Press Release – February 7, 2014

Media Contact:
John Hill

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents the biennial


June 1 -­ 8, 2014

Highlights include concerts by:

Grammy-winning Belgian ensemble VOX LUMINIS in its U.S. debut, historical keyboardist KRISTIAN BEZUIDENHOUT in his West Coast debut, PHILHARMONIA CHAMBER PLAYERS, The CHOIR OF TRINITY WALL STREET, ARS LYRICA HOUSTON, FLANDERS RECORDER QUARTET, Gonzalo Ruizs new baroque ensemble HOUSE OF TIME, lutenist HOPKINSON SMITH, and a Monteverdi celebration with MAGNIFICAT and THE WHOLE NOYSE

“The Berkeley Festival and Exhibition has become a remarkable institution
on the American musical scene.”
– The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 7, 2014 — The San Francisco Early Music Societyin association with Early Music America, is proud to announce the program for its biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, June 1 -­ 8, 2014. Since its inauguration in 1990, the Festival has been recognized worldwide as one of the foremost events of its kind, bringing together early music performers, scholars, instrument makers, publishers and enthusiasts for a week of concerts, lectures, conferences and master classes centered in and around First Congregational Church and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.

The 2014 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition features 14 MAIN STAGE PERFORMANCES including the U.S. debut of the Belgian vocal ensemble Vox Luminis and the West Coast debut of fortepianist and keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout. Founded in 2004, Vox Luminis has earned numerous accolades and awards including Gramophone’s “Recording of the Year” for its most recent CD, an interpretation of Heinrich Schütz’s Musicalische Exequien. For the Berkeley Festival, Vox Luminis will perform two concerts: a program of music by Schütz and the Bach family on Wednesday, June 4, and on June 5 a program including Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater. Preceding their concert on June 5, Bezuidenhout will perform a pianoforte recital of Mozart and other works. Generally ranked among the leading period-instrument keyboard players of his generation, Bezuidenhout will also perform a program of Bach family keyboard concerti with the Philharmonia Chamber Players, alongside director and harpsichordist Nicholas McGegan. That concert takes place on Saturday, June 7.

The Festival also features the Berkeley Festival debuts of Ars Lyrica Houston and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Ars Lyrica, directed by Matthew Dirst, will perform one concert of works by Telemann, Couperin, Scarlatti and others on Tuesday, June 3. Nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award, Ars Lyrica has been praised for its “exemplary skill and taste” (Gramophone).

Under the direction of Julian Wachner, Trinity Wall Street has been described by the New York Times as “the top of musical life in New York.” Trinity will give two concerts, including a program of the complete Bach motets for double choir on June 5 and a program of Franco-­Flemish masterpieces on Friday, June 6.

Other performance highlights of this year’s Festival include concerts by the celebrated Flanders Recorder Quartet; a newly formed ensemble, House of Time, which includes oboist Gonzalo X. Ruiz and keyboardist Avi Stein; Southern California-­based Ciaramella, an ensemble founded on a core of winds; and three Bay Area groups: Cantainbanchi, Sex Chordae Consort of Viols with guest artist Julianne Baird, and to close the Festival on Sunday, June 8, Magnificat and The Whole Noyse performing a Vespers for the feast of St. Mark under the direction of Warren Stewart.

“A spirit of collaboration has animated the Berkeley Festival since its first year in 1990,” says Festival Artistic Director Robert Cole. “The San Francisco Early Music Society and our longtime partner, Early Music America, share an enthusiasm for and commitment to the study and performance of music composed before 1800. I am delighted to report that in the years since the first Berkeley Festival we have witnessed a marked growth in university music programs devoted to early music – and with its Young Performers Festival program the Berkeley Festival remains a staunch supporter of the next generation of scholars and performers.”

Presented by Early Music America (EMA), the YOUNG PERFORMERS FESTIVAL runs Wednesday through Friday, June 4 to 6. Recognizing that the future of early music rests in the hands of today’s young artists and the institutions that shape them, EMA will organize a series of six one-­hour daytime concerts by major university and conservatory early music ensembles.

EMA will also sponsor the Berkeley Festival’s EXHIBITION & MUSIC MARKETPLACE, Thursday through Saturday, June 5 to 7.  This much anticipated emporium showcases a trove of handcrafted musical instruments, sheet music, accessories, recordings and books.  In addition, Festival attendees will enjoy a number of “mini-­concert” demonstrations of instruments on display.

Finally, as a testament to the Festival’s success in making Berkeley, California a hub for early music, dozens of FRINGE events run concurrently with the Festival. The Fringe is a series of lively, self-­produced concerts by soloists and ensembles from around the world. These events take place within easy walking distance of each other in the vicinity of First Congregational Church and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.

Tickets for the Festival’s main stage concerts go on sale February 24, 2014. For up-to-date information, visit