Founded in 1982 by a group of early music devotees, the New London-based Connecticut Early Music Society presents an annual festival of between six and nine concerts each June. The term “early music” refers both to a repertory (European music written before about 1800, encompassing medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical music) and to an approach to performance (“historically-informed performance,” including the use of period instruments). Performers and scholars of early music seek to discover and present music from times past and to explore a repertory of music that is otherwise little known.
Past Festivals have included, among myriad others, performances of Mozart's Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio); Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, The Fairy Queen, and The Tempest (the latter with contributions from several other Baroque composers); Haydn's "Lord Nelson" Mass; Handel's Radamisto and Water Music Suite No. 1; Rameau's motet In convertendo; Gasparini's L'oraculo del foto, Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610; Heinrich Biber’s Mystery (or Rosary) Sonatas; Bach's B Minor Mass, St. John Passion, Brandenburg concertos, Suites for Solo Cello and numerous cantatas; Vivaldi's Four Seasons; Telemann's Burlesque de Don Quixote; and Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony and E minor violin concerto.
Some of the exceptionally talented artists who've graced our stages in past Festival seasons appear below.
CEMF receives regular support from the Connecticut Office of Culture and Tourism, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and a host of foundations, corporations, and individual donors. The Connecticut Early Music Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.