Designed to highlight the opening events of New York City artists and presenters specializing in historically informed performance (aka 'early music"), Celebration '07 encompassed a six week period in the fall of 2007, a veritable cornucopia of activity spanning the gamut from medieval to classical repertoire, performed by individual artists to baroque orchestras, in chamber concerts to symposia, including professional, recreational and educational events.
Conceived as a service-to-the-field enterprise by the Early Music Foundation (EMF), this collaborative project was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and included an educational component (a symposium and lectures accompanying select performances) co-sponsored by the national service organization Early Music America.
Having produced the first NYEMC in 2004, of which the Times headlined "At last NYC gets to brag," Early Music Foundation has a history for collaborative sponsorships going back more than thirty years. To celebrate the formation of the Early Music Foundation in 1974, Frederick Renz, Founding Director, organized the seminal event that included ten NYC early music groups active at that time. Along with Early Music New York (formerly New York's Ensemble for Early Music), the currently thriving Pomerium (formerly Pomerium Musices), the New York Consort of Viols and Western Wind were among the less than a dozen early music groups active in NYC at the time.
The 1974 event, titled "In Praise of Early Music," took place in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and drew an audience over 4,000 as reported by the New York Times. The Times quoted a fan's impression of the event - "Old music has come a long way, baby."
Frederick Renz, a member of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua (founded by Noah Greenberg in 1953), has seen the historically informed performance (early music) scene grow since arriving in NYC in 1969. In 1974, early music had "come a long way" as demonstrated in a day-long fest. And, in 2004, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Early Music Foundation, the NYEMC 10-day event showed that historical performance increased ten-fold as an integral element of the City's cultural fabric.
Celebration 2007 has brought attention to New York's wealth of resident performing artists and concert presenters who organize and sponsor ongoing early music series, highlighting their season openers. In addition, a wealth of ad hoc events filled out the autumn 2007 festival -- from mid September through mid November.
New York Early Music Celebration - a Project of the Early Music Foundation