- Advisory Panel
- What Critics Say
- Artists Presented
- Contact Us
The San Diego Early Music Society is a non-profit organization founded to showcase the musical treasures of Europe’s medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, as performed on period instruments and in accordance with historical practice. The Society was established in 1981 and has presented concerts in churches, small halls, museums, and homes — settings for which the music was composed.
INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SERIES – Artists internationally renowned for their performances and recordings are presented in concert each season. World-class vocal and instrumental soloists, ensembles and chamber orchestras perform an exciting repertoire from various periods and countries.
ADVENTURE CONCERT SERIES – World-class ensembles and soloists take us a little later in history, pushing into the Classical and even Early Romantic repertoire.
WORKSHOP – Each spring students of voice and early instruments (strings, winds, and keyboard) gather for a weekend with noted faculty to improve technique, play in ensembles, and enjoy the surroundings.
HOUSE CONCERT – Once a year, members and friends are invited to a concert featuring guest artists in the intimate setting of a private home.
PROJECT OUTREACH – In cooperation with the San Diego school system, the SDEMS brings early music into the schools, often providing young people with their first chance to experience this new world of sound.
DIRECTORY – Members also receive an annual Directory that lists all members, and identifies performers, teachers, instrument makers and repairers.
REFERRAL SERVICE – The SDEMS responds to inquiries about teachers, instrument purchase and repair, and where to buy music and recordings. Local artists are recommended for parties, weddings, and festivals. The Society collaborates regularly with other San Diego classic music presenters.
Mark Lester, President
Laurent Planchon, Vice President, International Series
Angela Quinn, Secretary
Martha Altus-Buller, Treasurer
Duane Gruber, Grants Coordinator
Kemer Thomson, Webmaster
Donna Guhl, Outreach
Penelope Hawkins, Outreach
Louis Carslake, Baroque flutist; member Music’s Re-creation
John Dornenburg, performer on viola da gamba; member of Music's Re-creation; faculty at Stanford and Sacramento
Peter Farrell, performer on cello and viola da gamba; professor emeritus UCSD
Geoffrey Graham, organist, music director at All Soul’ Episcopal Church
Ronald Haas, maker and restorer of early keyboard instruments
Takae Ohnishi, performer (harpsichord); UCSD faculty
Lewis Peterman, performer on early winds and strings; SDSU faculty, member Alfonso X
Marianne Pfau, performer on recorder and Baroque oboe; USD faculty
Carol Plantamura, vocal performer; UCSD faculty
Daniel Ratelle, conductor Pacific Camerata, Mesa College faculty; choir director First Unitarian Universalist Church
Patrick Setzer, performer (lute, guitar); Cuyamaca College faculty
Stephen Sturk, choral conductor; composer in residence, St. Paul
Ruben Valenzuela, organist, choirmaster, musicologist
“Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto thee, oh San Diego Early Music Society, that bringeth unto our still, silent town some Christmas fare other than the Messiah and the Nutcracker and those predictable programs of carols, forever and ever. Amen.”
— David Gregson, www.sandiego.com
“This plucky little society continues to make St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church a haven for some of the globe’s leading practitioners of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music.”
— Valerie Scher, San Diego Union-Tribune
“The San Diego Early Music Society, which every year is responsible for an undue proportion of the most exciting concerts in town...” ... “The concerts presented by the San Diego Early Music Society...regularly fill St. James by-the-Sea to the rafters, attracting those music lovers who know how much delight can be provided by music before Bach and Beethoven...”
— Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader
“The SDEMS never engages anything less than the very finest, internationally famous artists for its concerts.”
— David Gregson, San Diego Magazine
“Its standards are the highest. If you’re a fan of music performed as closely as possible to the original from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, I would urge you to buy tickets for anything the organization presents.”
— John Willett, San Diego Magazine
1996 “Top 10 classical concerts:” Pieter Wispelwey playing J.S. Bach’s Six Suites for Baroque Cello, selected by Valerie Scher of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
2000 “Top 10 classical concerts:” Freiburg Baroque Orchestra’s all Bach concert, selected by Valerie Scher of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “In commemorating the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death, the German orchestra revived a venerable aesthetic, demonstrating how music might have been performed in Bach’s era. It was a fine and fitting opening to the San Diego Early Music Society’s season.”
P.O. Box 82008
San Diego, CA 92138