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Press Release


Boston Early Music Festival Announces
2017–2018 Season

• The Season opens with a 6-city North American tour of the BEMF Chamber Ensemble, including concerts in New York City and Boston;
• Two concert performances in Boston of Almira, Handel’s first opera, led by BEMF’s own GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors, Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs;
• Ten programs in Boston and 3 programs in New York City;

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Cambridge, MA–The Boston Early Music Festival is pleased to announce that subscription packages and individual tickets are now on sale for its 2017–2018 Season, our 28th year of bringing the most acclaimed Early Music artists and ensembles to Boston in an annual series of concerts. The 2017–2018 Season will also include a North American tour by BEMF’s own Chamber Ensemble, and for the 10th consecutive year brings opera to Boston on Thanksgiving weekend at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.

BEMF On Tour: September–October, 2017

BEMF opens its 2017–2018 Season with a 6-city North American tour to celebrate the upcoming release of our latest recording featuring “Duets of Love and Passion” by Agostino Steffani. GRAMMY Award–winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs lead these enchanting chamber duets that were an essential inspiration in the musical development of the young Georg Friedrich Handel.

In addition to performances in Vancouver, BC, Victoria, BC, Seattle, WA, and Kansas City, MO, BEMF will open its own 2017–2018 Season with this program, on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:30pm, at Gilder Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, and Friday, October 6, 2017 at 8pm, at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston. The all-star Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble will be joined by a stunning cast of vocalists—sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Emőke Baráth, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Christian Immler—in rare performances of these truly gorgeous masterworks.

2017–2018 Season in Boston and New York City

The 2017–2018 Season continues on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 8pm, at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational as Le Poème Harmonique make their concert series début. Director Vincent Dumestre leads five instrumentalists and one singer in a spellbinding program exploring Spanish influences on 17th-century dance music in France.

BEMF Opera returns for its 10th consecutive Thanksgiving weekend with Handel’s Almira in Concert on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 8pm and Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 3pm, at NEC’s Jordan Hall. GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs lead an outstanding cast and the all-star instrumentalists of the BEMF Orchestra with Concertmaster Robert Mealy, for these special performances of Handel’s first opera. Originally presented at the June 2013 Festival, this masterpiece tells a story of intrigue and romance at the Court of Castile. Written when Handel was only 19 years old, Almira already illustrates the genius that would cement his legacy as one of history’s greatest composers. The stellar cast features soprano Dorothee Mields in the title role, along with sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Teresa Wakim, tenors Colin Balzer, Zachary Wilder, and Jan Kobow, and baritones Christian Immler and Jesse Blumberg.

One of BEMF audience’s most beloved ensembles, The Tallis Scholars and director Peter Phillips return for their 29th consecutive year on Friday, December 8, 2017 at 8pm, at St. Paul Church in Cambridge. One of Early Music’s truly essential ensembles, these extraordinary singers return for the holiday season with a program celebrating the prolific Renaissance composer Heinrich Isaac (ca. 1450–1517), with music by the great master alongside works by Josquin des Prez, John Browne, and Thomas Crecquillon.

The virtuoso instrumentalists of the Flanders Recorder Quartet—and guest artist soprano Cécile Kempenaers—return to the BEMF concert stage in New York City on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7:30pm, at Gilder Lehrman Hall at the Morgan Library & Museum, and in Boston on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 8pm, at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. Their program will feature instrumental music and songs inspired by the changing of the seasons from Renaissance Italy, Netherlands, and England.

In March, BEMF brings American chamber orchestra Apollo’s Fire back to Boston on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 8pm, at Emmanuel Church, Boston. Director Jeannette Sorrell leads an ensemble of 18 instrumentalists in a program inspired by J. S. Bach’s lively performances at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse in Leipzig, with rousing music by Vivaldi, Handel, Telemann, and Bach’s beloved Brandenburg Concertos No. 4 and 5.

The singers of Stile Antico have firmly established themselves as one of the world’s most vibrant and expressive vocal ensembles. These superb singers return to BEMF on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 8pm, at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, in an intimate program of Spanish Renaissance master Tomás Luis da Victoria’s intense settings of the Tenebrae Responsories.

The thrilling young harpsichordist Jean Rondeau has quickly emerged as one of Early Music’s “must-see” artists for his captivating and passionate performances. He makes his solo début with BEMF on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 7:30pm, at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York City, and on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 8pm, at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, in a recital of the Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.

Renowned cornetto virtuoso Bruce Dickey and exquisite soprano Hana Blažíková offer a “breathtaking” program of musical conversations between cornetto and voice on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 8pm, at First Church Congregational, Cambridge. A star-studded ensemble joins these exceptional performers in music by Scarlatti, Merula, Carissimi, and more.

Finally, the legendary Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI conclude the 2017-2018 Season with a fascinating journey through Celtic musical traditions on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 8pm at Emmanuel Church, Boston. For more than 50 years, Jordi Savall has crafted a legacy as one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation, in performances that marry meticulous research with enthusiastic and engaging musicianship.

Subscriptions and individual tickets for the Boston Concert Series 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. Tickets for the performances at The Morgan Library & Museum are on sale now at

The 2017–2018 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 20th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 9-16, 2019. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and Dance Director Melinda Sullivan.

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