European Day of Early Music, March 21st
The European Day of Early Music, held annually on March 21st, is a key day for all involved in the Early Music scene. For the sixth consecutive year on the occasion of Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday – this year marks his 333rd anniversary – numerous simultaneous events, concerts, public rehearsals and conferences across Europe, in some cases broadcast on radio or streamed live on Facebook, will come together to form an exceptional contribution to the historical, musical heritage. “Early Music” encompasses music spanning over a millennium – from the early middle ages to the end of the 18th century. This year, more than 80 organizations and culturally-engaged professionals are supporting the European Day of Early Music (as of March 14th, 2018 – registration is open until March 21st).
Supporters in previous years have included UNESCO, the European Culture Commission, Jordi Savall, William Christie, René Jacobs, Enrico Onofri, Olga Pashchenko and Hervé Niquet, among others. This year, REMA was able to gain France Musique as a media partner who will dedicate a special program to this day.
Skip Sempé will act as ambassador in 2018. The American harpsichordist, organist, musicologist, conductor and founder of the ensemble Capriccio Stravagante represents the musical and cultural abundance the day has to offer. A constantly-updated list of all events is available under www.earlymusicday.eu. In Germany, the International Handel Festival in Göttingen in cooperation with the NDR (Northern German Broadcasting) under hndl.de/edem will provide a stream of the 2017 festival opera, “Lotario”, for seven days starting on March 21st. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Freiburger Barockorchester will participate in the European Day of Early Music this year for the first time. The foundation Händel-Haus Halle will present “Hail! Bright Cecilia”, 'Schallspiele' concerts for children aged six and above. ZAMUS – the center for Early Music in Cologne, will perform “Lord Nelson am Nil” which can be heard live on March 21st on the ZAMUS Facebook page. Moreover, the Köthener Bach-Festtage will be involved as well with EINE HAUSMUSIK BEI BACH – 333rd Bach anniversary on March 21st, 2018 – this concert will also be streamed live on Facebook.
England and Scandinavia will also be taking part in the European Day of Early Music with numerous events. In Denmark, the Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival will participate with an organ concert in Ansgars Church in Odense. In the Paraisten Church in Pargas, Finland, the organist, Tomi Satomaa, will present a celebration of Bach's anniversary entitled “BACH333”. The Swedish Stockholm Early Music Festival (SEMF) performs works by Schütz, Scheidt and Boltzius, among others, in “Thirty years of music and tears” whilst in the Stockholm Church Sankta Eugenia, an organ concert, “J.S. Bach 333 Years!” can be heard.
England will be participating with six events: the lutenist, Thomas Dunford, plays a “Concert by candlelight” with works by J.S. Bach and Dowland in Margaret’s Church in York. Handel's “Acis and Galatea” will be heard in London's St. John’s Smith Square. Also in London, in the Guildhall of Music and Drama, the Cantata Ensemble will sing works by Handel and Buxtehude. The Brighton Early Music Festival (BREMF) will present “A Cappella Europa – 7 Centuries of Song” in St. Martin’s Church in Brighton. John Erik Schelander performs “Songs of the Troubadours” in the Mill Hill Chapel in Leeds. On the evening before, the 20th, in the chapel of the Magdalen College in Oxford, Tasto Solo will present a thrilling world premiere program, “Or su, gentili spiriti“, featuring Italian Trecento composers.
REMA Early Music Award 2018 for Museum San Colombano and Dame Emma Kirkby
In its third year, the REMA Early Music Award was awarded to the Museum San Colombano in Bologna (Italy) for its unique and valuable collection with over 90 working early instruments. The British soprano, Dame Emma Kirkby, received the REMA Early Music Artist Award. The award ceremony took place on January 21st, 2018, on the occasion of a concert of the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble in Malta. Previous REMA Early Music Awards were awarded in 2015 to the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and the Hilliard Ensemble, and in 2016 to the project Early Music Sources and to the singer, composer, harpist and artist, Benjamin Bagby.
As a European network for early music, REMA (Réseau Européen de Musique Ancienne) unites 80 organizations and festivals from 20 countries that specialize in Early Music. Founded in 2000 in the French Ambronay, REMA is now situated in Versailles. The high number, quality and diversity of organizations contribute to the strength of the network. Most members come from France, Benelux, Germany and Italy including, for example, the Centre culturel de rencontre d’Ambronay (FR), the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci (D) as well as the Händelfestspiele in Göttingen, Halle and Karlsruhe (D), the National Centre for Early Music in York (GB), the Oude Muziek Festival in Utrecht (NL) and the MAfestival in Bruges (BE). REMA regularly organizes conferences and has its own web radio station, www.remaradio.eu, that is dedicated to Early Music in general with an additional focus on REMA institutions and young artists. REMA receives financial support from the European Commission through the Creative Europe Program and from the French Ministry of Culture, among others.