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Madison Early Music Festival

  • UW Humanities Building 455 North Park Street Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

UW’s annual celebration of centuries-old musical traditions continues with a concert series (titled A Cabinet of Curiosities: Journey to Lübeck) focusing on music from Northern Germany during the Protestant Reformation. Works from this time period would go on to influence Baroque-era composers Handel and Bach as well as activists such as Martin Luther. The series includes performances from local and touring early music ensembles, including Baroque band Quicksilver, the Renaissance re-enactors Piffaro (pictured), and public lectures and dance lessons by university faculty. Find the full schedule at

press release: The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arts Institute announces the 19th annual Madison Early Music Festival (MEMF) Workshop and Concert Series, “A Cabinet of Curiosities: Journey to Lübeck” from July 7-14, 2018 on the UW–Madison campus. MEMF will explore the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and how the shifts in religion and 16th century printed materials, including music, changed the world. MEMF will feature music from Northern Germany, including Italian and German sacred music from the recently discovered Choir Library at the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) in Lübeck, Germany. MEMF is also presented in partnership with the Mead Witter School of Music.

The musical history of the Marienkirche began in the 14th century, and by the late 1600s included a legacy of organists, including Franz Tunder and Dieterich Buxtehude. Buxtehude attracted musicians from all over Europe, including George Frideric Handel, Georg Phillipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Concert series:

The MEMF Festival Concert Series features four Guest Ensemble Concerts, two MEMF Participant Concerts and a culminating All-Festival Concert. All evening concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall (Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.) with free pre-concert lectures at 6:30 p.m. unless noted otherwise. Individual concert tickets are $20 ($10 students) unless noted otherwise. The week-long Festival Concert Pass is $90. Concert tickets are available at the Campus Arts Ticketing Box Office (Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.), online, (608) 265-2787 or at the door. There will be a $4 convenience fee on phone and online orders.


Saturday, July 7: QuicksilverWunderkammer: A Cabinet of Wonder from the 17th Century

Sunday, July 8: Piffaro, The Renaissance BandBack Before Bach: A Musical Journey

Tuesday, July 10: Abendmusik, James Kennerley, John Chappell Stowe and Bruce Bengtson, organists

Friday, July 13: MEMF Participant Concert (1 pm, free)

Friday, July 13: Schola AntiquaVoices Across the Divide

Saturday, July 14: MEMF Advanced Loud Band Concert (2 pm, free)

Saturday, July 14: All-Festival Concert, Journey to Lübeck: The Musical Legacy of the Reformation

Additional MEMF Event:  MEMF Dance Event “Tanzen und Springen” featuring music and dance instruction by MEMF Faculty on Thursday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. (Great Hall, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.). Suggested donation of $10 at the door.

Fringe Event:  Sonata à Quattro will perform on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. (Pres House, 731 State St.) Tickets at the door are $10 for MEMF participants and faculty, $20 for the general public.

Note: All MEMF Concert Series concerts and lectures are free for participants in the MEMF Workshop.

Earlier Event: June 3
Madison Youth Viol Consort Concert
Later Event: July 15
Willy Street Chamber Players