Type of Organization
Performing Ensemble, Presenter
Early Music Missouri and its concert series, Early Music@First, were created in 2019 by lutenist/musicologist Jeffrey Noonan in an effort to increase the visibility of local and regional Early Music performers and ensembles. Early Music Missouri operates as a resource for musicians and Early Music fans across the central Midwest, presenting regular concerts on its series as well as offering presentations and performances for the wider community in association with other arts organizations. EMMo's concert series, Early Music@First, includes six concerts presented annually at First Congregational Church of St. Louis.
Initial concerts in the spring of 2019 featured a program of music for solo cello performed by Baroque cellist Stephanie Hunt, a concert of Lenten vocal music featuring soprano Samantha Arten and a program of French works for Baroque flute by the trio La petite brise. The 2019-2020 season was cut short in March 2020, but still offered five concerts including a Medieval holiday legend with period vocal and instrumental music, a program of 19th-century solo music for fortepiano and two concerts featuring 17th- and 18th-century string music.
EMMo weathered the Covid shutdown, producing one informal outdoor concert as well as a number of videos for its YouTube channel in 2020. The 2021-2022 Early Music@First concert season begins in October 2021 and includes six concerts ranging from 17th-century lute music to 18th-century sonatas for viola d'amore. Featured performers include Boston's voice/viol duo Lyracle, Chicago's Bach+Beethoven Experience, the duo Musicke's Cordes and some of the best of St. Louis's local Early Music performers.
Recent collaborations include outreach presentations at local universities and community colleges, a performance residency with Missouri's Scenic Regional Library system and a concert with St. Louis's new Burroak Baroque series. Since its inception, Early Music Missouri has paired closely with East Central Community College in Union, MO and in 2021-2022 EMMo will bring several of its concerts to the college's students and community in outstate Eastern Missouri.
Early Music Missouri is directed by Jeffrey Noonan, who has played early plucked instruments for forty years across the Midwest. Based in St. Louis, he has performed regionally with various ensembles including Shakespear’s Bande, Early Music St. Louis, Bourbon Baroque (Louisville), Madison Early Music Festival (Wisconsin), Ars Antigua (Chicago), and Musik Ekklesia (Indianapolis.) In addition, Jeff has directed Such Sweete Melodie, a quintet specializing in seventeenth-century vocal repertoire; performs across the country as one-half of the duo Musicke’s Cordes; and is a founding member of La petite brise, a trio featuring music for the Baroque flute. As accompanist and continuo player, Jeff performs a varied repertoire ranging from sixteenth-century chanson with solo voice to Handel’s Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony. A scholar of the early guitar, Jeff has produced two books and articles for Grove on the subject as well as a recent edition of eighteenth-century violin sonatas by Giovanni Bononcini. Jeff has received funding and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Newberry Library. In 2016, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission awarded him an Artist Fellowship in recognition of his work as a performer, teacher and scholar.
Jeff holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (A.B.), the Hartt School of Music (B.Mus.) and Washington University in St. Louis (M.Mus., Ph.D.) He taught as adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s College, Indiana/Purdue Universities in Fort Wayne, Andrews University and Washington University in St. Louis. Jeff served on the faculty of Southeast Missouri State University for sixteen years, teaching upper-level music literature and history courses and directing the classical guitar program. He retired from Southeast as a Professor of Music in 2015.