Press Release—SFEMS Announces its 2021/22 Season


Media Contact: Heidi Waterman, [email protected]


SFEMS moves out of the pandemic with a full in-person and digital season.

Oct. 22–24: The Paris Quartet

Dec. 3–5: Aulos Ensemble with Julianne Baird

Jan. 14 (SPECIAL EVENT): Quicksilver Baroque

Jan. 29 (SPECIAL EVENT): Profeti della Quinta

Feb. 25–27: Agave Baroque

Apr. 8–10: Tabea Debus & Alon Sariel


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 31, 2021—One of the nation’s leading organizations for the advancement of historically informed performance, the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS) has announced its 45th concert season, showcasing some of the most outstanding artists in the field.

The season begins October 22 and runs through April 10, with four concert sets and two special events presented in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Building upon its robust digital presence last season, the organization will also present “Snapshots,” a concurrent virtual season featuring online-only content from this year’s artists.

Inaugurating the concert season is The Paris Quartet—comprised of Bay Area luminaries with reputations far beyond—as they demonstrate the blossoming of the trio into the quartet with the music of Couperin, Rameau, Bach and, of course, Telemann. These concerts will take place October 22–24.

The next concert set features valedictory performances from one of America’s preeminent and pioneer early music ensembles. On December 3–5, the Aulos Ensemble, with special guest soprano Julianne Baird, will celebrate a half-century of performing and recording with a festive holiday concert of favorites from the 16th through 18th centuries, including music by Rameau, Scarlatti, Couperin, and J.S. Bach.

In January, SFEMS will present two special events, each providing a fascinating historical perspective on two very different parts of the musical world. On January 14, Quicksilver Baroque brings to life the sumptuous and emotionally extravagant music of the (undeservedly) lesser-known composers of the Habsburg court in Vienna, otherwise known as the very first Viennese school.

Two weeks later on January 29, Profeti della Quinta, an a cappella men’s group based in Switzerland that has enchanted the early music world with their deep musicianship and pristine singing, will trace the evolution of the Italian madrigal from the highly expressive polyphony of Cipriano de Rore to the revolutionary madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi. Their works shaped the incoming Baroque era and laid the groundwork for the musical dramas and early opera that would soon follow. Quicksilver Baroque’s concert will take place in the gorgeous acoustic of the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, while Profeti della Quinta’s performance will occur in the glorious setting of San Francisco’s iconic Grace Cathedral.

In their February 25–27 concerts, Bay Area-based ensemble Agave Baroque will delve deeply into the collective genius of the Bach family, whose compositions encompassed everything from French-style orchestral suites to vivacious Italianate concertos and hearty Germanic music. Agave’s concerts will demonstrate the versatility and creative stylings of many, many members of the Bach family—which coincidentally included many, many members by the name of Johann.

Ending the season on a more playful note, SFEMS will welcome back recorder sensation Tabea Debus and lutenist Alon Sariel on April 8–10 as they answer the question: What, exactly, makes an earworm an earworm? Debus and Sariel explore the history and mystery of the earworm through some of the most memorable (whether we like it or not) music of the 14th through the 18th centuries.

Continuing to embrace its new virtual community, SFEMS will also present, for the first time, a concurrent digital season, “Snapshots,” that aims to provide a unique perspective on its in-person events. “Snapshots” will feature interviews, bonus tracks, and other exclusive insights into this season’s artists and their music.

Tickets for SFEMS’ 2021–22 season are $20–$55, with discounts for seniors, students, SFEMS members, and season subscribers. For the two special events (Quicksilver Baroque and Profeti della Quinta), ticket prices are $20–$65. The “Snapshots” season package will cost $60 general and $45 for members. Detailed information about concert times and venues follows below.



Founded in 1975, SFEMS is one of the nation’s leading organizations for the advancement of historically informed performance of early music. Through its concert series, publications, outreach activities, affiliate support and educational programs SFEMS encourages the development of amateurs, supports professionals, and increases public involvement and participation in early music. SFEMS is the presenter of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music.

Among the hundreds of ensembles and solo artists SFEMS has supported over four-plus decades are many whose national or regional debuts occurred under its auspices: Anonymous 4, Benjamin Bagby, Frans Brüggen, Concerto Palatino, Fretwork, Laurette Goldberg, Hilliard Ensemble, John Holloway, Emma Kirkby & Anthony Rooley, Wieland Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, PAN, Joshua Rifkin, Jordi Savall, Max van Egmond and Vox Luminis, to name a few.



The Paris Quartet

Janet See, flute; Lisa Weiss, violin; Peter Hallifax, viola da gamba; Katherine Heater, harpsichord

The Great Trios and Beyond

Friday, October 22 | PALO ALTO | 8 PM @ First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

Saturday, October 23 | BERKELEY | 7:30 PM @ St. John’s Presbyterian Church 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley

Sunday, October 24 | SAN FRANCISCO | 4 PM @ St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street


Aulos Ensemble

Christopher Krueger, flauto traverso; Marc Schachman, baroque oboe; Linda Quan, baroque violin; Myron Lutzke, baroque cello; Arthur Haas, harpsichord; Julianne Baird, soprano

PROGRAM: In Dulci Jubilo

Friday, December 3 | PALO ALTO | 8 PM @ First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

Saturday, December 4 | BERKELEY | 7:30 PM @ St. John’s Presbyterian Church 2727 College Avenue

Sunday, December 5 | SAN FRANCISCO | 4 PM @ First Unitarian Universalist Society 1187 Franklin Street


Quicksilver Baroque

Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski, violins and directors; Dominic Teresi, dulcian; David Morris, viola da gamba; Greg Ingles, sackbut; Charles Weaver, guitar and lute; Avi Stein, harpsichord and organ

The (Very) First Viennese School

Friday, January 14 | BERKELEY
8 PM @ First Congregational Church of Berkeley 2345 Channing Way


Profeti della Quinta

Doron Schleifer and Roman Melish, countertenors; Lior Leibovici and Jacob Lawrence, tenors; Elam Rotem, bass, harpsichord & musical direction; Orí Harmelin, theorbo

The Story of the Italian Madrigal

Saturday, January 29 | SAN FRANCISCO | 7:30 PM @ Grace Cathedral
1100 California Street


Agave Baroque

Aaron Westman and Anna Washburn, violins; Kati Kyme, viola; William Skeen, cello; Kevin Cooper, theorbo/baroque guitar; Henry Lebedinsky, harpsichord.

Bach: All in the Family

Friday, February 25 | PALO ALTO | 8 PM @ First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln,

Saturday, February 26 | BERKELEY | 7:30 @ St. John’s Presbyterian Church 2727 College Avenue

Sunday, February 27 | SAN FRANCISCO | 4 PM @ St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street

Tabea Debus & Alon Sariel

Tabea Debus, recorder; Alon Sariel, lute

Ode to an Earworm

Friday, April 8 | PALO ALTO | 8 PM @ First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street at Lincoln

Saturday, April 9 | BERKELEY | 7:30 PM @ St. John’s Presbyterian Church

2727 College Avenue

Sunday, April 10 | SAN FRANCISCO | 4 PM @ St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 1111 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco



Individual tickets: $20—$65
Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 510-528-1725. The box office may also be reached by email at [email protected].
For more concert information and downloadable photos click here.

SFEMS is committed to the safety of its performers, staff, and audiences. Our COVID protocols can be found here.

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