All across North America, musicians, ensembles, publications, broadcasters and music lovers are celebrating Early Music Month throughout March. There is plenty to celebrate! Thanks to decades of renewed interest in baroque and early music, there are many terrific musicians with expertise and sensitivity for the repertory, and the level of performing quality and scholarly expertise has never been higher. Recordings of outstanding performances are readily available, from the beloved and familiar repertory to less well-known composers and compositions. Baroque and early music are more integrated into the mainstream music scene than they were in the past, and are now less likely to be treated as a curious sideline or oddity. Musicians who cultivated their expertise playing early instruments or leading period instrument groups are now routinely branching out to lead modern orchestras, too.
For example, I recently attended a performance of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra led by renowned Bach expert Ton Koopman. The concert was thrilling! It’s a great orchestra, and it was wonderful to see the players in different and smaller configurations playing an all-Baroque program. Their body language was freer than usual and their faces were beaming — it was a true collaboration and musical conversation between the players, and the resulting performance was electric! Many communities have terrific musicians and ensembles who specialize in playing baroque and early music, and some are also celebrating Early Music Month with special concerts, workshops, and other events. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of music by attending one of these events in your community. And as always, listen to Sunday Baroque! Find out more about this month-long annual celebration at earlymusicamerica.org