Early Music America Announces Annual Awards

16 May 2011

(SEATTLE, WA)—Early Music America, the national service organization for the field of early music, announces the winners of its 2011 awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments in early music.  These awards will be presented at the EMA Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the Boston Early Music Festival on June 18, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. in the Exeter Room of the Radisson Hotel, 200 Stuart St., Boston, MA.  The Awards Ceremony follows the launch of EMA’s new Young Performers Festival, which brings together some of North America’s most talented early music student performers for a week-long series of 15 concerts in Boston.

The Boston Early Music Festival, Kathleen Fay, Executive Director will receive the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music.
The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is universally recognized as a leader in the field of early music. Since its founding in 1980 by leading practitioners of historical performance in the United States and abroad, BEMF has promoted early music through a variety of diverse programs and activities, including an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and the biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition, recognized as “the world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). One of BEMF’s main goals is to unearth and present lesser-known Baroque operas performed by the world’s leading musicians armed with the latest information on period singing, orchestral performance, costuming, dance, and staging. BEMF operas reproduce the Baroque’s stunning palette of sound by bringing together today’s leading operatic superstars and a wealth of instrumental talent from across the globe to one stage for historic presentations, all zestfully led from the pit by the BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, and creatively reimagined for the stage by BEMF Stage Director in Residence Gilbert Blin. Recently, BEMF initiated a project to record some of its ground-breaking work in the field of Baroque opera; the first three recordings in this series have all been nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording, and two have also received Gramophone Award Nominations in the Baroque Vocal category. BEMF’s fourth CD recording on the German CPO label has just been released; the fifth is scheduled to be released in June of 2011. Some of the best musical moments at the biennial Festival occur during one of the dozen or more concerts presented around the clock, which often feature unique, once-in-a-lifetime collaborations. In 1989, BEMF established an annual concert series bringing early music’s leading soloists and ensembles to the Boston concert stage. In 2006 BEMF extended its performances to New York City’s Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum.
Kathleen Fay has served as Executive Director of the Boston Early Music Festival & Exhibition since 1989, and as General Manager since 1987.  Kathy is responsible for all administrative, development, financial, and artistic departments of the organization, as well as the management of biennial Festivals, the annual Concert Series in Boston and in New York City, the annual Chamber Opera Series, the Youth Education and Family Day Programs, and the Festival’s Baroque Opera Recording Project. Kathy is a founding Trustee of the Catalogue for Philanthropy and serves on the boards of the Cambridge Society for Early Music and Exsultemus. In November 2001, Ms. Fay was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture as a result of her significant contribution to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.  In June 2003 she received the distinguished Arion Award from the Cambridge Society of Early Music for her “outstanding contributions to musical culture.”  She is a widely respected impresario and promoter of early music in the Boston area and throughout the United States.  Ms. Fay holds graduate degrees in Piano Performance and Music Teaching from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

Wendy Gillespie will receive the Thomas Binkley Award for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college early music ensemble.
Wendy Gillespie has been a faculty member of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington IN since 1985.  There, she teaches early bowed strings, performance studies, and reading from early notation; coaches chamber music; and presents concerts of medieval and renaissance music with a large ensemble consisting of consorts of viols, recorders, lutes, sackbuts and voices.  In 2010-11 she instituted a series of Bach cantatas in Bloomington as a collaboration among students, faculty and local professional musicians. Gillespie has organized and taught at workshops and seminars in early music performance all over the United States and elsewhere, including the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, and New Zealand.  She is President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, a member of the Executive Board of the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University and a member of the EMA Higher Education Committee. A native New Yorker, Gillespie has performed medieval, renaissance, baroque and contemporary music with ensembles ranging from the English Concert to Ensemble Sequentia and has participated in more than 80 recordings for harmonia mundi USA, EMI, Virgin Classics, BIS, Channel Classics, Avie, and other labels.  As a member of the viol consorts Fretwork and Phantasm, she has toured the globe performing concerts and appearing on radio and television.  With her colleagues, she has shared three Gramophone awards, several Gramophone and Grammy nominations, and a French Grand Prix du Disque.

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, directors is the recipient of the Laurette Goldberg Award for lifetime achievement in early music outreach.
Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, is based in Philadelphia and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season.  From its very inception, Piffaro has been involved in educational outreach. Almost every concert includes a “show and tell” of the instruments (which are unfamiliar to many people), as well as commentary about the pieces being played.  Outside the concert hall, Piffaro has given many performances, workshops and residencies in schools, colleges, community centers, and retirement communities both in Philadelphia and across the U.S.  Children especially are fascinated by the sounds and sights of the shawms, sackbuts, dulcians, recorders (large and small), krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes and harps. Residencies have engaged students in Renaissance dances, performing Renaissance music on their modern instruments, playing their recorders and percussion instruments alongside Piffaro’s, even creating a “Renaissance faire”, complete with costumes, banners and food. Another aspect of Piffaro’s educational program is the bi-annual recorder competition for middle and high school students that has been held in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Piffaro and its members, both as a group and individually, teach at summer workshops and festivals throughout the country, in particular, at the Madison Early Music Festival in Madison WI.
Joan Kimball, co-director of Piffaro, gave full time to early music performance in 1980 after a number of years as an educator.  While devoted to the study and performance of historical winds and to her work with Piffaro, Joan still has a passion for education.  She teaches recorder and early winds to children and adults, is on the music faculty of The Philadelphia School, an elementary and middle school, where she has a full roster of private recorder students and recorder ensembles, and organizes Piffaro’s educational programs.  This past year she inaugurated a residency program at a Philadelphia public elementary school where she teaches recorder and percussion to third graders. Bob Wiemken, artistic co-director of Piffaro, began his musical life as a French hornist and pursued modern brass playing for some 18 years. Eventually, however, he became inexplicably enamored of the double-reed instruments and leapt at the chance to begin playing early reeds in the Collegium while a graduate student in Classics at the University of Pennsylvania. That began a long love affair with medieval through early Baroque double-reed instruments that has only crescendoed over the past 27 years. With Piffaro, he has performed worldwide, recorded extensively, built over 100 programs of Renaissance and early Baroque music and commissioned new works for early winds and chorus. He is an eager and well-appreciated teacher and lecturer in college and university settings, having directed the Early Music Ensembles at the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University for 20 years, bringing the world of early reeds to modern players. He also teaches regularly at festivals and workshops throughout the country.

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.

Maria Coldwell
(206) 720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT
info@earlymusic.org; www.earlymusic.org