Central Program

August 7-21, 2022

Northampton Community College
3835 Green Pond Rd
Bethlehem, PA 18020
United States


Frances Blaker, Festival director

Central Program classes run both weeks of the Amherst Early Music Festival, August 7-14, and 14-21.

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.

Central Program Classes*
Week 1 Morning Classes
Week 1 Afternoon Classes
Week 2 Morning Classes
Week 2 Afternoon Classes

Choose your classes here!

You will be asked to fill out a short form about your musical skills and background and to make three ranked choices for each class period (1 or 2 for late morning.)

*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 this form to choose a class.

Audit* a Master Class! In a Master Class, students come prepared to perform a piece they have been working on, whether solo or with continuo. Each student gets a turn or two to perform in class, receiving critique from the instructor. Students who choose to audit the class are passive members of the class, listening to all sessions and taking notes for their own future practice. This is a very valuable learning opportunity: one learns not just the nuts and bolts of playing a particular piece, but also things that come up about the art of performance, about historical practices (bowing, articulation, ornamentation, and the like), repertoire, and more. See instrument or voice sections for Master Class details. Note that some Baroque Academy Master Classes are open to Central Program participants with permission of the instructor.

*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.

We are excited to offer a Medieval Track during week 2 of the Amherst Summer Festival, which will allow students to create their entire daily schedule choosing from repertoire topics and technique sessions dedicated to their instrument and/or voice entirely focused on music before 1500. A practical exploration of medieval music is always closely linked with inquiries into performance practice, including instrument iconography, modes of musical transmission, memorization and improvisation, ornamentation, medieval music theory, and even gaining a sense of how medieval European society was structured, and in what ways this structure in turn influenced the musical practice at the time. In short, a week-long immersion into medieval music practice, guided by a wonderful faculty of leading experts in their field, lets you step back in time and bring to vibrant life sounds and songs from the distant past.

Scheduled Classes run Monday through Friday, with four class periods per day. Tuition for 4 class periods per week is $675. Part time tuition (2 class periods) is $425. 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.



Recorder class in concert at the Festival


Frances Recorder
Letitia Recorder
Patricia Early Notation Recorder
Wendy Early Notation Recorder
Saskia Recorder
Aldo Recorder
Miyo Recorder
Vicki Recorder
Priscilla Renaissance reeds
Annette Recorder Early Notation
Rainer Recorder
Na'ama Flute
Carol Dance Early Notation
Sian Recorder
Peter Violin
Loren Viol
Ros Viol
Wouter Bassoon Dulcian
Marilyn Bassoon Dulcian
Meg Oboe
Joan Renaissance reeds
Tracy Voice
Emily Voice
Daniel Voice
Drew Voice
Kaspar Dance
Alissa Harpsichord
Peter Harpsichord
Leon Harpsichord
Kathryn Harpsichord

Festival COVID-19 Policy

All participants, faculty, and staff at the AEMF 2022 must be fully vaccinated: 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna and at least one booster OR 1 dose of J&J and at least one booster. We will no longer require a PCR test, but will require submitting 2 rapid tests with negative results.  The first test should be the day before arriving at the Festival, and the second one on the arrival day, or upon arriving at the Festival.

Each person should bring an additional 3 rapid tests per week for ongoing testing. Anyone who tests positive for Covid at the Festival will have to leave as there is no possibility of quarantining on campus. In the event that you have to leave because of Covid, your pro-rated tuition and housing charges will be refunded.
Masking: we will be masked at all times indoors unless playing a wind instrument or eating. (Receptions will be held outside, no masks needed.)
These protocols are the strictest we will have. If the Covid situation improves markedly we may relax some of these policies. Any changes will be announced prior to the Festival and updated on our website. (Updated June 24, 2022).

Scholarships & Work-Study


All participants are welcome to apply for tuition assistance through AEM's Work-Study program. Notice of awards will be sent in late May. Fill out the Work-Study application here to apply. 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 and your goal in attending the Festival. 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: March 31.

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.