Viols to Virginia, Music in Colonial America

The only known extant works for viola da gamba in British Colonial America are found in the James River Music Book, a manuscript that has resided in Virginia since the 1730s and contains 15 works for solo viola da gamba, among other musical items. The earliest layer of the JRMB holds music by Lully, Purcell, and Handel, nearly doubling the page count of surviving instrumental music from the period and contributing repertoire for viola da gamba, organ, harpsichord, violin, and voice to the music now known to have been played in colonial Virginia. This article was first published in the May 2020 issue of EMAg.

Nurturing a Love for Early Music

Amherst Early Music and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute have long embraced musicians ranging from enthusiasts to professionals. These two programs, similar in many regards, serve a range of abilities and interests, and both of them got their start a half a century ago.

Rock & Reel: Monticello’s Black Fiddlers

Sally Hemings’ three sons with Thomas Jefferson, and many in her extended family, were accomplished musicians. The pieces they played are ripe for modern performances on historical instruments.

Scroll to Top