season prices, with 1/2 price student subscriptions available in all categories, are: $175/$87.50 (6 concerts), $150/$75 (5 concerts), $125/$67.50 (4 concerts), or $100/$50 (3 concerts). General admission tickets for available seating at each concert are $28 for adults and $10 for students (minimum 6 years of age). Individual tickets may also be purchased in the reserved seating section at $35 for adults, $17.50 for students.
In addition to the options to order by mail, phone, or fax, EMN’s new website offers the opportunity to purchase individual tickets online. Because of the number of subscription package options, season subscriptions must be ordered by mail, fax, or phone.
To order, or for further information, check EMN’s website at www.earlymusicnow.org, or contact Early Music Now 414.225.3113 (Milwaukee), 1.877.54music (toll-free), email to email@example.com, or mail to 1630 East Royall Place, Milwaukee 53202-1810.