The annual event marks Shakespeare's "death-iversary" from July 9 through 16.
The Madison Early Music Festival has taken place annually since 2000, bringing international musicians and scholars of early music (generally speaking, European music ranging from 500 A.D. to the 1600s or 1700s) to campus. This year’s festival, running from July 9 through 16, is titled “Shakespeare 400: An Elizabethan Celebration” and promises a variety of classes fit for experts and dilettantes alike (from “Harpsichord technique” to “Jigging With Will: Shakespeare for Dancers”), historical lectures, and a concert series.
The festival’s co-artistic directors—Cheryl Bensman-Rowe, a Grammy award-winning professional vocalist (mezzo soprano) and voice instructor, and Paul Rowe, a baritone and professor of voice at UW-Madison who helped found the festival—sat down with us this week to talk about early music, Shakespeare’s “death-iversary” (their words), and what to expect from the week’s festivities. We got into the finer points of Renaissance instruments and discussed how the festival might be relevant to people who are new to early music.