Boston Early Music Festival Youth Ensemble

BEMF Youth Ensemble

BEMF Youth Ensemble

Welcome to the Boston Early Music Festival Youth Ensemble!

The BEMF Youth Ensemble offers a unique opportunity for students interested in music of the past to learn early music performance techniques used in repertoire composed before 1800.

With access to Baroque-model bows and period instruments, participating students will learn how to approach authentic representation of the sound-world of the late Renaissance and the Baroque by applying the stylistic articulations, variety of tonal qualities, and conventions of musical affect and expression of those periods. In addition to studying the standard European repertoire, the program will explore early folk music of diverse cultures and music by lesser-known composers for a cross-cultural experience of the development of music over the centuries, including the influence on popular music of today.

The fun and stimulating learning environment includes hour-long sessions scheduled throughout the 2024/25 school year, consisting of workshops, masterclasses, and rehearsals, and culminates in a performance in June in Boston’s renowned Jordan Hall during the 2025 Boston Early Music Festival. The concert will be presented in collaboration with the BEMF Beyond Borders* program, which features young international music students.

The BEMF Youth Ensemble is open to student string and wind players from Greater Boston in grades 3–12, is free of charge, and requires no audition. For more information, please contact BEMFYE Director Julia McKenzie at

* BEMF Beyond Borders, under the direction of Nina Stern, is a music program that works with groups of students from several countries. Learn more »

About the Director of the BEMF Youth Ensemble

Violinist and music educator Julia McKenzie performs on historical and modern violins in a wide range of musical styles. She specializes in period performance with Boston Baroque, the Handel and Haydn Society, Les Bostonades, and Rowe’s Lane Quartet, and has appeared with The Boston Camerata, Newton Baroque, Rumbarroco, and on the King’s Chapel Concert Series, in addition to numerous international music festivals, including Tage Alter Musik in Regensberg, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Indianapolis Early Music Festival. Other musical ventures include recitals surveying the history of the violin, dabbling in jazz, blues, and rock with area bands, and music arranging. Committed to bringing music to underserved audiences, she is a member of Shelter Music Boston and Eudaimonia: A Purposeful Period Band. Also a dedicated teacher, Julia presents historical violin demonstrations, workshops, and masterclasses, and is on the faculty of the All Newton Music School, Hamilton-Garrett Music & Arts, and the Prep School of her alma mater, the New England Conservatory.