Personal Summary / Bio
SFEMS was founded in 1975, growing from an informal gathering of early music enthusiasts into the largest early music presenter and service organization in America. SFEMS is a community-based membership organization and the most successful society of its kind in the USA. Since its founding, SFEMS has been the focal institution in Northern California for the advancement of historically-informed performance of early music. It is unique in providing a full spectrum of programs to the general public, to amateur and professional musicians, and to children.
The Society produces at least eight major chamber concerts annually. Since 1990 the Society has produced a series of concerts as co-sponsor of the Berkeley Festival, a major biennial event organized in cooperation with Cal Performances and the University of California Department of Music. In all of its performance programs, SFEMS maintains a special commitment to locally-based performers and ensembles.
SFEMS also takes an active role in music education. It offers a nationally renowned series of summer workshops (first held in 1980) taught by artists in residence at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park and at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland to over 300 amateur and professional musicians. It has offered a series of popular evening classes and collegia in Berkeley on all aspects of early music. In recent years, it has added programs for children, including after-school classes in the public schools and a special summer workshop. Occasionally, the Society also arranges master classes and symposia given by visiting performers.