Central Program

The heart of the Amherst Early Music Festival!

June 30, 2024-July 14, 2024

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308
United States


Frances Blaker, Festival director

Central Program classes run both weeks of the Amherst Early Music Festival, June 30-July 7, and July 7-14, 2024

Register here!

The Central Program is the heart of the Festival. It is the largest and most varied program we offer, with classes available for most early music instruments, and music ranging from Medieval to Baroque. You can choose the combination of classes that works for you -- perfect if, like some of our students, you sing or dance and play an instrument or two. Play in consorts of like or mixed instruments, investigate a new repertory, take a dance class, or begin a new instrument. Week 1 classes include expanded offerings for Baroque instruments. Week 2 classes include offerings for Medieval instruments. We also offer a unique program in early notation for all levels starting with absolute beginner. Pitch is A=440, unless otherwise stated.

Week 1 Central Program Class List

Week 2 Central Program Class List

Registrants will be asked to make three ranked choices for each class period (1 or 2 for late morning.) and to fill out a short form about your musical skills and background. Look for an email with info from us soon!

*If you are in Baroque Academy, Ensemble Singing Intensive, or the Las Huelgas Medieval Project, there's no need to choose classes, your daily schedule is set. If you are in the Choral Workshop, you may choose a 4th period class. If you are in New London Assembly, and would like to take a music class, you may use the class choice form to choose a class.

*The AEMF schedule makes great demands on time and energy. Workshop burnout can be a real problem. Many students leave one period free to allow sufficient time to practice, rest, recreate, and integrate what they have learned. Please also note that you may audit any class as an alternative to playing every period of the day.

Scheduled Classes run Monday through Friday, with four class periods per day. Tuition for 4 class periods per week is $710. Part time tuition (2 class periods) is $450. Register with a tuition deposit for part time tuition.

In the evening there are lectures, concerts, madrigal singing in the courtyard, English country dancing, drop-in playing sessions, the AEM Auction, and socializing with early music enthusiasts from all over the world. Saturday is a day of rehearsals and concerts, including student concerts featuring music prepared in class.


Loud band musicians


Miyo Recorder
Annette Early Notation & Recorder
Rainer Recorder
Letitia Recorder
Frances Recorder
Marilyn Bassoon & Dulcian
Kathryn Harpsichord
Saskia Recorder
Nathaniel Cornetto Lute
Tracy Voice
Kevin Harpsichord
Alissa Harpsichord
Emily Voice
Cléa Recorder
Rotem Recorder
Eric Recorder & Flute
Valerie Recorder
Zhengyi Harpsichord
Shira Violin & Vielle
Na'ama Flute
Lawrence Viol & Recorder
Loren Viol
Liza Sackbut
Carol Dance Early Notation
Sally Bassoon
Patricia Recorder & Early Notation
Wendy Recorder & Early Notation
Jason Lute
Sian Recorder
Gwyn Recorder & Flute
Lisa Voice
Daniel Renaissance reeds
Peter Harpsichord
Wouter Bassoon & Dulcian
Spiff Percussion

Festival FAQs

Union College
807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308
Close to a major airport (15+ minutes from Albany International Airport), accessible by Amtrak (station is 1 mile from Union College) and Megabus, Union College is 3 hours away by car from NYC and Boston, and 4 hours from Montreal.

The meal card is $228 and covers one week of meals starting with dinner on Sunday, June 30, (July 7 for second week) thru breakfast on Sunday, July 7, (July 14 for second week). A la carte meal prices are $7.25, $10.25, and $11.00 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

All standard rooms are air-conditioned with private baths. Budget rate housing is not air-conditioned, with hall baths. Basic linens (sheets, pillow, and towels) are included with all housing. Beds are twin, extra long.


Scholarships & Work-Study


All participants are welcome to apply for tuition assistance through AEM's Work-Study program. Please fill out the work study application form to apply. Notice of awards will be sent in late May. Questions about Work-Study can be sent to Click here to show mail address.

AEM Scholarships

To apply for all AEM scholarships, including the Washington McClain Scholarship, please fill out this form.

The Washington McClain Scholarship Fund honors the memory of Baroque oboist and Amherst Early Music faculty member Washington McClain. It will fund scholarships for students who have historically been underrepresented in the early music field, including African-American, Latinx, and others. Awards will cover tuition, room and board, and travel and may be used for any in-person AEM event, particularly the Amherst Early Music Festival.

In addition to scholarships, AEM offers work study tuition to all of our workshops, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. Work study is an option for students of any age.

Other Organizations

American Recorder Society offers scholarships to recorder players for Weekend Workshops as well as Summer Festivals. Any ARS member who needs financial assistance to attend a weekend or week-long workshop may apply for this scholarship. Deadline: May 15.

Lute Society of America scholarships include full tuition, room & board, and some travel. Due Date May 1.

Early Music America offers scholarships to help students attend early music and historical performance workshops in North America. Applications due April 1.

Viola da Gamba Society of America offers Grants-in-Aid to its members to attend Workshops and Masterclasses.

The Historical Keyboard Society of North America has established the Funaro Fund Award to support its members to offset the cost of traveling to an early keyboard event.