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.
In February, William Christie came to New York as part of his annual residency with the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance program. He noticed a sea change in attitude on the American scene toward the study of historically informed practice.
Celebrating International Women's Day: The careers of Viennese composer Marianna Martines and Roman composer Maria Rosa Coccia mirrored one another in key respects. But the differences are fascinating, and revealing: While one was born into privilege and carefully cultivated her public image, the other seemed to suffer from fewer social connections and a more bold approach to her public persona.
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.
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.
James Nicolson, the 2013 recipient of EMA’s Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music, was interviewed in March 2021 by Leslie Kwan.
“We must be anti-racist in early music because early music is worth it.”
In this and coming issues, EMAg will feature makers of early-music instruments, celebrating artisans who design and craft wind, string, keyboard, and percussion instruments based on historical models. Some of these makers are players themselves, and all interact closely with those who collect, play, and love their instruments.