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Texas Early Music Project
2905 San Gabriel Suite 204 
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 377-6961

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2905 San Gabriel Suite 204
Austin, TX 78705

(512) 377-6961

Founded in 1987 by Daniel Johnson, the Texas Early Music Project is dedicated to preserving and advancing the art of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical music through performance, recordings, and educational outreach. 

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Explore more than 700 years of musical transformation

Saint Nick & the Reindeer Games

Danny Johnson

A shout out to for the reindeer humor!

A shout out to for the reindeer humor!

I am actually happy Meredith didn't ask me what my favorite reindeer games were. (See Meredith's TEMP Holiday Interview!) I've kept it a secret all my life. But since you're wondering now, I'll tell ya: Cupid & Casper skydiving from Santa's sled at 35,000 feet and playing havoc with Norad / UFO watchers all over the world! Donner, Dancer, and Sneezy playing sky frisbee with errant toy drones and making goofy faces at the cameras all the while! Rudolph and Snoopy sneaking into the movies on Christmas Day for a much deserved day off. 

Ok, that's all I got. Now everyone knows. But seriously, check out Meredith's interviews with Scott, Therese, and Jenny and check out the concert listing below! We hope to see you there!



An Early Christmas

8pm, Friday, December 11, 2015
First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave., Austin, TX

 8pm, Saturday, December 12, 2015
First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave., Austin, TX 

3pm, Sunday, December 13, 2015
First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX

Admission $30 general; $25 seniors (60+); $5 students (at the door only)
Tickets available in advance online or by cash, check, or credit card at the door.

For more information, call 512-377-6961 and leave a message, or email

It’s time for another Early Christmas! The TEMP Eurotour continues as we explore music and the intangible essence of Christmas from the cultural capitals of Europe from the 13th through 18th centuries. TEMP puts its unique stamp on joyful chants, carols, lullabies, motets, and ballads from Western Europe and the British Isles, where many of the musical traditions we hold dear at Christmastime originated, with innovative arrangements for solo voices, small chorus, harp, violin, flute, mandolin, viols, and lute.

The familiar theme of the Nativity from the shepherds’ perspective, including their wondrous and terrifying experience with the angelic host and their subsequent gathering around the manger to adore the Christ-Child, figures prominently in most early music Christmas repertoire. We will present several works with this focus, including our original arrangement combining elements of two Nativity pastorals from 1684 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier with soloists (Jenifer Thyssen & Meredith Ruduski) and choir with orchestra. Charpentier had a particular ease and love of this repertoire and the results are ravishingly beautiful. 

The theme of the Mother and Child is especially poignant, of course; among the Medieval pieces on the concert, one popular gem is Lullay, lullay: Als I lay on Yoolis night. Its transparent texture and gentle pacing makes the conversation between Mother Mary and the Christ-Child extremely touching, heightened by the polyphony of the choir of angels witnessing the event. Listen to this excerpt from the CD Noël: An Early Christmas:

The popular tune In dulci jubilo, which has origins in the 14th century, went through many variations and revisions in the next 300 years before it became the modern carol Good Christian men, rejoice. We will present a seamless suite with settings by the German composers Michael Praetorius, Hieronymous Praetorius, and Dieterich Buxtehude for 2, 3, 4, & 8 parts. Listen to this excerpt from the CD Swete was the Songe: An Early Music Christmas in Northern Europe & the British Isles:

Motets by Sweelinck and Victoria, and lively works from Spain and France round out our Eurotour before we turn our sights to the west: Our Christmas concerts are never complete without a little taste of Celtic and English influences! Our popular versions of the Christ-Child Lullaby (with its Scots Gaelic solo by Jenifer Thyssen and audience participation) and The Wexford Carol (Cayla Cardiff, soloist) and more are in the program this year, as well as other favorites from the Celtic traditions, including a few sung by the popular Irish Gaelic singer Abby Green. We are again proud to feature nationally acclaimed historical harpist Therese Honey along with featured soloists Jenifer Thyssen, Stephanie Prewitt, Meredith Ruduski, Jenny Houghton, Cayla Cardiff, David Lopez, Brett Barnes, and Daniel Johnson. Our instrumental soloists include Bruce Colson (violin), John Walters and Jane Leggiero (viols), Marcus McGuff (flute), Susan Richter (recorders), and Scott Horton (lutes). 

 Join Texas Early Music Project for a splendid and enriching evening of music.
Encompassing six hundred years of festive creativity and beauty, this music is
sure to delight your ears and warm your heart.

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On the road againnnn, from Compostela to College Stationnnnn

Danny Johnson


And I'm glad we aren't on the road *this* weekend! Really? The strongest storm in history in the Western Hemisphere? Yikes! I hope it doesn't live up to its description ... At any rate, even though we're still dealing with earworms from the Medieval Pilgrimage concert, we are preparing for our annual (since 2010) pilgrimage to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in College Station to present a shorter version of September's popular concertConvivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain. If you're in the vicinity and want to re-visit the concert or if you missed it the first time around, then check out the info below and come see us!  Or you could recommend it to your friends in College Station and environs.... News about the Christmas concert is coming up ... 


Convivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain

Sunday, November 8, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
906 George Bush Drive, College Station

Please join us for a concert that explores and celebrates the musical relationships among the three great cultures—Muslim, Jewish, and Christian—that co-existed peacefully on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Islamic Spain during these times was an extraordinarily tolerant culture in which learning was prized. In the library of the caliph of Cordoba were at least 40,000 books; most Western monasteries were fortunate to have 400, or even 40! Many works on mathematics, astronomy, physics, and medicine had been translated from Greek, Persian and Hindu sources into Arabic, and these books were, during this time, being translated from Arabic into Latin through the combined efforts of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars. Co-operation, Tolerance, Co-existence, Mutual Respect: These were the hallmarks of this extraordinary time. This year marks the fourteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, and since that time we have experienced the brutality of the Islamic State, the horrors of the civil war in Syria, and, in our own country, Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and more. The need for true Convivencia is greater than ever; these are qualities much needed in our own day.

This concert will feature Sephardic and Middle-Eastern songs and dances, along with 16th-century Spanish polyphony for voices and instruments, focusing on the intersecting issues of life among these three cultures: Love, dance, food and drink, dreams, secrets and prayers. Featured performers include santur and oud player Kamran Hooshmand (Iran), harpist Therese Honey (Houston), outstanding instrumentalists on psaltery, viols, Renaissance guitar, and other instruments of the period, and outstanding singers. The award-winning Texas Early Music Project is under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Daniel Johnson. The concert will be followed by a Reception in the Parish Hall.

This concert is supported in part by generous grants from the Gilbert and Thyra Plass Arts Foundation and the Joe and Florence Ham Charitable Trust.

Tickets $10/$5 students, at the Door

For more information, please contact Bonnie Harris-ReynoldsOrganist & Music Director, St. Thomas Episcopal Church

St. Thomas:
Phone: (979) 696-1726 or (979) 696-0452

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Earworm / ver de l'épi / Oorwurm / Ohrwurm

Danny Johnson

Still recovering from the exciting Medieval Pilgrimage concert (by which I mean finishing up my taxes, researching/working on music for the Christmas and Opera concerts and preparations for the upcoming Fall Texas Toot and the TEMP road trip to College Station on November 8 for a short version of September's Convivencia concert) and still having constant, but pleasant, earworms from last weekend's concert. Last night's earworm was the sinuous, interweaving melisma that Cayla and Erin sang at the end of each of the phrases of their duet. Today's is the refrain (again) from Los set goyts and the traded motifs from the duet that Nina and Jenny sang. I'm not complaining, mind you . . . I love it! I hope that you had similarly pleasing earworms!

Thanks to our special guests, our core and quasi-newbie singers and the band—and also to the audience who came to our new venue at St John's Episcopal and the audience who came to one of our "homes" (I think that pretty much covers everyone, right?) and especially our CD winner, Michael Praetorius. He's looking pretty good at almost 400. (You had to be there...)


Thanks to Robert Faires for his kind words (see the hard-copy version of the Austin Chronicle from the ides of October) and special thanks to the next Ohrwurm, whatever it might be...
And thanks for the oncoming Fall, which means that pumpkin *everything* can't be far behind!

We hope to see you at An Early Christmas, Dec. 11, 12, or 13!  Click on the image below for tickets or visit our Single Tickets page


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Pardon me, boy, is this the Santiago de Compostela Station?

Danny Johnson

Santiago de Compostela Train Station; photo by David Esteban

Santiago de Compostela Train Station; photo by David Esteban

Greetings, and many thanks to all who attended our emotion-filled season opener concert, Convivencia Re-Envisioned. The turn-out and the response were both very fulfilling and gratifying. And the response at our little mini-concert at UT was very positive, too; so, again, thanks to the departments who banded together in convivencia to present us.

And—already—we are putting the final touches on the next concert, Medieval Pilgrimage in Iberia, which is just around the bend. As that of our Convivencia concert, the music is still Iberian, but in many different Medieval styles. We, ourselves, will be on a sort of pilgrimage as our Saturday night concert is at a venue that’s new to us! St. John's Episcopal Church is intimate and has lovely acoustics! We think you’ll like it! And then we’re “home” again for the Sunday concert, at First Presbyterian Church. Whether in the new surroundings or in one of our home venues, we think you’ll enjoy this part of our EuroTour!

Learn more about our program below and enjoy the audio teasers!



Medieval Pilgrimage in Iberia

 with special guests Mary Springfels (vielle) and Peter Maund (percussion)

8pm, Saturday, October 10, 2015
St. John's Episcopal Church, 11201 Parkfield Drive

3pm, Sunday, October 11, 2015
First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive

Admission $30 general; $25 seniors (60+); $5 students (at the door only)
Tickets available  in advance online or by cash, check, or credit card at the door.

Take advantage of preferred seating
by purchasing Season Tickets through Oct. 11!

For more information, call (512) 377-6961.

A company of eleven female singers explores the music of pilgrimage in Medieval Spain. This music celebrates the richly transparent timbre of treble voices in unison or in polyphonic settings, making the most of sweet consonances and pungent dissonances. Special guests Mary Springfels (vielle) and Peter Maund (percussion) join the ensemble and the TEMP Medieval orchestra of vielles, harps, and gittern. Featured soloists include Jenifer Thyssen, Stephanie Prewitt, Cayla Cardiff, Nina Revering, Erin Calata, and more!

Map showing the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.

There was never a more popular time for religious pilgrimage than during the Middle Ages. In those times, people made long and dangerous trips, lasting months or years, in a search for spiritual meaning or fulfillment or as an act of penance. Several of the most important sites of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages were located in what is now northern Spain. 

Llibre Vermell: Stella splendens

The Llibre Vermell (it was discovered in a red binding, and therefore is called the Red Book) comes from the monastery at Montserrat in Catalonia. Some of the music is sophisticated, but some of it was intended to be sung by the pilgrims themselves and included chants, rounds, folk songs, circle dances, and polyphony. We will also perform music from the Cistercian convent in Burgos (Las Huelgas Codex), Las cantigas de Santa Maria from the royal court of Alfonso X, and selections from Codex Calixtinus, from the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

Enjoy these two Llibre Vermell audio teasers from our related CDs: Stella splendens and Sacred.

Whether you are focusing on the music with closed eyes or
silently clapping your hands and tapping your feet,
the long-lasting beauty of our Medieval Pilgrimage will delight you.

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September Songs

Danny Johnson

It might be a long, long time from May to September, but it really whizzed by due to the Texas Toot and the Amherst Early Music Festival and preparations for ... everything! But here we are! The first concert of the season in a few days and it's a doozy, with 2 videos created Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila and guest performers from the east coast and the west coast. And it's all about Coexistence. Convivencia. It's been one of the most popular of our concert themes, so every 5 years or so we re-visit old [musical] friends and add a few new.

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, 8:00pm (with pre-concert lecture at 7:00pm)
St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th Street

Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, 3:00pm (with pre-concert lecture at 2:00pm)
Temple Beth Shalom, 7300 Hart Lane

Photo by Cecily Johnson

As a little informative teaser for our Convivencia Re-Envisioned concert, our multi-talented artist and Operations Coordinator, Meredith Ruduski, has created an entertaining and educational video about two instruments that will be featured in our program: the santur and the oud. Enjoy the video below!

Photo by Cecily Johnson


And to take the edge off the end of August, we had a lovely fundraising party on August 30 at the Wally Workman Gallery on 6th, produced/directed/nurtured by Meredith Ruduski. It was wunderbarlichkeit, thanks to Mer, the Board, and the performers: Meredith, Jenifer, Cayla, Stephanie, Jenny, Jane, Scott, and Marshall! 

Photo by Cecily Johnson


Onward! Vigilance! Convivencia.



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Sumer is a-halfway done, so let's fiesta!

Danny Johnson

It's been the largest Amherst Early Music Festival ever, which means your faithful servant has been up to his neck in alligators. At least I was in cool CT instead of hot TX with the cobra. Many fantastico concerts and the opera, good lectures, good music for fun, and good friends. In other words, yo soy muy tired! Cayla Cardiff and her husband Steven Hendrickson have been here to share the fun, along with Austinites Frank Shirley and Lisa Solomon (who was a whiz in the special singing program!)

Back to Austin in a few days to finalize plans for the upcoming September concert and our season opener party, August 30. Venez, y'all!

Come and enjoy the art and ambiance of the intimate Wally Workman Art Gallery with tasty tapas from Whole Foods Market and Austin's legendary food trailer, Mmmpanadas, and wine provided by Total Wine & More while placing your bids on items in the silent auction. You'll also be serenaded by a small ensemble of TEMP's artists who will perform selections from the upcoming Postcards From The Past season! 

To purchase tickets, please visit our Fundraiser page.

And yes, I was supposed to write this little blog-ette a few weeks ago, when "Sumer Is Icumen In" would have been most opportune. Here's a link to this season-appropriate, 13th-century Middle English round. Enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing many of you on August 30!


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When April Showers Come In May . . .

Danny Johnson

Keep 'em Coming!

Photo: Alastair Muir

Photo: Alastair Muir

Just a quick update from us at TEMP Central, now that it’s my least favorite time of the year: the end of the concert season. It was fun to stay in Italy for the whole season—thanks for joining us—but the delights of France, England, Spain, and the Lowlands are begging for our attention next season.

We couldn’t have managed, of course, without our donors. You contributed to the La Pellegrina Indiegogo campaign, our general operating needs, Amplify Austin, and we simply couldn’t exist without you! Thanks so much! Donations are gratefully accepted on our website or by mail at:

Texas Early Music Project
2005 San Gabriel, Suite 204
Austin, TX 78705

We’re already making repertoire and artistic plans for next season’s Postcards from the Past: A TEMP Eurotour. You can see our itinerary on our 2015-2016 Season page. Season subscriptions AND single tickets are on sale now. Season subscriptions represent a 10% savings off regular prices and subscribers get to sit in the preferred seating areas. And new this year: Donors who contribute $500 or more will be able to join the season subscribers in the preferred seating area. We listened!

In the meantime, since I have no laurels upon which to rest, the Summer Toot workshop is coming right up, at breakneck speed, June 7-13, and then it will be time for the Amherst Early Music Festival.

Don’t’ forget about us in the meantime! We’ll see you in September for our multimedia season opener, Convivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain. Below are some audio teasers of what you can expect to hear. These pieces and more are on our Convivencia CD.

That about does it!

Thanks again! Happy travels, few travails.

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April seems shorter than usual…

Danny Johnson

Good thing taxes aren’t due until the 20th!

Thanks to all those who were able to attend Sunday’s benefit concert for Tom Zajac! If you missed the concert, but still want to make a donation, please email for info! And special thanks to all those who were able to participate. It was heartwarming and magical in many ways! I know Tom & Lilli will be most appreciative!

Onward to Monteverdi and his compagni! Wear your ciaccona shoes!

The Full Monteverdi, Part 2

Saturday, May 2, 2015, 8:00 pm
University Presbyterian Church, 2203 San Antonio Street

Sunday, May 3, 2015, 3:00 pm
First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive


We end our love song to Italy with music by Monteverdi and by composers who were influenced by him and some who might even have influenced the master a bit! The early to mid-17th century in Italy was an exciting time, musically, as the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque was at full speed and composers were experimenting with harmony, rhythms, new modes of expressiveness, and virtuosity.

There are very few composers whose careers have spanned two musical eras and even fewer who have excelled majestically in both eras. More than 50 years separated Claudio Monteverdi's first book of madrigals (1587) from his final large sacred and secular works in 1642. Those 50 years witnessed the end of the musical Renaissance and the experimentations and changes that led to the Baroque, and Monteverdi was among the leaders of the transition. We take a cue from "The Full Monty," the delightful movie from 1997, and “expose” Monteverdi's artistic brilliance in his second career, that of the Baroque composer.

From his first opera (Orfeo, 1607) to his last one (L'incoronazione di Poppea, 1642), he consistently sought to improve the human aspects of musical drama, whether dealing with small-scale chamber operas or relatively large productions for the opera houses of Venice. Monteverdi incorporated this sense of drama into non-theatrical works as well, and TEMP will perform some of these most dramatic yet dissimilar works, from the pastoral and exhilarating Tirsi e Clori to the elegantly tragic Lamento della Ninfa. Zesty rhythms abound in the form of the ciaccona, and works by Monteverdi (Zefiro torna) and Giovanni Felice Sances (Cantata à voce sola sopra la Ciaccona) will keep your toes tapping—silently, please! Both fiery passion and rhythmic excitement are abundant in Barbara Strozzi’s Lagrime mie, for solo soprano. There will also be a bit of traditional 17th-century music from Italy with the traditional Ligurian tune La bella noeva and examples of the dance-like canzonetta in the form of a street song and also as refined by Monteverdi’s Chiome d’oro. Francesco Turini’s work Il corisino for two violins and cello has an imminently hummable melody, yet it is one of the most intricately virtuosic chamber works from the 17th century.

Some of Austin’s favorite vocal soloists are featured among the fourteen singers, including Jenifer Thyssen, Gitanjali Mathur, Meredith Ruduski, Cayla Cardiff, Jenny Houghton, Stephanie Prewitt, Jeffrey Jones Ragona, David Lopez, Paul D’Arcy, Brett Barnes, Steve Olivares, Thann Scoggin, and guest mezzo-soprano Erin Calata, from Seattle.

Frequent guest violinists Anna Griffis (Boston) and Boel Gidholm (Rochester) will lead our small chamber orchestra of cellos (Jane Leggiero & John Walters), theorbo & Baroque guitar (Scott Horton), triple harp (Elaine Barber), and harpsichord (Billy Traylor), and will provide accompaniment as well as instrumental variations.

TEMP’s final concert of the season will exhibit the beauty, passion, comedy, innovation, invention, and serenity of one of the most exciting periods in western musical history.

The fullness of Monteverdi and his milieu await.

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