Ensemble Singing Intensive

July 9-16, 2023

Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St
Allentown, PA 18104
United States


Directed by Michael Barrett
Faculty: Michael Barrett and Geoffrey Williams, with Emily Eagen, Daniel Johnson, and Temmo Korisheli

Amherst Early Music Festival, July 9-16, 2023

English Influencers

This summer, the Ensemble Singing Intensive program will explore repertoire from both England and continental Europe, examining how the special musical language of John Dunstable and his fellow English composers paved the way for the universal language of European polyphony in the later Renaissance. In the 1440's, Martin le Franc coined the phrase "English countenance" to describe the qualities that many Continental listeners observed in English polyphony: a penchant for sweet harmonies and smooth voice leading. The English approach was critical to the development of the international style of polyphony, spearheaded by Franco-Flemish composers, and a departure from the virtuosic intellectualism of the French Ars Nova of the 14th century.

ESI gives pre-professional and advanced amateur singers the opportunity to work closely with like-minded colleagues and professional coaches to refine their skill set for vocal chamber music performance. Students will participate in daily rehearsals, coachings, discussions, and masterclasses, working towards a performance at week's end. Along the way we will give special attention to the issue of singing in translation (both period and modern), and make connections between the twin "songs" of language and melody.

Audition Due date

April 1, 2023


Ensemble Singing Intensive Audition Information

To apply for the Ensemble Singing Intensive Program you will need to submit the following through our audition portal. The due date for applications is April 1, 2023.

  1. $30 registration fee
  2. Your resume or a brief description (one or two paragraphs) summarizing your musical background and experience, including formal and informal training and education.
  3. 10-15 minutes of music showing your technique, expression, and understanding of 16th -17th century style. The piece need not be accompanied. Please include composer and title information with your submission.

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 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: May 15.

Early Music America offers scholarships to help students attend early music and historical performance workshops in North America. Applications open March 1st, due April 10, 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

All participants, faculty, and staff at the AEMF 2023 must be fully vaccinated: 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna and at least one booster (preferably the bivalent booster). We will require submitting 2 rapid tests with negative results along with proof of vaccination.  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 be moved to a room in an isolated wing, and have cafeteria meals delivered, or could leave campus.
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 January 31, 2023).