August 13-20 // Plymouth, MA

Renaissance and Baroque music for advanced musicians and singers

During Early Music Week at Pinewoods.

The Advanced Ensemble Intensive program offers a week-long focus on small ensembles led by Frances Fitch, Michael Barrett, Emily O’Brien and Lisa Terry.

Program Description

Open to singers and instrumentalists (string, wind, and keyboard players) with advanced reading skills and solid technique, the Advanced Ensemble Intensive offers a week-long focus on small ensembles, which may include matched or mixed consorts, vocal groups, or ensembles with continuo. Participants should be ready to work semi-independently as well as with a coach, and ensembles will have the opportunity to play for and give feedback to each other.

The second morning period is left free so that members of Advanced Ensemble Intensive may enjoy the English country dance classes that help to make CDSS Early Music Week unique among summer workshops. During the second afternoon period, participants may continue to work independently or may join the All-Camp Collegium. All are encouraged to dance every evening with the rest of the camp participants.

All classes with viols will be held in enclosed spaces to minimize the effects of the inevitable humidity of our pond-side setting.

Course Details and Participation Requirements

The Advanced Ensemble Intensive is intended for players interested in working on their ensemble skills.  Participants must be fluent with voice or on all instruments in a family, and able to:

  • sight read all but the most virtuosic music
  • play most of the ensemble repertory at an appropriate tempo without getting lost
  • apply stylistic elements (articulations, bowings, ornaments, etc.) appropriately

Participants must have some familiarity with historical notation, or the willingness to learn more about it.

Course Leaders

Frances Conover Fitch has toured extensively in North America and Europe and performs with many prominent early music ensembles. She helped found the groundbreaking ensemble for 17th-century music, Concerto Castello, and has been described as a “delightfully inventive and compelling” continuo player. Ms. Fitch has participated in major music festivals, including Tanglewood, Aix-en-Provence, Pepsico Summerfare, Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Festival de Musica Antigua in Mexico. Ms. Fitch has made more than a dozen recordings, including a double CD of music by Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, featuring something from every compositional genre she explored. Her playing has been noted for its “precision and delicacy of wit.” She was a member of the faculty of the Longy School of Music for nearly three decades, and served as Chair of the Early Music department there. In 2006, Longy awarded her the George Seaman Award for Excellence in the Art of Teaching. Ms. Fitch is on the faculties of Tufts and Brandeis Universities and The New England Conservatory. In 2012-13, she was Guest Professor at Ferris University in Yokohama, Japan. With Jack Ashworth of the University of Louisville, she is co-author of the figured bass workbook, Running the Numbers. She also maintains a private studio in the Boston area, and is Minister of Music at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, MA.

Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett is a Boston-based conductor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and teacher. He serves as music director of The Boston Cecilia and Convivium Musicum. Michael is also an Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music, where he teaches courses in conducting and European music history, and was recently appointed as Interim Director of the Five College Early Music Program, where he directs the Five College Collegium.

Michael has performed with many professional early music ensembles, including Blue Heron, the Boston Camerata, the Huelgas Ensemble, Vox Luminis, the Handel & Haydn Society, Nederlandse Bachvereniging (Netherlands Bach Society), Seven Times Salt, Schola Cantorum of Boston, and Nota Bene, and can be heard on the harmonia mundi, Blue Heron, Coro, and Toccata Classics record labels.

Michael holds degrees in music (AB, Harvard University), voice (First Phase Diploma, Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands), and choral conducting (MM, Indiana University; DMA, Boston University).

Emily O'Brien

Emily O’Brien is from Washington, DC, where she played recorder from a young age. She studied recorder and french horn at Boston University, and recorder and Baroque flute at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, Germany. She performs in recorder ensembles and historical chamber music, as well as English Country Dance bands. As a teacher, she works with private students and ensembles in the Boston area and at summer workshops. Emily’s solo album “Fantasies for a Modern Recorder” explores the variety and possibilities over four centuries of repertoire offered by the Helder Harmonic Tenor recorder, including a variety of flute and violin music usually inaccessible to the recorder as well as new works commissioned for the project. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance cycling.

Lisa Terry (viola da gamba, violoncello) practices, performs and teaches viola da gamba and violoncello in New York City, where she is a member of Parthenia and the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton). Lisa is principal cellist and viol soloist with Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra, and she serves the Viola da Gamba Society of America as Past-President. Lisa teaches viola da gamba and cello privately in New York and at workshops around the country, with expertise in technique analysis and discovery; baroque viol solo repertoire; lyra viol; and ensemble coaching (especially ‘how to work well as a chamber ensemble’). She was a founding member of ARTEK, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Juilliard Opera Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Winter Park Bach Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Concert Royal, New York Collegium, American Classical Orchestra, Four Nations Ensemble, Santa Fe Pro Musica and Chicago Opera Theatre.

Registration and Fees

The fee for the program is $990.

To apply for this course, after you register for camp, you will be directed to fill out a survey.  Survey responses are requested as soon as possible, but by March 15 at the latest.

Survey questions:

  1. Describe your experience playing ensemble music at an advanced level.
  2. List the instrument(s) you would like to play or the voice part that you sing.
  3. Describe the types of ensembles you would enjoy (i.e. chamber group with continuo, like-instrument consort, mixed instrument consort).
  4. Are there types of ensembles or repertoire that you are not interested in?
  5. Provide contact information for a teacher or conductor you’ve worked with.

If the course is over-subscribed on March 15, preference will be given to more experienced musicians.