EMA Announces Medieval/Renaissance Peformance Competition

3 Feb 2009

(SEATTLE, WA) Early Music America, with the generous support of a private donor, will sponsor the third EMA Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition in 2009.  The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize (the Unicorn Prize) and be guaranteed 3 concert performances sponsored by EMA and concert presenters in Pittsburgh (Renaissance & Baroque Society), Milwaukee (Early Music Now), and Seattle (Early Music Guild). The purpose of this competition is to encourage the development of emerging artists in the performance of medieval and Renaissance music.


  • Applicants must be ensembles (minimum 2 performers) using voice(s) and/or period instrument(s).
  • Repertoire is limited to medieval and Renaissance periods, roughly 800-1550 A.D., performed on period instruments and in a style which is historically informed.
  • Applicants must be members (individual or organizational) of EMA.
  • Applicants must be residents of USA or Canada.
  • Applicants must meet the definition of  “emerging artists”—ensembles which have not performed together for more than 5 years and where all of the performers are age 39 or younger, as of the date of application.
  • Previous winners are not eligible to compete.

Timetable and Application Process
Applications will be due by April 30, 2009.  Applicants should submit to EMA 3 copies of an unedited audition recording no longer than 30 minutes in length, on unlabeled CDs; 4 paper copies of the program of music recorded, with no artist or group names included; 4 paper copies of the artists’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, short bios of the performers, and if an ensemble, a short history of the group.  Finalists will be selected by June 30, 2009.  The finalists will receive hour-long coaching sessions from a distinguished early music artist and give live 20 to 30-minute performances in concert in NYC in October 2009.  (Travel subsidies, $200/person up to a maximum $1000 per finalist ensemble, will be available upon application.)  A winner will be selected immediately after the concert.

An anonymous panel of 3 judges, selected by EMA, will choose the finalists, based on performance quality of their recordings.  A panel of 5 judges, selected by EMA, will judge the final competition in NY and select the winner.

The winner will receive the Unicorn Prize and the opportunity to present concerts on the 2010-11 or 2011-12 series of the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh, Early Music Now of Milwaukee, and the Early Music Guild of Seattle.  A cash prize of $2,000 will be awarded upon winning the competition.  EMA will offer a $1,000 fee subsidy to each of the 3 participating presenters featuring the winner in their concert series.  (The exact amount of the fee for each performance must be negotiated between the winning ensemble and each of the presenters, since travel and lodging costs may differ substantially among the venues.) Additionally, EMA will include a short feature article about the winner in a subsequent issue of Early Music America magazine.  The winner will also be featured on the early music radio program, Harmonia, as scheduled by the host, Angela Mariani.

NEW this year:  There will also be a $1,000 Audience Prize awarded immediately after the finals.  Members of the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite ensemble at the end of the competition.

All materials should be sent to:
EMA Medieval/Renaissance Performance Competition
2366 Eastlake Ave. E. #429
Seattle, WA 98102

Contact:  Maria Coldwell
206-720-6270; fax 206-720-6290

About Early Music America

Early Music America serves and strengthens the early music community in North America and raises public awareness of early music. EMA was founded in 1985 and provides its 3,000 members with publications, advocacy, and technical support. EMA publishes the quarterly magazine Early Music America. “Early music” includes western music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods, performed on period instruments in historically-informed styles. For more information, contact Early Music America at 206-720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT, or visit our web site at www.earlymusic.org