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Nina Stern, S’Cool Sounds Presented With 2019 Goldberg Award

Nina Stern (left) is presented with the 2019 Goldberg Award by EMA Executive Director Karin Brookes.

On Wednesday, June 12, Early Music America presented Nina Stern and S’Cool Sounds with the 2019 Laurette Goldberg Award for lifetime achievement in early music. Below is a copy of her acceptance speech.

Learn more about the Goldberg Award and EMA’s other Annual Awards

“Thank you, Karin; we are so honored to receive this award.

In 2002, when first we founded this program – at the time referred to as the Education Program for the New York Collegium, now called S’Cool Sounds – I had no idea how it would grow and develop, how many lives it would touch, and how deeply it would inspire me.

I am inspired by my board members – people like Peter Faber, a recently retired and prominent tax lawyer, or another board member, the retired CTO of a major bank, or another who is Executive Director of a foundation which seeks to empower a new generation of women leaders in Southeast Asia, or a young financial advisor, and more. All of these highly accomplished and very busy people care enough about the S’Cool Sounds mission to contribute a great deal of time, thought, and expertise to furthering that mission – to inspire, educate, and connect children and communities through music.

Without Peter, we never would have become an independent non-profit, we wouldn’t be working with hundreds of children and adults on three continents., we wouldn’t be connecting people through music. So, thank you Peter.
You inspire me!

We have an incredible team of teaching artists – supremely talented young professional performing musicians who are also dedicated to sharing their passion and their talents with people less fortunate than they.

I have learned so much from them, about teaching styles, learning styles, and performance styles, about jazz, about traditional Kenyan music, about traditional Arabic music, about improvisation. Young musicians are just incredibly poised, well-trained, and fearless these days!
They inspire me!

Most of all, though, I am inspired by our students whether it’s a second-grader in the Bronx fearlessly taking a solo in “C Jam Blues”or a 5th grader break dancing to a Cantiga de Santa Maria, or a group of kids from one of our schools in the Kibera slum of Nairobi having the courage to compete – in their tattered school uniforms – in a national music competition against schools from all over the country and winning – not once, not twice, but three times! Whether it’s formerly homeless tenants in one of our partner organization Breaking Ground’s residences, daring to perform for everyone, including invited guests, at a Thanksgiving dinner – showing off their new skills. (One of our recorder players from a residence in Brooklyn has now been spotted on several occasions at his local subway station busking. I understand that he is doing quite well!)
They all inspire me!

The recorder is, of course, a much beloved early music instrument. For me – a professional recorder player and early music specialist – to see the instrument used to open hearts and minds, to see it give the opportunity for creative expression and connect people and communities gives me great joy. Thank you EMA for recognizing what we do.”

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Pastime With Good Company

singers on stage

Members of the USC Collegium Workshop at during the 2019 Young Performers Festival (Photo credit: Gary Payne)


Penned by King Henry VII during a period of extravagance and exuberance, the song “Pastime with Good Company” sends the message that spending time with others is morally preferable to idleness. Performed as the final work of the USC Thornton Collegium Ensemble’s performance at this year’s Young Performers Festival and Emerging Artists Showcase, it could stand for the entire three-day period, as there was no time to be idle, and multiple opportunities to spend time in good company! Indeed, the informal theme of EMA’s 2019 festival, which ran May 22-24 in Bloomington, IN, turned out to be creating meaningful connections.

As with a series of matryoshka dolls, EMA’s festival was nested inside the Bloomington Early Music Festival (BLEMF), with each concert revealing the breadth and depth of early music study throughout North America. Now in its 26th year, BLEMF was founded by Stanley Ritchie, distinguished professor of music in baroque violin and early music at IU Jacobs School of Music’s Historical Performance Institute. He is still an ever-present figure at the festival.

Founded in 2010 by Lyle Nordstrom, who coincidentally was the 2019 recipient of the Howard Mayer Brown Award (more on that later), the YPF was created as an annual event by EMA for college-level early music ensembles to play with and for each other, and for the local community. For the first seven years, the festival alternated between the Boston and Berkeley early music festivals moving in 2018 to Bloomington, home to both BLEMF and IU’s Historical Performance Institute, headed by EMA board member Dana Marsh.

It seemed appropriate that EMA should present the festival in the state of Indiana, often dubbed the nation’s thoroughfare, and with the HPI one of North America’s largest early music programs. The smaller college town offered the opportunity to more easily create meaningful connections between the musicians, and the policy of free concert admission and year-round outreach to the community meant large and eager audiences. Building on the success of the first partnership between EMA, BLEMF, and the HPI last year, EMA’s 2019 festival was further embedded into Bloomington’s musical life, with the majority of events taking place in downtown venues, all within easy walking distance of each other.

Members of the Brandenburg Project during the 2019 Young Performers Festival. (Photo credit: Gary Payne)

Besides USC Thornton’s Collegium Ensemble’s eighth appearance at the Young Performers Festival in a program of music from the shores of England and France, the other four concerts in the YPF were presented by ensembles from Oberlin Conservatory, McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and The Brandenburg Project, from the Community Music School of Ann Arbor. The first four are well known in the field for their long-standing programs in historical performance, the latter a remarkable group of middle- and high-school aged students who made the transition to historical instruments and bows only a year ago. Each concert had its own highlights, unfolding over an hour and taking us to worlds distant in time and place. McGill presented “La Morte di Lucretia” by Monteclair and Peabody a series of portraits of far-off worlds. The Brandenburg Project gave a thrilling performance of three movements from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and one of the Oberlin musicians performed – brilliantly – Dario Castello’s Sonata Prima only five days after an appendectomy. A harp string snapped, loudly, during one concert, and audiences were uniformly large and enthusiastic.

Derek Tam during a career and entrepreneurship session at the Bloomington Early Music Festival. (Photo credit: Gary Payne)

All the participants came together on two mornings to work with EMA board members Emily Lau, Gary Payne, and Derek Tam, who led interactive conversations on relationship-building, photography, and personal finance and tax, respectively. David Wood, EMA’s special projects & marketing coordinator, talked about social media. The conversations included the musicians in EMA’s Emerging Artists Showcase, which was launched in Bloomington last year and designed as a stepping stone for musicians no longer enrolled in college programs. The first of the two concerts, intended for emerging musicians to explore how to present their own recitals in a compelling way, paired soloists Joyce Chen (harpsichord) and Vincent Lauzer (recorders).

Joyce Chen is originally from Taiwan and discovered harpsichord with Davitt Maroney at UC Berkeley while studying Mechanical Engineering. Now studying for a PhD at Princeton in historical musicology, she channeled her inner Italian (her own words) in a program of Frescobaldi, Rossi, Storace, and Poglietti. The impish Vincent Lauzer is from Montreal, where he studied with Matthias Maute at McGill. Already establishing a career in Canada, this was only his second appearance in the US.

Soprano Vania Chan and Rezonance Baroque Ensemble at the 2019 Emerging Artists Showcase. (Photo credit: Gary Payne)

The second Showcase was by Aperi Animam, a vocal ensemble who brought its Milwaukee-based modern approach to English Tudor choral music, and the Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, from Toronto, making its US debut with a passionate and dramatic series of arias from Handel operas sung by the soprano Vania Chan. (Kailey Richards, one of their violinists, received her undergraduate degree in baroque violin from IU, studying with Stanley Ritchie, and it was nice to see them reunite.)

All the musicians talked to the audience and every performance was livestreamed to thousands of others around the globe. Every concert brought a new earworm only replaced by the next concert!

Lyle Nordstrom receives the 2019 Howard Mayer Brown award for lifetime achievement. (left to right: David Wood, Raglind Binkley, Lyle Nordstrom, and Karin Brookes. Photo credit: Gary Payne)

EMA owes a great deal to the people who laid the groundwork for the Young Performers Festival and Emerging Artists Showcase. This is one of the reasons it makes annual awards to those who have created the landscape in which early music can flourish. The 2019 Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in early music was awarded to Lyle Nordstrom, who has spent his career nurturing hundreds of students who are now active performers, through his work at Oakland University (MI), Clayton College (GA), and the University of North Texas. In what was meant to be his retirement, Lyle and his wife, Pat, established Mountainside Baroque and Summer Music Academy in Cumberland, MD.

Eric Rice is presented with the Thomas Binkley Award by Raglind Binkely. (Photo credit: Gary Payne)

Eric Rice was awarded the 2019 Thomas Binkley Award for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college early music ensemble. Binkley was the first director of the HPI (then the Early Music Institute) and his widow, Raglind Binkley, presented both awards, keeping Binkley’s spirit alive to this day.

There were mishaps, of course – flight cancellations, parking tickets, unloading instruments in torrential rain – all handled with that inimitable festival mix of adrenaline and exhaustion. The day before the festival began, it was too cold to be outside. The day after it ended, it was too warm. Lightning storms, power outages, and torrential rain all added to the powerful need to be together, so there was no question that these few days really felt like a festival and not simply a string of concerts.

As the African proverb puts it so well, it takes a village to create the Young Performers Festival and Emerging Artists Showcase. EMA is grateful to Dana Marsh and IU’s Historical Performance Institute, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, directed by Alain Barker, to Leighann Daihl Ragusa for organizing homestays, and to Paulina Francisco and Adam Dillon, and the many, many more who made the festival possible. Special thanks to the board of directors of Early Music America, who enthusiastically supported the venture.

-Karin Brookes, Executive Director, Early Music America

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2019 Young Performers Festival: Oberlin Baroque

Oberlin Baroque (representing Oberlin College and Conservatory) will perform at 3:00pm EDT on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at Trinity Episcopal Church as part of Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival during the Bloomington Early Music Festival. The concert will also be streamed live via EMA’s Facebook page.

Created in 1986, Oberlin’s Historical Performance Program is one of the oldest in the country, but their commitment to the field goes back to the founding of the Baroque Performance Institute (BPI) which has taken place every summer since 1972. Oberlin’s concert program’s performances will be drawn from Oberlin’s Baroque Ensemble program–small, coached ensembles that perform once or twice per semester–and from the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, which has an intensive (6 hours/week) rehearsal schedule for a four-week period each semester. Some of the instrumentalists are majors in Oberlin’s Historical Performance program; others are taking secondary lessons on a historical instrument.

2019 Festival Program

Paris and Beyond

This program features music by some of Baroque Europe’s most cosmopolitan composers, including a Telemann Paris Quartet. This concert is an outgrowth of our Baroque Ensemble program. We hope this performance will show the breadth of repertoire our students work with on a regular basis.

  • Sonata Prima – Dario Castello (1602-1631)
  • Fantasie à 4 – William Byrd (1539/40-1623)
  • Passacaglia in d – Johann Caspar Kerll (1627-1693)
  • Sonata in g, QV 2:35 – Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
  • Sonata in e, BWV 1034 – J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
  • Suite for 3 viols in D major, Livre IV – Marin Marais (1656-1728)
  • Deuxième recreation de musique, op. 8 – Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
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Early Music America Announces Recipient of 2019 Tindemans Early Strings Scholarship

Alex Baker

Early Music America has announced the first recipient of the Margriet Tindemans Early Strings Scholarship selected by an independent panel of judges.

It is with great pleasure that we announce Alexander Baker as the recipient of the first Margriet Tindemans Early Strings Scholarship,” said executive director Karin Brookes. “This Scholarship, launched in 2018, honors the life and work of the late Margriet Tindemans (1951-2014), a master of early stringed instruments and a shining figure in the field of early music.” 

The Tindemans Scholarship provides support for graduate study outside North America that focuses on medieval, Renaissance, or Baroque stringed instruments and awards up to $25,000 to an outstanding and highly motivated young performer of an early bowed instrument who seeks to widen their experience for a year through more advanced study in Europe.

Alex Baker graduates in May from the University of Michigan with a MM in viola da gamba, and modern and baroque cello. “The Margriet Tindemans Early Strings Scholarship is giving me the incredible opportunity to broaden my education outside the U.S.,” Alex said, “and thanks to the Scholarship and Early Music America I can look forward to studying early music in the Netherlands. I’m grateful and honored to be affiliated with such an outstanding organization, and I look forward to returning to the U.S. to share my experiences and bridge early music practices here and abroad.”

Alex will attend the Royal Conservatory of the Hague to study viola da gamba with Professor Mieneke van der Velden and plans to conduct his research on the topic of ornamentation, with study of the existing primary sources to examine how ornamentation practices varied by region.

Alex has a B.M. in Cello Performance and a B.A. in German Language & Literature from Oberlin College & Conservatory, where he was introduced to the viola da gamba by Professor Catharina Meints, and with whom he has continued to study.


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