The Amherst Early Music Festival is excited to announce its viol program for AEM 2013 week II (July 14-21), Early Viols and the Birth of the Consort. Featuring a faculty that includes Mary Springfels (viol and vielle), Shira Kammen (vielle), Liam Byrne, viol (Fretwork, professor of viola da gamba at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama), and Loren Ludwig (viol), this program will focus on ensemble music of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, arguably the earliest repertory of consort music for strings. Classes will be offered in vielle (including beginning vielle) and coached ensembles will explore the complex and beautiful repertory for early strings from/by the Old Hall MS, the Faenza Codex, Robert Fayrfax, Machaut, Dufay, William Cornish, Petrucci, and others. Early Viols and the Birth of the Consort offers a unique opportunity to delve into a beautiful, exciting and under-represented viol consort repertory with a stellar faculty. Week I at AEM also features exciting opportunities for viol players. Wendy Gillespie will teach master classes and viol technique and will coach chamber music and English consort music along with Larry Lipnik and Loren Ludwig. The by-audition AEM Baroque Academy offers advanced viol players opportunities to be play high-level chamber music and perform as part of the pit orchestra for the fully-staged production of Purcell's "The Fairy Queen", directed by Gary Wedow and Drew Minter.