Why early music?

Abbey Chapel EMH

I love the adventure of bringing dormant music back to life. It’s fascinating trying to play in a way that honors what we can learn about how may have originally been performed. Bringing forgotten songs to new audiences is extremely rewarding, especially with people who don’t already consider themselves early music fans.

At my first class in college Professor Robert Eisenstein told us about the opportunity to join the Five College Early music program. I didn’t know what exactly it entailed or what I would play, but on a whim I signed up. There was a spot for me in Medieval Ensemble, where I was handed a harp and a tambourine. Medieval ensemble was like no other musical experience I’d ever had.  During that semester I fell in love with early music and the completely different sonic universe it inhabits.

Later in college I took a semester of continuo with Miriam Whaples. This led to my good friend Lidia Chang asking me to start a baroque orchestra with her. We fumbled our way through the paperwork and started it as a registered student organization. After graduation, I got another call from Lidia to start a group with her. I packed up some hand drums and headed for Boston for late night rehearsals and a whirlwind of concerts. That weekend was the beginning of Ensemble Musica Humana. So far we’ve played music from the Spanish Renaissance, Irish Baroque, and German Medieval periods and it’s all been a blast.

Photo by Greg Saulmon