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

For ticket and concert venue inquiries, email the Box Office

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2905 San Gabriel Suite 204
Austin, TX 78705
USA

(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

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.
-
Danny

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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 artistic_director@early-music.org 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!
–Danny

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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Early Music Pop-Up for a Cause, April 12!

Danny Johnson

Benefit Concert in Support of Tom Zajac

(Frequent Guest Artist with Texas Early Music Project and the Texas Toot)

When: Sunday, April 12 at 3:30pm
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX
Tickets will be available at the door only: Suggested donation of $20, payable with cash or check (made out to Tom Zajac); we cannot accept credit cards for this concert.

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Many of you know Tom Zajac (recorder, percussion, bagpipe, sackbut) from his frequent performances with Texas Early Music Project and from his teaching and performing at the Texas Toot. Help us help someone who has long been a friend of Early Music in Texas while he recovers from medical procedures: He is making good progress, but we can help the process go much more speedily and maybe even more enjoyably! 

Members of La Follia Austin Baroque, the Saint Cecilia Music Series of First Presbyterian Church, the Texas Toot, and Texas Early Music Project team up to present an invigorating concert of music for a Spring afternoon to benefit Tom. The sooner he is well, the sooner he'll be back on the concert stage in Austin. 

There will be no pop-up food trailers, but we'll be dishin' out scrumptious tunes to sate your early music appetite!

See www.early-music.org or call (512) 377-6961 for more info. 
(If you would like to donate but can't attend the concert, please write me at
artistic_director@early-music.org for mailing directions!)

-Danny

Y'all Come!

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I See Green People!

Danny Johnson

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Check out the pretty unusual Irish selections on our Celtic Trinity and Celtic Knot CDs! And of course, after St Patrick's Day, you can listen to the Scottish and Breton music as well, completely guiltlessly!

All TEMP CDs are $20 USD and include free shipping within the U.S. Shipping charges will apply to international orders.

Have a wee listen to a couple of audio samples below. Click on the  CD images to hear more and to purchase CDs!

 

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.
May good luck pursue you each morning and night!

Danny

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The Groundhog was right—even in Texas!

Danny Johnson

Wanted: Punxsutawney Phil, for snow against humanity; By Michael Pearson, CNN

Wanted: Punxsutawney Phil, for snow against humanity; By Michael Pearson, CNN

Don't worry, though! Everyone can participate in Amplify Austin without venturing out into the cold! Thursday, March 5, to Friday, March 6—24 hrs, 6pm to 6pm—and the preferred time for giving to TEMP is 7:00–8:00 AM Friday morning. Beat the rush! And, seriously, thank you for your support. We know there are many wonderful performing groups in Austin—thanks for including Texas Early Music Project in your list of groups to support! See below for instructions on how to help us get an early start on funding our next season.

Meanwhile, back to the Fine Arts Library to get repertoire for the Monteverdi and his Students/Friends/Colleagues concert in early May!

More soon!
Danny

AMPLIFY TEMP!

Your donation to TEMP's Amplify campaign can help in many ways, but can particularly help us continue our educational programs in Austin-area schools. Donations can also help us produce a spectacular multimedia event this September: Convivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain, featuring the breathtaking music of the three great cultures of Renaissance Spain: Judeo-Spanish (Sephardic), Arab-Andalucian (Spanish Muslim), and Christian. This transformative, multimedia event will require support beyond the usual generosity of our loyal audiences and funding through the City of Austin Cultural Arts program.

Here’s how you can help:

You can donate $25 (or more!) on TEMP’s page on Amplify Austin. Any Amount Helps! Here are some suggestions:

  • $25-$199 can help cover program and ticket processing costs
  • $200-$499 can help with travel expenses for visiting artists
  • $500-$799 can provide a concert stipend for one of TEMP’s premier musicians
  • $800-$1,999 can help us continue our educational outreach programs
  • $2,000+ can help underwrite our 2015-2016 season opener,  Convivencia Re-Envisioned

Schedule Your Pledge Now!

You don't have to wait until March 5 to participate! You can schedule your pledge now, and it will post on March 5! Just click on the "Donate now" button on the TEMP campaign pageBe sure to check the "Schedule for Amplify Austin Day" box on the donation form.  THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT!  If you don't indicated this, the donation will run immediately and will not count towards Amplify Austin Day!

Bonus Time:  7:00 AM on Friday, March 6, is our prime time hour to raise the most money out of all the nonprofits participating in this campaign! If we succeed, we get our dollar amount during that hour matched by Amplify Austin!

Create Your Own Campaign Page!

You can also become an individual fundraiser for TEMP by creating your own campaign page on the Amplify Austin website and inviting family, friends, and colleagues to donate to your TEMP campaign. Go to the TEMP campaign page and click on "Create a Fundraising Campaign." 

Be a Medici - but nicer! Amplify TEMP and Amplify Austin!

Visit TEMP’s Amplify Austin page by clicking on the  button below and schedule your gift by checking the box for "Schedule for Amplify Austin Day."

We thank you for your generous support!

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And Now for Something Completely Different!

Danny Johnson

HEY! February is a short month, so let's do a Baroque concert and then in 3 weeks give a Medieval / Renaissance concert! "C'mon," they said; "it'll be fun," they said.

Darned if they weren't right. I love this stuff! You're going to, too!


More soon!
Danny

 

The Flowering of the Renaissance:
From Italian Chant to Ciconia

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8PM
St. Mary Cathedral, 203 East 10th St., Austin, TX
(Free parking is available in the Capitol Towers Parking Garage located off San Jacinto Blvd.,
immediately behind St. Mary Cathedral. The gates will be lifted after the concert
so one can depart without paying between 9:45-10:15)
& 
Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 3PM
First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX

Single tickets can be purchased by clicking on the button below
and are also available at the door, payable with cash, check, or credit card:
$30 general, $25 senior (age 60+).

Discount prices for students with student ID are available
for purchase at the concert door for $5. 

One of the most magical and transformative periods in all of Western music history emerged in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries, full of stylistic and theoretical developments that led to the golden period we call the Renaissance. Music from the ars nova period (the 14th century, called the trecento) displayed variety and expressiveness in ways not previously possible. Florentine composers such as Lorenzo da Firenze, Gherardello da Firenze, and Francesco Landini created music that was wildly exciting with incredible rhythmic variation and chromaticism and yet there was much that was incredibly delicate and tuneful. Some of the pieces that will be performed by these three composers include Lorenzo’s “Io son un pellegrin,” Gherardello’s exuberant canon for two tenors, “Tosto che l’alba,” and Landini’s “Abbonda di virtù.”

The Flemish composer Johannes Ciconia, whose professional career as a composer and theoretician was spent almost entirely in the papal chapels and in Padua, represents the next generation of composers in our program. His music is a blend of French and Italian techniques and the result is a style that is uniquely his. The aural effects created by Ciconia’s style of imitation are vibrant and absolutely refreshing! His works “Venecie, mundi splendor,” “Ut te per omnes celitus,” and others will display his jaw-dropping creativity and inventiveness.

Ciconia’s work in Italy in the early part of the 15th century paved the way for other Lowlands composers such as Heinrich Isaac and Josquin des Prez, both of whom spent major portions of their careers in Italy and helped make Italy the flower of the Renaissance. Isaac’s long-term working relationship with Lorenzo de' Medici established him as the preeminent Florentine composer at the end of the 15th century; his motet “Quis dabit capiti meo aquam,” written to commemorate Lorenzo’s death in 1492, is a truly touching testimonial to his patron. Isaac’s motet from the Song of Songs, “Tota pulchra es,” is among the most beautiful and spellbinding works from the Renaissance.

Peter Maund, Bay-area specialist in early percussion, returns for the concert, as will Mary Springfels, renowned virtuoso on Medieval fiddle and viola da gamba. Erin Calata, mezzo-soprano from Seattle, will be the featured soloist in Isaac’s ode to Lorenzo de’ Medici, and will be will be joining TEMP soloists Cayla Cardiff, Jenifer Thyssen, Stephanie Prewitt, Jeffrey Jones-Ragona, Paul D’Arcy, and Daniel Johnson.  The complete complement of performers includes sixteen singers and seven instrumentalists (vielles, violas da gamba, recorder, harp, and percussion) for a concert that will be in turns sweetly meditative and rousingly lively, both in the visually and acoustically magnificent space of St. Mary Cathedral and in the much more intimate (and acoustically renovated) First Presbyterian Church.

Join us for wild and saucy dances fit for Boccaccio's Decameron, shimmering and bold works by Ciconia, and progressive and iconic motets by Isaac. Experience the expressive beauty of the Renaissance blooming across Italy.

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Wheeeeen the moon hits your eye like a big zucca pie…

Danny Johnson

That’s Amore!

Yes, it’s come to that. Imagine, if you will, four up-and-coming opera singers backstage, in their dressing room at a Venetian opera house. What shadowy twists and turns of fate await them before they leave this small stage and exit to the [unseen] large stage for their big chance at stardom. What secrets of passion and trickery simmer just beneath the surface of their professional relationships? After all, divas and divos will be…well, divas and divos!

Join them, for this is the place where reality and the beauty of 100 years of Italian opera meet La Zona Crepuscolo!

More soon!
Danny

That’s Amore: An Early Valentine

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 8PM
&
Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 3PM
Both performances are at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX

Single tickets can be purchased by clicking on the button below
and are also available at the door, payable with cash, check, or credit card:
$30 general, $25 senior (age 60+).

Discount prices for students with student ID are available
for purchase at the concert door for $5. 

The best opera tells a story that is, if not totally—or even the slightest bit—believable, at least one that we can connect with, either through the characters or the music. We continue our celebration of Italian music with a newly formed opera pastiche using music from the early Baroque (Cavalli & Cesti) and late Baroque (Handel & Vivaldi) in Italy.

Weaving a plot around music from about 100 years of beautiful operas, we seek to entertain and delight you with arias (and only a very few recitatives) from the early Baroque with selections from Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto and Antonio Cesti’s L’Orontea and L’Argia. We have incorporated music of the late Baroque from George Frideric Handel’s Rinaldo, Tolomeo, and Giulio Cesare and Antonio Vivaldi’s Il Giustino, La Fida Ninfa, and Orlando Furioso.

The selections from Cavalli and Cesti are typical of the early Italian Baroque: tuneful, direct, full of harmonic surprises and unmatched beauty. By the mid-18th century, opera was a glamorous and sophisticated activity for the cultured and not quite cultured. Both Handel and Vivaldi are well known, of course, though the casual listener might be surprised at the power and beauty of Vivaldi’s vocal works (he did write more than The Seasons, it turns out…) and the wide range of emotions he creates.

Our lively, witty, and loving pastiche of beautiful music from these four masters contains some of the most popular and should-be-popular works from the world of Baroque opera. Some of the leading lights of early music, rising stars from New York Peter Walker (baritone) and renowned countertenor Ryland Angel, join TEMP core-members Jenifer Thyssen & Meredith Ruduski (sopranos) for this unique production. The accompanying period-instrument ensemble includes German violinist Veronika Vassileva with violinist Bruce Colson (Austin), violist Andrew Justice (Denton), and TEMP regulars Jane Leggiero (cello), Scott Horton (theorbo), and Austin Baroque Orchestra director Billy Traylor on harpsichord.

As an early Valentine present, treat yourself and your sweetie(s) to the beauty, brilliance, and passion from four of the best composers in Italian opera in an intimate setting. We’ll tell a story that will warm your heart, make you laugh, and put your toes to tapping. The passion! The jealousy! The love!
Will there be a happy ending? We aren’t sure, but there will be a minimal amount of recitative, and there will be super-titles!

For more information, call 512-377-6961 and leave a message, or email info@early-music.org.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 12

Danny Johnson

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DAY 12 TREAT (DEC. 12, 2014):

And here we are: It’s the 12th day. It’s time to talk about the Lady Greensleeves, who was 49th cousin to the beloved Mr. Green Jeans from “Captain Kangaroo.” Raise your hands if you remember Captain Kangaroo.

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The earliest source of the song was a broadside ballad by Richard Jones in 1580; several more versions appeared shortly, with variants of title and text. There are references to the song in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and by the end of the 17th century, the song had developed many variants in melody, harmony, and meter in versions by William Cobbold and John Playford. Of course, the more popular version for Christmas is “What Child is This” with lyrics by William Dix written around 1865. The version we use is The old yeare now away is fled from the mid-17th century.

There are modern versions/variations by performers as varied as Jacques Brel, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and…well, lots more.

And it’s concert time. In a few hours. Today.
An Early Christmas in Europe.


This 12 Days of Christmas factoid-per-day thing has been fun. Please join us for our next installments: the 44 Days of Super Bowl, the 185 Days of SXSW, and the 21 Days of Halloween.

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