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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

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

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!


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!

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

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 12

Danny Johnson


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.


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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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 11

Danny Johnson

DAY 11 TREAT (DEC. 11, 2014):

All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year…

Loreena McKennitt sings it; and it’s on virtually every Anglophile Christmas or Solstice or Winter-related recording. I know of no reason we shouldn’t do it also! This traditional tune, first known as “When Phoebus did rest,” was set and arranged by John Playford for his country dance primer, The English Dancing Master, in 1651. Related versions of it are also found in the Samuel Pepys’s collection of broadsides under the title “A pleasant Countrey new ditty: Merrily shewing how To drive the cold winter away” and a version is also found in Thomas d'Urfey’s “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy.” It remains one of the more popular English ballads in its several incarnations.

Considering where we live, I for one am not so eager to drive the cold winter away, though I don’t have to deal with 6-foot snow-storms, either. At any rate, it’s a great song, David Lopez sounds wonderful in his solo verse, and evocative visions of hot chocolate and hot cider and maybe a hot toddy or two prevail!

Drive the Cold Winter Away, just not too quickly, ok?
An Early Christmas in Europe. In 2 Days. In Austin. It’s 63°F.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 10

Danny Johnson


DAY 10 TREAT (DEC. 10, 2014):

It’s the Christmas season, and yet I’m a mean, mean man. Or at least a mean, mean maestro.

I’m making the singers perform in all these languages for the Christmas concert: Medieval French Latin, pre-vowel shift 14th-century English, Renaissance Spanish, 17th-century German Latin, 17th-century French, 17th-century Dutch & Flemish, Italian Latin, Gaelic, and even some English.

I'm getting coal from Santa, I just know it.
An Early Christmas in Yurp in 3 Days.


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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 9

Danny Johnson


DAY 9 TREAT (DEC. 9, 2014):

During our Christmas concert, you might find yourself thinking, “Oh, that’s ‘He shall feed His flock’ from Messiah,” and you would be sorta right. Quando nascete ninno is one of the many songs that peasant bagpipers from the mountains played in the streets of Naples and other cities during the days before Christmas; it is thought that the young George Frideric Handel heard this during his time in Italy in 1707–1709. But don’t worry, it won't be leading into a full‑blown Messiah concert for Baroque flute and bray harp, though that would be interesting...

 An Early Christmas in Europe in 4 Days • BYO Bagpipe.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Days 7 & 8

Danny Johnson


DAY 7 TREAT (DEC. 7, 2014):

Christmas in Killarney

This year we'll have Dennis Day and the Jack Benny Orchestra joining us for ... wait, what's that? 

Oh, sorry, the TEMP Board tells me its not to be. Instead, just one of the pieces we have representing Ireland is Ye sons of men, which has become one of the mainstays of the TEMP Christmas concerts. Like most of the traditional pieces, its origins are murky. 

The poem comes from Father William Devereuxs collection of texts from 1728; the tune is probably traditional; at any rate, it was usually sung during the main mass on Christmas Day. The tradition was passed down through the Devereux family, and was transcribed from a 1980 recording sung  by Jack Devereux, who was then 80 years old. 

Its an amazing tradition and an amazing piece.

6 more days. Be there or be on the next boat to Killarney.


DAY 8 TREAT (DEC. 8, 2014):

For this year’s Christmas concert, we’re performing an a cappella choral work for 8 parts by a composer who is new to us. Giovanni Bassano (c. 1558-1617) was the nephew of the famous Bassano family who moved from Venice to London to be musicians in the court of Henry VIII. I had been aware of him as one of the most famous cornettists in Italy and through his books detailing ornamentation and theory—references I've used in teaching Italian performance practice.

It turns out that he was also a fine composer, and we’re performing his double choir motet Angelus ad pastores in just a few days!

But: the real reason I’m telling you this is because our September performance of La Pellegrina brought a lot of new patrons to us. One of those new patrons is a member of the Bassano family, and still has ties to Italy.

It's a small world!

An Early Christmas in Europe. In 5 Days.
Be there or be on a gondola to Killarney since you missed the last trains to Venice and Clarksville. 

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 6

Danny Johnson


DAY 6 TREAT (DEC. 6, 2014):

It's the 6th Day. Must be time for French music. Let’s consult The New Oxford Book of Carols, shall we?

Words and languages change. In the late Middle Ages, nouvel an indicated the New Year, the time when carols were most usually sung. That phrase became corrupted to nouel and by the 16th century to noël, and the current use of a noël as a Christmas song was established. Nouvelet can mean both ‘news’ and ‘newness.’

Noël nouvelet, meaning a newly made song for both the New Year and the newly born infant-King, will be performed in 7 days.

That’s all the nouvelet for now. Good night and good luck.
TEMP: An Early Christmas in Europe

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