Central Program

The heart of the Amherst Early Music Festival!

July 2-16, 2023

Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St
Allentown, PA 18104
United States


Frances Blaker, Festival director

Central Program classes run both weeks of the Amherst Early Music Festival, July 2-9, and 9-16, 2023

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. 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 Morning Classes
WEEK 1 Afternoon Classes

WEEK 2 Morning Classes
WEEK 2 Afternoon Classes

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, 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 $695. 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


Annette Early Notation & Recorder
Rainer Recorder
Letitia Recorder
Frances Recorder
Marilyn Bassoon & Dulcian
Kathryn Harpsichord
Saskia Recorder
Tracy Voice
Alissa Harpsichord
Emily Voice
Arthur Harpsichord
Eric Recorder & Flute
Priscilla Renaissance reeds
Grant Voice & Lute
Valerie Early Notation & Recorder
Shira Violin & Vielle
Na'ama Flute
Lawrence Viol & Recorder
Liza Sackbut
Carol Dance Early Notation
Sally Bassoon
Daphna Recorder
Ros Viol
Patricia Recorder & Early Notation
Wendy Recorder & Early Notation
Sian Recorder
Gwyn Recorder & Flute
Daniel Renaissance reeds
Peter Harpsichord
Wouter Bassoon & Dulcian
Spiff Percussion

Festival FAQs

Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew Street, Allentown, PA
Closest Airport: Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE)
Approximately 7 miles from the Muhlenberg campus.
Trans-Bridge Lines offers service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC, and Newark Airport to the Allentown Transportation Center, 603 Linden Street, Allentown, PA (2.3 miles from campus)
Greyhound offers service from Philadelphia to the Allentown Transportation Center.

The meal card is $227 and covers one week of meals starting with dinner on July 2, (July 9 for week 2) thru breakfast on July 9, (July 16 for week 2). A la carte meal prices are $10 / $13.50 / $16.75 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

All rooms and classrooms are air-conditioned. Basic linens (sheets, pillow, and towels) are included. 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 AEM scholarships, send a one-page letter to Marilyn Boenau, the Executive Director of AEM, explaining your interest in early music or dance, your goal in attending the Festival, and your financial need. Email to Click here to show mail address.

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. To apply send a letter of inquiry to Click here to show mail address, with information about your interest in early music or dance.

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 17, 2023.

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. 

COVID-19 Policy

Rapid testing is required to attend the Festival. All participants, faculty, and staff will take three tests: on the day before arrival, day of arrival, and mid-week. Two-week people will test on the weekend of July 8-9 and mid-week in the second week. Bring an extra test in case more testing is needed.

Masking is optional. AEM reserves the right to require masking if conditions change.

Vaccinations and boosters are encouraged but not required. Anyone with symptoms, or feeling unwell should notify us immediately, and not attend any classes or events. Self evaluation: Before coming to the Festival if you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate Covid, regardless of test results, DO NOT COME. Notify us right away. Anyone who tests positive for Covid at the Festival will be moved to a room in an isolated wing, and have cafeteria meals delivered, or could leave campus.

The Festival is a congregate living environment where we live, play music and dance together for several days. Our main approach to preventing Covid will be testing, and, like last year, we need everyone to test and to let us know if they experience symptoms.

(Updated May 12, 2023)