Early Music America Announces Annual Awards

1 Jun 2010

(SEATTLE, WA) Early Music America, the national service organization for the field of early music, announces the winners of its 2010 awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments in early music. These awards will be presented at the EMA Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the Berkeley Festival on June 11, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA.

Benjamin Bagby will receive the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music. Vocalist, harpist and medievalist Benjamin Bagby has been an important figure in the field of medieval musical performance for almost 30 years. Bagby was born near Chicago. At age 16, he was captivated by the medieval music he heard in a concert of the New York Pro Musica. Soon thereafter he started his own medieval music garage band with some high school friends, and has basically been doing the same thing ever since. He immersed himself in the music library at nearby Northwestern University and was able to attend performances of Howard Mayer Brown’s early music ensemble at the University of Chicago. After musical and language studies (Oberlin Conservatory and Oberlin College) and graduate study in Switzerland with Thomas Binkley and Andrea von Ramm (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis), he and the late Barbara Thornton formed Sequentia in 1977 in Cologne, Germany. The ensemble was based there until 2001 when Mr. Bagby – following Ms. Thornton’s tragic death in 1998 – moved to Paris. The years since 1977 have been almost entirely devoted to the work of Sequentia, with performances in Europe, North & South America, Africa, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, and Australia. Sequentia’s discography of 30 recordings encompasses the entire spectrum of medieval musical practice (www.sequentia.org). Although Bagby has lived in Europe since 1974, his links to North America have always remained strong and Sequentia’s large roster of guest musicians is a who’s who of North American artists. Apart from the research and ensemble work of Sequentia, Mr. Bagby devotes his time to the solo performance of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic oral poetry; an acclaimed performance of the Beowulf epic is an ongoing project, with performances given yearly worldwide (see: www.bagbybeowulf.com), and a DVD production released in 2007. Mr. Bagby has written about performance practice, with articles appearing in Early Music, Early Music America, in the Performer’s Guide to Medieval Music (IU Press) edited by Ross Duffin, in the Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis, and in a recent collection of essays, Performing Medieval Narrative, edited by Nancy Regalado (NYU). As a teacher, he has given courses and workshops all over the world. The most important of his North American teaching venues is the intensive summer medieval music course held regularly under the auspices of Early Music Vancouver. Since its inception in 1984, this unique course has helped to train literally hundreds of musicians – including many of today’s professional performers. He is currently on the music faculty of the Université de Paris, Sorbonne, where he teaches in the master’s program for medieval music performance.

William Mahrt will receive the Thomas Binkley Award for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college Collegium Musicum. William Mahrt grew up in Washington State; after attending Gonzaga University and the University of Washington, he completed a doctorate at Stanford University in 1969, with a dissertation on "The Missae ad organum of Heinrich Isaac." He taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Eastman School of Music, and then returned to Stanford in 1972, where he continues to teach early music. Since 1972 he has directed the Stanford Early Music Singers, which presents quarterly concerts of music from the late Middle Ages through the early Baroque; these have included a cycle of all the Masses of Josquin Des Pres as well as a series of concerts in the form of historical vespers services. Since 1964 (1964-69, 1973-present) he has directed the St. Ann Choir in Palo Alto, which sings Mass and Vespers in Gregorian chant on all the Sundays of the year, with Masses in the polyphonic music of Renaissance masters for the holy days. He frequently leads workshops in the singing of Gregorian chant and the sacred music of the Renaissance. He has published articles on the relation of music and liturgy, and music and poetry, as well as on the music of Machaut, Dufay, Lasso, Byrd, and Brahms. He is President of the Church Music Association of America and editor of its journal, Sacred Music.

Judith Davidoff is the recipient of the Lifetime Early Music Outreach Award in recognition of her lifetime achievement in early music outreach. Judith Davidoff’s career in early music spans five decades. She studied the viol with Alison Fowle and holds a Soloist Diploma in cello from the Longy School of Music. She began her career in early music as a member of the Boston Camerata. She moved to New York City in 1965 to play with the New York Pro Musica and founded the New York Pro Musica Consort of Viols (now called the New York Consort of Viols). She created a master’s degree program in the performance of early music at Sarah Lawrence College. Judith received a doctorate from the Union Institute in 1995. Her research culminated in an annotated catalogue of contemporary music for the viol. Judith is now on the Sarah Lawrence College faculty as director of the collegium and teacher of viol. She is also on the music faculty of Columbia Teachers College. The New York Consort of Viols is in residence at the Church of the Transfiguration where each season members of the church’s boys choir are taught to play the viol by members of the Consort and participate in a concert. Other outreach activities include regular visits to a preschool in Harlem.

Phillip Serna is the recipient of the Early Music Outreach Award, which honors ensembles or individual artists for excellence in early music outreach and/or educational projects for children or adults. Phillip Serna is instructor of double bass and viola da gamba at Valparaiso University, and is on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Early Music Department. Since its inception in 2006, Phillip Serna’s Viols in Our Schools program has worked to make period-instrument performance for viols a vital part of school communities in locations ranging from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Texas. With over 35 events and 80 hours of classroom time this season, these programs seek to educate, inform and inspire the next generation of early music enthusiasts, performers and scholars by presenting to students ranging from kindergarten through college age. Phillip has performed on double bass with many Midwest orchestras and on viols and vielle with early music ensembles including Ars Antigua, the Chicago Early Music Consort, the Newberry Consort and the Spirit of Gambo - a Chicago Consort of Viols. Phillip received his Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where he studied viol with Mary Springfels. Phillip is currently president of the Viola da Gamba Society Third Coast, the Chicago chapter of the VdGSA.


Maria Coldwell, Executive Director
(206) 720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT
info@earlymusic.org; www.earlymusic.org


About Early Music America
Early Music America serves and strengthens the early music community in North America and raises public awareness of early music. EMA was founded in 1985 and provides its 3,000 members with publications, advocacy, and technical support. EMA publishes the quarterly magazine Early Music America. “Early music” includes western music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods, performed on period instruments in historically-informed styles. For more information, contact Early Music America at 206-720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT, or visit our web site at www.earlymusic.org.