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Aug 2

Cambridge Early Music Renaissance Week

August 2 @ 4:00 pm - August 9 @ 10:00 am BST

CEMSS 2019 Renaissance Summer School © Paul Ashley

About the Renaissance Week

  • The Triumphs of Maximilian: Music from the time of Emperor Maximilian I
  • Courtiers of Grace

At eighteen, Maximilian I (1459–1519) married Mary of Burgundy (‘Mary the Rich’), and at her court developed the profound love and knowledge of music and musicians which he later put to good use in the foundation of his own court. He inherited musicians from his father, father-in-law and cousin, and gathered about him an unparalleled musical establishment.

This week will focus on music from Maximilian’s time, and particularly from his circle: court composers Heinrich Isaac and Ludwig Senfl and celebrated organist-composer Paul Hofhaimer will be central figures.

​This residential week will be the perfect opportunity to make new friends through old music, and to develop your skills under the guidance of a world-class team of tutors. Open to viols, reeds, cornetts, sackbuts, recorders, lutes and confident singers of all voice types.

Our centrepiece will be Isaac’s Missa Wohlauf gut G’sell von hinnen; in smaller consorts we will explore, amongst other things, the domestic repertoire found in the intimate Liederbuch collections of the early 16th century German private home, such as the stunning Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen (a poem attributed to Maximilian himself).


Course leaders

  • Gawain Glenton: course co-director & cornetto
  • Clare Wilkinson: course co-director & voice
  • Uri Smilansky: viols & recorders
  • William Lyons: flutes, recorders, reeds & pipes
  • Jacob Heringman: ​lutes


Is the Renaissance course for me?

We welcome applications from confident singers, and from players of Renaissance instruments at A=440 including viols, lutes, Renaissance recorders and flutes, cornetts, sackbuts, crumhorns, shawms and curtals.

Recorder players should be familiar with all instruments in the descant to bass range, unless offering another instrument or voice as well; viol players are encourage to bring Renaissance as well as Baroque instruments, but it might be possible to borrow Renaissance viols during the course.

All applicants should have a good standard of sight-reading and be able to hold a line confidently on their own. Singers may be encouraged to take solo parts as well as singing in ensembles. Those applying as instrumentalists will also have opportunities to sing if they wish. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.

Pre-formed vocal consorts are especially encouraged to apply.


From a previous participant

Anastassia (Soprano) – 2015 Baroque & Renaissance courses

‘I instantly felt a connection with each and every person there, and it was a wonderful feeling. The tutors are exceptionally knowledgeable and are full of enthusiasm about the music, which infects all participants, and that makes rehearsals exciting and engaging.’



A typical day’s schedule might be:

  • 09.30 vocal or instrumental consort groups
  • 11.00 coffee
  • 11.30 mixed vocal/instrumental groups
  • 13.00 lunch break
  • 13.30 free time / self-organised groups
  • 16.00 tea
  • 16.30 choice of masterclasses/workshops
  • 18.30 dinner
  • 19.30 tutti session for large-scale works

The tutors will offer coaching and workshops on various aspects of Renaissance performance. Music will be provided, but you are also encouraged to bring your own sets of parts and scores if you wish. Alternatively, feel free to join the growing number of people saving paper by using iPads and downloading music from the course Dropbox.

Participants should arrive in time for the concert at 4pm on Sunday 2 August. The course ends with breakfast on Sunday 9 August.



  • 2 August, 4pm: the course begins with a short lecture-recital given by the tutors in the College Chapel
  • 5 August, 8pm: Courtiers of Grace will give an evening concert at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, in central Cambridge. Pre-concert talk by Dr Grantley McDonald will start at 7pm
  • 7 August, 7.30pm: there will be a chance for students to perform their own choice of music to other participants in an informal setting
  • 8 August, 7.30pm: on the final evening, course members will participate in a public concert, performing works studied during the week, at Emmanuel United Reformed Church


Applications and fees

Applications will be acknowledged but may not be accepted until April, by when we hope to have a workable balance of voices and instruments. You will then be informed if your application has succeeded, and your deposit will be returned if not.

Fees shown below for our 2020 summer schools are per course. Early bird discount of £25 will apply for bookings made by 28 February 2020. This discount will be included in the prices displayed in the booking form.

Please visit the Cambridge Early Music website for full information about bookings.

Bookings close on 19 June 2020.


Residential fees

  • Single room with bathroom shared between 5-6 people: £950 per person
  • En-suite single room (limited availability): £1,150 per person
  • ​En-suite double room (limited availability): £2,125 per two persons

​Non-residential fees

  • £750 per person


  • We make every effort to assist with bursaries where appropriate.  Please see our Bursaries page for details.


Header photo: Cambridge Early Music Summer School 2019 Renaissance Summer School © Paul Ashley


August 2 @ 4:00 pm BST
August 9 @ 10:00 am BST
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St Catharine’s College Cambridge
Trumpington St
Cambridge, CB2 1RL United Kingdom
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