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Thread: Conservatories with great historically informed/early music programs?

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    Default Conservatories with great historically informed/early music programs?

    I will be 18 in a few weeks and am in the midst of my search for conservatories to attend in Autumn 2019. My primary instruments are violin and organ, which I have been playing for 12 and 7 years respectively, but I can also other keyboard instruments like the harpsichord and (sigh) piano quite well. My interests and musical passion is 100% historically informed performance, playing early music on historically correct instruments using historically correct techniques, so I want to attend a conservatory that's strong in that area, so that I'm not spending years mostly playing instruments and repertoire that aren't relevant to what I want to do.


    I'm wondering which schools have the best early music programs? Thank you.

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    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HIPPster View Post
    I will be 18 in a few weeks and am in the midst of my search for conservatories to attend in Autumn 2019. My primary instruments are violin and organ, which I have been playing for 12 and 7 years respectively, but I can also other keyboard instruments like the harpsichord and (sigh) piano quite well. My interests and musical passion is 100% historically informed performance, playing early music on historically correct instruments using historically correct techniques, so I want to attend a conservatory that's strong in that area, so that I'm not spending years mostly playing instruments and repertoire that aren't relevant to what I want to do.

    I'm wondering which schools have the best early music programs? Thank you.
    Amsterdam, Sweelinck Academy maybe?
    https://www.conservatoriumvanamsterd...music/faculty/

    Not a musician myself, but the + of Amsterdam, NL is you'll be in a city/country filled with great historical organs, lots of them from the 17th and 18th century.

    Just an idea.
    Best of luck!

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Just a few more, I am not a musician either:

    - Royal College of Music
    http://www.rcm.ac.uk/hp/

    - Guildhall School
    https://www.gsmd.ac.uk/music/princip...rformance.html

    - Glasgow
    https://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/t...mancepractice/

    - Freiburg Hochschule
    https://www.mh-freiburg.de/en/univer...he-university/

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Early music schools and workshops:
    http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/misc/schools.htm

    Just about everybody has a social network page, sometimes with individual email addresses. Contact some of your favorite groups and musicians and see where they were trained. Don’t leave anything to chance. If you’re exceptionally good, you might end up playing with one of them some day, if that might interest you.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Aug-04-2018 at 12:52.
    Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. —Ray Bradbury

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    Quote Originally Posted by HIPPster View Post
    I will be 18 in a few weeks and am in the midst of my search for conservatories to attend in Autumn 2019. My primary instruments are violin and organ, which I have been playing for 12 and 7 years respectively, but I can also other keyboard instruments like the harpsichord and (sigh) piano quite well. My interests and musical passion is 100% historically informed performance, playing early music on historically correct instruments using historically correct techniques, so I want to attend a conservatory that's strong in that area, so that I'm not spending years mostly playing instruments and repertoire that aren't relevant to what I want to do.


    I'm wondering which schools have the best early music programs? Thank you.
    My advice to you is to write to an organist or violinist or harpsichord player who you think is particularly inspiring and ask the question. They’ll be very friendly and helpful I’m sure.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-05-2018 at 14:40.

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    A conservatory is only as strong as its current faculty. I'd suggest that you find out who you most admire among contemporary musicians in the early music field today, and then narrow your choice down from there. If there's a musician that you particularly admire and they don't teach, find out who they studied with, as that person may still be teaching. Also, if they don't currently teach at a music conservatory, they may give master classes. Find out where, as that may be a place you wish to study.

    In North America, some of the more notable city centers for early music include Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Berkeley, & Bloomington (Jacobs School), and maybe Ithaca (Cornell University), Rochester (Eastman School of Music), and Oberlin (Oberlin Conservatory). (I'm not sure about the Juilliard School in NYC or the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, but they must have early music departments by now. Seattle, Cleveland, Vancouver, & Portland Oregon may be possibilities too.) In Europe, the Netherlands and Belgium are traditionally very strong centers for early music--including Bruges, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Brussels, The Hague (& possibly Ghent?); as well as London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, Köln, Freiburg, Berlin, Basel (the Schola Cantorum), Geneva, Barcelona, and I assume various cities in Italy (given the many exceptional Italian period violinists today).

    For starters, here are some suggestions of musicians in the early music field that you should be familiar with (& if you aren't, you can sample their playing on You Tube). I'd suggest that you figure out which of these musicians' playing you most admire (& who you may not care for as much), and then find out where they teach, and/or who they studied with:

    Violinists: Stanley Ritchie (Bloomington, Jacobs School), Pablo Valetti, Ingrid Matthews, Alina Ibragimova (modern & period violin), Monica Huggett, Chiara Banchini, Helene Schmitt, Enrico Onofri, Fabio Biondi, Enrico Casazza, Enrico Gatti, Stefano Montanari, Florian Deuter, Elizabeth Blumenstock, François Fernandez, Jaap Schröder, Amadine Beyer, Reinhard Goebel, Anton Steck (as soloist and 1st violin in the Schuppanzigh Quartet), Jeanne Lamon, Gunar Letzbor, Petra Mülljeans, Gottfried von der Goltz, Rachel Podger, Andrew Manze, Simon Standage, Emlyn Ngai, Giuliano Carmignola, Elizabeth Wallfisch, John Holloway, Ceciila Bernardini, and Sigiswald Kuijken.

    Personally, I'd probably try to study with Stanley Ritchie, Alina Ibragimova, Reinhard Goebel, Anton Steck, Elizabeth Blumenstock, Chiara Banchini, or Pablo Valetti myself, if I were in your position.

    https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Sonatas-...natas+partitas

    https://www.amazon.com/Haydn-Sun-Qua...oscuro+quartet
    https://www.amazon.com/Bach-J-S-Conc...ina+ibragimova
    https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Sonatas-...+bach+partitas

    https://www.amazon.com/Biber-Mystery...d+goebel+biber

    https://www.amazon.com/Haydn-String-...+quartet+haydn
    https://www.amazon.com/1-Haydn-Strin...+quartet+haydn
    https://www.amazon.com/Haydn-String-...+quartet+haydn
    https://www.amazon.com/Porpora-Chris...n+steck+rieger

    https://www.amazon.com/Bach-suonate-...o+valetti+bach

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pfo...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    Harpsichordists: Bob van Asperen (harpsichordist & organist), Pascal Dubreuil, Trevor Pinnock, Leon Berben (harpsichordist & organist), Christophe Rousset, Pierre Hantai, Jan Katzschke (harpsichordist & organist), Virginia Black (harpsichordist & pianist), Ton Koopman (harpsichordist & organist), Eric Milnes, Oliver Fortin, Colin Tilney, Bertrand Cuiller, Wolfgang Rubsam (organist & harpsichordist), Christian Rieger, Fabio Bonizzoni, Celine Frisch, Ketil Haugsand, Davitt Moroney, Andras Staier, Glen Wilson, Francesco Cera, Edward Parmentier, Christine Schornsheim, Arthur Haas, Jory Vinikour, Olivier Baumont, Skip Sempe, John Butt, Richard Egarr, Kenneth Gilbert, Peter Watchorn, and Blandine Rannou. Students of the late Gustav Leonhardt.

    I'd most want to study with Bob Van Asperen myself, if I were in your position, or perhaps another student of Leonhardt's, if Asperen doesn't teach anymore. Otherwise, I'd probably look to study with Leon Berben, Pascal Dubreuil, Trevor Pinnock, Fabio Bonizzoni, Eric Milnes, Ton Koopman, or Pierre Hantai.

    Fortepianists: Malcolm Bilson--Cornell University & Eastman School of Music (or students of Bilson), Kristian Bezuidenhout (student of Bilson), Jos van Immerseel, Steven Lubin, Daniel Isoir, Colin Tilney, Robert Levin, Gary Cooper, Arthur Schoonderwoerd, Alexei Lubimov, Paul Badura-Skoda, Jan Vermeulen, Piet Kuijken, Christine Schornsheim, Andras Staier, Bart van Oort, Viviana Sofronitsky (daughter of the legendary Russian pianist Vladimir Sofronitsky) and Ronald Brautigam.

    I'd most want to study with Malcolm Bilson (or Steven Lubin) myself. After that, I might pick Badura-Skoda, Immerseel, Isoir, Tilney, or Brautigam. But any of the forte pianists listed above would be excellent choices, in my view.

    And of course it may be more fruitful for you to look beyond my lists above, to other musicians.

    Once you narrow your choices down, I'd suggest that you listen extensively to the recordings by the musicians you've come to most admire (in order to better decide what their strengths are, & what their weaknesses are?--as those weaknesses are something you'll have to contend with and avoid, if you study with them), and to prioritize which teacher or teachers you'd most like to study with. If they teach at a school, their emails should be obtainable from the schools' website under the faculty listing. You can then contact them with any questions you may have. I would imagine any musician is going to be impressed with a young student-musician that knows and loves their playing and strongly wants to study with them.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Aug-06-2018 at 03:04.

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