Please note: The below information pertains to the 2017 Madison Early Music Festival. Feel free to browse these sections in order to learn more about our annual week-long program.

Information on the 2018 Madison Early Music Festival will be added as it becomes available.

Lectures & Special Events

Free Concerts

  • MEMF Participant Concert
    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm, Mills Concert Hall at UW Mead Witter School of Music (455 N. Park Street)

    Festival workshop participants perform in ensembles that have been coached by faculty artists throughout the week of the Festival. There is no pre-concert lecture. Admission is free.
  • Advanced Loud Band and Early Opera & Continuo Workshop Concert
    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm, Music Hall at UW-Madison (925 Bascom Hall)

    Participants from the Advanced Loud Bound Intensive and the Early Opera & Continuo Workshop perform a program of works by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Francisco Guerrero, and several cancioneros plus scenes from La púrpura de la rosa by Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco. There is no pre-concert lecture. Admission is free.

MEMF Dance Event, ¡Bailemos!

Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm, Frederic March Play Circle, 2nd floor, Memorial Union

MEMF Dance event with instruction and music provided by the MEMF Faculty.

Open to the public - tickets $10 each. Free to MEMF Workshop participants and faculty. Not included in the 2017 Festival Concert Pass.


All concerts except the MEMF Participant Concert and Loud Band Intensive and Early Opera & Continuo Workshop Concert will be preceded by an expert lecture, free and open to the public, to be held near the concert site.

  • The Musical World of Don Quixote
    Saturday, July 8 at 6:30 pm; Wednesday, July 12 at 11:30 am, L160 Elvehjem
    Grant Herreid, Lecturer, Yale University

    Grant Herried shares his research and the concert programming of the songs and instrumental music mentioned in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Regarded as the first truly modern novel, Cervantes explored the emerging sense that humans have a central role to play in the universe. This iconic work provides the narrative arc of the concert program of the same title “The Musical World of Don Quixote”, which offers a musical parallel to the novel, recreating the “soundtrack” to one of the best stories ever written. Funding provided by the University Lectures Anonymous/Halls Fund.
  • Gaspar Sanz and his Laberintos Ingeniosos
    Sunday, July 9 at 11:30 am, L160 Elvehjem
    Xavier Díaz-Latorre, Professor of Music, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

    One of the most important composers for guitar in the 17th Century, Gaspar Sanz wrote Instrucción de música para la guitarra española (1674), a manual on the technical aspects of the instrument. Known for his use of laberintos ingeniosos (ingenious labyrinths), Sanz created a method of musical composition and improvisation.
  • Dance in the Siglo de Oro: Sources & Sleuthing
    Sunday, July 9 at 6:30 pm, L160 Elvehjem
    Peggy Murray, PhD in Performance Studies, Ohio University

    Dance historians and reconstructors investigate formal features and context while researching the dances of a place and period. This talk focuses on how these aspects of dancing are understood through the few, but interesting, sources we have from Spain’s Golden Age – what we know, what we don’t, and where else we look for clues.
  • Guided Tour: Don Quixote Through the Ages
    Monday, July 10 at 11:30 am, Memorial Library

    Join us on a guided tour of the exhibition Don Quixote Through the Ages. Meet in the lobby in front of Mills Concert Hall.
  • Arab Music in Muslim Spain: History, Theory and Practice
    Tuesday, July 11 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 pm, L160 Elvehjem
    Yaron Klein, Associate Professor of Arabic & Lecturer in Oud, Carleton College

    An introduction to historical dimensions of Arab music in premodern Spain, especially the arrival of Arab instruments to Muslim Spain in the 8th century, and then to Europe, this lecture includes demonstration of key concepts such as microtonality, maqam, the use of tetrachords, and improvisation on the oud.
  • The Picaresque Novel and Images of Marginality
    Thursday, July 13 at 11:30 am; Friday, July 14 at 6:30 pm, L160 Elvehjem
    Cassidy Reis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. Candidate

    The historical and social conditions of early modern Spain gave rise to the picaresque novel, a literary genre defined by a satirical, anti- idealist style and the unprecedented narrative viewpoint of a lowborn and socially marginalized protagonist. This lecture examines the visual language used to depict the world of the pícaro in relation to other representations of marginality seen in the visual art production by Golden Age Spanish artists like Diego de Velázquez.
  • Music of the Siglo de Oro – Spain’s Golden Age
    Saturday, July 15 at 6:30 pm, L160 Elvehjem
    J. Michael Allsen, Professor of Music, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

    After 1492 Spain celebrated a “golden century” – when the Spanish amassed an empire that dominated much of Europe, and when Spanish power extended across much of the vast territory of the Americas. This lecture begins with the unification of Spain in 1469 and the events of 1492 and ends with the death of Cervantes in 1616 –with a sampling of Spain’s rich musical heritage in this period along the way.

Special Events

  • Masterclass with Xavier Díaz-Latorre
    Saturday, July 8, 2017 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Morphy Hall at UW Mead Witter School of Music
    Free event
  • Historical Harp Society
    Thursday, July 6 - Friday, July 7, 2017 | Historical Harp Society
    Free concert: Friday, July 7, 2017, at 7:30 pm, Morphy Recital Hall at UW Mead Witter School of Music
    Pre-Festival Event Conference and Concert that explores the harp throughout Spain's history. Jennifer Sayre, Spanish Baroque harp, Nicholas Carter, Paraguayan harp, Samuel Milligan, the harp of Medieval Spain, Christa Patton, director.
    Click here to download the conference and workshop schedule (PDF).