Sunday, June 6, 2010

Early Music in San Francisco

I arrived on Thursday in beautiful San Francisco for concerts with the Wildcat Viol Consort (Julie Jeffrey, Joanna Blendulf, & Elizabeth Reed). No, there is no funny connection with their group and mine and cats. Wildcat is a canyon just down the road, and "catacoustic" means reflecting sounds. We are performing Purcell viol fantasies in a concert for the Berkeley Early Music Festival and the Ojai Music Festival. The consort sounds amazing, and friends of Catacoustic would recognize Julie and Joanna as frequent guest artists.While Elizabeth has yet to play in Cincinnati, I hope that she will join us soon!
It is wonderful to be in San Francisco: good food, exciting stores, diverse population, and it is nice to escape the Cincinnati summer weather for a few days! What I find especially intriguing is the culture for early music here. This city boasts the SFEMS series (Catacoustic has performed on this series twice,, the Berkeley Early Music Festival (, an astonishing number of professional viol players (last count was 16!), a full-time professional baroque orchestra (Philharmonia Baroque, with the superstar conductor Nicolas McGegan, and a whopping 43 early music organizations. This city is an inspiring model for Cincinnati. It would be wonderful for my home to become a center for early music like San Francisco! Why not? Cincinnati is a true center for the arts: home to one of the finest orchestras in the world, has an excellent music conservatory, is home of the Fine Arts Fund, has an excellent cost of living, and is within close proximity to two of the leading universities in this country for early music studies (Indiana University and Oberlin Conservatory).
What does it take for a city to become such an exciting center for early music? I plan to spend time here asking people this question.What do you think? What can Cincinnati do? What can Catacoustic do to further encourage more concerts of early music, amateur musicians to take up early music instruments, and professional performers to move here?

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