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Texas Early Music Project
13915 Burnet Road, Suite 402 
Austin, TX 78728
(512) 377-6961

For ticket and concert venue inquiries, email the Box Office

TEMP is a performing ensemble and not a presenting organization or an agency. Please do not contact TEMP about hosting other early music groups.
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13915 Burnet Road, Suite 402
Austin, TX 78728
United States

(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

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Q & A with Jane Leggiero

Danny Johnson

In celebration of the Christmas spirit, and in hopes of entertaining you, I posed a few questions to our performers.  What we learned from this endeavor is that TEMP has more than its fair share of amateur comedians and smarty-pantses.  Without further ado, I’ll let the performers speak for themselves.

Look for additional upcoming Q& A posts & happy holidays!

Jane Leggiero (official TEMP office elf)

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What is your favorite holiday music?

Danny Johnson: Still working on that one …

Claire Daniels: It is hard to pick favorites but I don’t ever tire of Handel’s Messiah. Sorry to be cliché! This is my first Christmas with TEMP though, and I really love the music Danny has picked for us to sing.

John Walters: I like lots. I like the old classics. I like new original music if it's good--my definition of what's good of course!  I loved finding new arrangements of Christmas for my school orchestras to play.

Cayla Cardiff: French carols, medieval English carols, Ariel Ramirez's "Navidad Nuestra", and Britten's "Ceremony of Carols."

Meredith Ruduski: 1940s and '50s crooner/jazzy stuff.

Scott Horton: Early 17th century like Gabrieli, Biber, etc.

Becky Baxter: The Chieftains recording entitled "The Bells Of Dublin" and that old Hershey's Chocolate kisses TV commercial where the animated kisses are pretending to be handbells ringing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." I still get a kick out of the last little kiss saying "Whew!" because it reminds me of how I will feel at the end of December after all the gigs are over!

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What is the worst holiday pop song?

Danny: “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus”

Becky: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Cayla: UGH that hideous "Do They Know It's Christmas" monstrosity.  I know they meant well but the lyrics are so pathetic.  ("Where nothing ever grows/no rain or water flows/do they know it's Christmas time at all" - about AFRICA?!?!?  SERIOUSLY?!?!?!)

Scott: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

John: I don't know. I'm too fast at tuning it out if I think it's going to be bad.

Meredith: That 1980s "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart" atrocity

Claire: I don’t really mind the Christmas pop music. However, I HATE any version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas and the 12 Days of Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any version that I liked, so why bother?

Jeffrey Jones-Ragona: Without a doubt, "Christmas Shoes."  The first time I heard that song, I no longer believed in puppies, the laughter of children, or anything good.

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How many concerts do you have during the month of December?  Does your spouse/significant other/cat remember what you look like by January 1?

Abby Green: Mid-December is finally when I have some time off.  My tour/travel/festival season is July thru December.  I hardly stop at all.  December is my light at the end of the tunnel.  I finally get to breathe and relax!

Cayla: Including school work: 10, not counting the three I'm supposed to be at but am sending a sub, and not counting church.

Claire: If I counted correctly, I will sing 10 concerts, even more than that if you count informal short concerts and short performances for school. My boyfriend is actually in LA filming a movie for almost all of December. I won’t really see him until after Christmas so I guess I’ll have to let you know…

Jeffrey:  Typically, one (different) one each weekend, and some weekends, I have had as many as three different concerts-- not the same concert given three times, but three *different* repertoires/events/ensembles.  Although one year it was all Messiah-- just three different orchestras, conductors and Choruses.  Of course, the weeks before are occupied with rehearsals.  It's not unusual for December 26th to be my first full day off since Halloween or earlier.  And no, I have to get reacquainted with my cats right after Christmas.  They are definitely inquisitive and mildly distrustful when I spend an entire day at my house.  Although I spend most of that day like they do--sleeping!

John: My wife gets more than me.  [She’s in the symphony]

Meredith: Regarding pets and loved ones: after they get through the initial barking and smell my hand, they remember that I feed them and do the "recognition wag," though my husband still acts a little weird if I make sudden moves or go around his food bowl.

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You get invited to a white elephant gift exchange.  What do you bring?

Claire: A white elephant, you say?!

Meredith: A white elephant, duh! [Y’all are a bunch of literalists! – ed.]

Danny: Another white elephant? Wait, they didn’t say this was gonna be on the test.

Scott:  Silver picture frame.  [Care to explain, Scott?  Are you secretly a werewolf? – ed.]

Abby: A sleeve of saltine crackers wrapped in really pretty paper.

Cayla: A FRUITCAKE.

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What’s the weirdest gift anyone ever gave you?

Cayla:  A FRUITCAKE.

Danny: A paisley elephant.

Abby: I can't think of any that stick out in my mind.  I have given many odd gifts...  my favorite this year is a fuzzy pink monster puppet.  The recipient is 30 and she is going to LOVE it.

Meredith: A box of tampons.

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What do you like to do in Austin at this time of year?

Cayla:  Shop for local stuff on South Congress!

Claire: Sing Christmas music! Especially descants!

Danny: Apparently, I like to give concerts! Oh, and I do like the weather, usually, except when it’s 80 or so….

John: It's family time.

Meredith: Take allergy medicine and go on hikes!

Scott:  Not be hot.

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From pipers piping to partridges in pear trees, which of the 12 days of Christmas is your favorite and why?

Abby: FIVE GOLD RINGS!!!!  Because of Miss Piggy's contribution in the Muppets' Christmas album.

Claire: I hate to be a scrooge, but bah humbug! Refer to #2. [Question about the worst holiday pop song.]

Scott: The 13th day upon which I rest.

Meredith: I think "seven swans a swimming," although I wouldn't want to clean up after them.

Becky: Five gold rings - I'm a jewelry hound.

Cayla:   Three French hens.  I don't know why.  They sound happy.

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On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you freak out if it snowed right now?

Abby: If by "freak out" you mean throw a temper tantrum because I'm supposed to camp next week...I'd say a level 7 freak out, and a sad face.

Becky: I'm a Texas native. Nothing in Texas weather surprises me or freaks me out. Now, finding a snake or a scorpion inside the house is a whole other story.

Cayla:   2.  I'm not easily impressed.

Scott:  -1, i.e. not at al! Snow, snow, snow!!!!!!!!

Danny: In general, I'd give it a 4.5.

Meredith: 10!!!! That would be so awesome! Especially if the snow actually stuck to the ground. =D [I think Meredith would be freaking out in the good way! –ed.]

John: I love the snow. I'll be out making snowmen and having snowball fights.

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Specifically for out-of-towners:  What do you like about coming to work with TEMP?

Becky: TEMP has quite a few 'closet' stand up comedians. [This questionnaire proves that pretty well! – ed.] A great sense of humor in rehearsals is a blessing when you have a lot of music material to cover in a short amount of time. Specifically what I love about coming to work with TEMP for the December concerts is that I get my annual "fix" hearing Stephanie Prewett sing "Balooloo, my lammie." There is something exquisitely comforting about the way she sings it. At different times all through the year when I am having a tough day, the memory of her singing "Balooloo" will replay in my mind like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.

Abby: TEMP is awesome...no, really.  I get the chance to sing some amazing music with some of the most gorgeous voices I have ever heard.  Not only is the musicianship outstanding, but everyone is so NICE!  It is such an absolute honor to get to absorb some of this music and friendship even if only for a week per year.

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What is your favorite thing to do when you visit Austin?

Becky: Wheatsville Co-op, Instep (best shoe store in Texas, if not the world), and Blue Moon glassworks, Austin Flameworks, and Austin Art Glass to see the cool art glass and meet the wonderful artists.

Abby: Eat cheese enchiladas, hang out with friends, drink a margarita or three.

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TEMP’s Upcoming Performance -- They Might Be Giants: Josquin and the Renaissance

Danny Johnson

Renaissance polyphony can be sublime, suspenseful, moving, and exhilarating! We hear the interweaving voices, the imitative entrances, the artfully prepared dissonance along with the excruciating sweetness of the resolution, and we simply know we are listening to the music for a master who could control the notes, rather than the other way around. Texas Early Music Project’s upcoming concert of music by Josquin des Prez and three of his Franco-Flemish colleagues will display the skill, precision, imagination, and variety available from the best of the generation of composers who lived from c.1440-c.1520 and who set the standards for future composers.

Josquin, the most renowned composer of his day, was really a giant among giants. This concert will immerse listeners in the music of Josquin and three of his Lowlands contemporaries: Antoine Brumel, Loyset Compère, and Pierre de la Rue.  Each of these composers, including Josquin, was named in Jean Molinet’s famous ode “Nymphes des bois,” written after the death of Johannes Ockeghem, their musical father, and each of these magnificent composers contributed his own unique vision to the sacred and secular repertories of the day. Josquin, Compère, and Brumel worked for courts and cathedrals in France and Italy and influenced the next generations of composers all over Europe. Pierre de la Rue lived and worked mostly in Burgundy (now Belgium) where he continued in the footsteps of his predecessors Dufay and Busnois at the Grande chapelle, the musical establishment of the Burgundian-Habsburg court.

Among the featured pieces are some of Josquin’s standouts, including “Nymphes des bois,” and two pieces from the beginning and the end of his career. Beautifully transparent and emulating some of the techniques of earlier composers, TEMP will feature the much-loved “Ave Maria” from the beginning of his career. “Missa Pange lingua,” composed during the last few years of his life, exhibits the powers of a composer who has nothing to prove. Rather than exhibiting new skills, Josquin went deeper and composed with calm mystery, especially in the “Agnus Dei,” which ends the concert. One of the most unique masses composed during the Renaissance was Brumel’s “Earthquake Mass” (“Missa Et ecce terrae motus”) for 12 voice parts.  The Gloria of the mass is perhaps the most celebrated movement and TEMP is excited to bring the splendid and exciting music to the Austin community!

TEMP founding member Christopher LeCluyse will return to perform in this concert. A small chamber choir of 12 voices will perform some of the most splendid a cappella motets and mass movements by the featured composers and will feature some of the best voices in Austin. A trio of viols will present lively secular pieces and solo lute will perform intabulations of sacred and secular music of these Renaissance titans.

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They Might Be Giants: Josquin and the Renaissance

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TICKETS

for They Might Be Giants & other TEMP performances

‣ purchase online

‣ by phone (512) 377-6961

‣ or at the door.

See you there!

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2011-2012 Tickets & Subscriptions Now Available!

Danny Johnson

El Mundo Nuevo: 18th Century Music from Latin America

In collaboration with early music luminary and virtuoso performer Tom Zajac, we explore music from the New World: 17th & 18th century selections from Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. The color, flavor, and joy of the music from the Trujillo del Peru manuscript are dynamic and exotic. A small vocal ensemble, string trio, guitars, and percussionists will perform selections for Christmas Eve in Trujillo, dances from the jungles, music in the extinct language of Mochica, and motets from the cathedral of Mexico City.

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They Might Be Giants: Josquin and the Renaissance

Josquin des Prez was the most renowned composer of his day but he was really just a giant among giants. In this concert we will immerse ourselves in the music of Josquin and three of his Lowlands contemporaries: Brumel, Compère, and Pierre de la Rue, who were mentioned in the famous ode upon the death of Okeghem, their musical father. Each of these magnificent composers contributed a unique voice to the sacred and secular repertoires of the day. A small chamber choir, viols, and lute will perform the music of these titans.

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Yule, Britannia! Christmas Music in the British Isles

TEMP celebrates the Christmas season with the music of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. From Sarum rite chants and Medieval carols to traditional English wassails and Celtic lullabies, TEMP puts its unique stamp on these beautiful and joyful selections with innovative arrangements for solo voices, small chorus, harps, violin, and more.

**Special guest artists: historical harpists Therese Honey & Becky Baxter

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Fleurs-de-LYS: Laurie Young Stevens & Friends

Our award-winning concertmistress (Best Instrumentalist: Austin Critics Table, 2004) leads a performance of superlative Baroque chamber music, featuring professionals from around the globe. This group of international artists comes together once a year for the pleasure of collaborating with Ms. Stevens on a concert that is always outstanding and entertaining.

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Living Waters: Works by Hildegard von Bingen

—  one performance only  —

TEMP’s 2003 performance of Hildegard’s liturgical drama “Ordo virtutem” won the Austin Critics Table award for Best Chamber Concert of the season. Nine years later, we return to the beautifully sophisticated and powerful music of the 12th century German abbess with a performance of “Ordo virtutem” and several of her compelling antiphons and sequences, performed in the splendid acoustical space at the St. Mary Cathedral by female singers accompanied by a small Medieval band of vielles, harp, lute, and psaltery.

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TEMP Goes the Full Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi was one of the few composers whose career successfully spanned two eras, the Renaissance and the Baroque. His ability to work masterfully in both styles guaranteed his place in musical history and in the hearts of performers and audiences alike. TEMP soloists, chamber choir, string and continuo groups will perform selections from the full span of his catalog with a cappella madrigals, works from St. Mark’s in Venice, and beautiful arias and choruses from the stage and the courts.

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Tickets & subscriptions available at http://early-music.org/tickets.html

Questions?  Contact TEMP at

512-377-6961    or   danny@early-music.org

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