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Press Release


Subscriptions and Individual Tickets are now on sale for the Boston Early Music Festival’s 2016–2017 Season in Boston

(Download as a PDF)

Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival’s 2016–2017 Season—our 27th year of bringing the world of Early Music to Boston—will feature 10 programs, including the ninth consecutive year of the GRAMMY-Award winning BEMF Chamber Opera Series on Thanksgiving weekend. Individual tickets and subscription packages are now on sale through the Boston Early Music Festival Box Office at 617-661-1812 or online at Discounted subscription packages start as low as $54 for three programs.

“This is something special.” –The New York Times

For more than 30 years, viol consort Fretwork has delighted audiences through their concert tours and celebrated recordings. They return to BEMF’s annual concert series in Boston for the first time in 12 years, alongside legendary soprano Suzie LeBlanc, on Friday, October 7, 2016 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. Their program explores pristinely gorgeous music for voice and viol consort from English masters Byrd, Gibbons, Dowland, and Purcell.

Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout has emerged as one of Early Music’s new generation of superstars with a well-earned reputation for performances sparkling with virtuosity, charm, and imagination. A particular favorite of Boston audiences for his past collaborations with the Boston Early Music Festival, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Boston Baroque, he presents a solo recital of music by Haydn and Beethoven on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational.

November brings a truly unique collaboration between one of the world’s most legendary figures in Early Music, and the burgeoning Early Music stars of tomorrow. Founder and conductor of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman joins with singers and instrumentalists from Juilliard415 and The Royal Conservatoire of the Hague—making their BEMF Concert Series début—in a special performance of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 8pm at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square, Cambridge.

BEMF’s own GRAMMY Award-winning Chamber Opera Series returns with an all-new production entitled VERSAILLES: Portrait of a Royal Domain, featuring two chamber operas by Charpentier and Lalande exalting the splendor and majesty of the palace of Versailles, as well as excerpts from Lully’s Atys. Don’t miss this “popular tradition among local early music fans” (The Boston Globe) on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 8pm and Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, along with renowned Stage Director Gilbert Blin, lead a spectacular new production of these intimate masterworks with a stellar cast of BEMF favorites, including GRAMMY Award-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan, soprano Mireille Asselin, tenor Jason McStoots, and baritone Jesse Blumberg, among others. Additional members of the directorial team for the production include: Robert Mealy, Concertmaster of the BEMF Chamber Ensemble; Anna Watkins, Costume Designer; Carlos Fittante, Choreographer and lead dancer; and Melinda Sullivan, Director of the BEMF Dance Company.

With more than 2,000 concert performances around the globe, director Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars continue to be one of Early Music’s most essential ensembles. A fixture of the BEMF concert stage for 28 consecutive years, they return this holiday season on Friday, December 9, 2016 at 8pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, with a festive program of Renaissance masterworks including Josquin’s Christmas motet Praeter rerum seriem, Taverner’s elaborate O splendor gloriae, and more from de Rore, Victoria, de Sermisy, and Renaissance Mexican master Hernando Franco.

Following their 2014 BEMF début in Boston and New York City, the London Haydn Quartet were hailed by The New York Times for their “exquisitely rendered interpretations” and “deeply committed music making”. They return with their frequent collaborator, the world-renowned Baroque clarinet virtuoso Eric Hoeprich, to New York City on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 7:30pm at Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum, and to Boston on Friday, January 13, 2017 at 8pm at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. Their program will feature gorgeous string quartets by Haydn and Beethoven, alongside Weber’s dazzling Clarinet Quintet.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 4pm at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Jordi Savall brings his world-famous ensemble Hespèrion XXI back to the BEMF concert stage. One of the giants of Early Music, Savall directs a consort of seven virtuosic instrumentalists in a rousing program exploring the musical culture of Europe at the dawn of the Baroque.

Renaissance vocal ensemble Stile Antico is back-by-popular-demand on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 8pm at St. Paul Church in Cambridge. These young singers have established themselves as among the most original and exciting voices in Early Music, and present an enticing program of some of their absolute favorite masterworks by Gibbons, Byrd, Tallis, and more. You won’t want to miss this varied journey through some of the most outstanding music of the Renaissance.

Founded in East Berlin in 1982, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin has reached the pinnacle of Early Music with countless awards and accolades for their concerts and recordings. They return to BEMF on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall with “Of Frogs and Men”, a delightful program showcasing attempts to depict nature through music. Enjoy the passion and humor of brilliant concertos by Vivaldi, Geminiani, Telemann, and more.

In the season finale, Vox Luminis will make their BEMF Concert Series début on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 8pm at St. Paul Church, Cambridge. The members of this Gramophone Award-winning ensemble first met while studying at the Royal Conservatoire at the Hague, and since their founding in 2004, have been embraced the world over for passionate renditions of late-Renaissance and Baroque vocal music. Director Lionel Meunier leads ten singers and continuo players in a program inspired by the year 1685, when two extraordinary composers—J.S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti—were born.

The 2016–2017 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, and The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation.

Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and four GRAMMY Award-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 19th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 11–18, 2017, and will feature fully staged performances of André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, and Orchestra Director Robert Mealy.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email