Capitol Early Music (CEM) is a project of avid amateur recorder players in the Washington DC area who seek to contribute to the vibrant early music life in our community . We believe that we enhance our appreciation of early music and improve our own performance by listening to, and studying with, top flight performers.  On the assumption that others share this perspective, we are working to organize concerts and workshops to delight and educate musicians and music lovers.

Upcoming Events

May 31, 2014

A Capitol Early Music Workshop

Exploring Improvisation on a Bass Line

with Mark Janello, Peabody Conservatory

Saturday, May 31, 2014                 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

St George Episcopal Church

915 N. Oakland St,  Arlington, VA    (map)

Renaissance musicians were taught singing and composition through improvisation and the ability to improvise was a basic everyday skill. In this workshop, we will explore one aspect of that skill: improvising on a bass line.  We’ll look at two types of bass lines: the Cantus Firmus, where we’ll explore adding a voice to a given melody, and the Ground Bass (or ostinato), playing along with a given chord progression. Details

Coming Fall 2014!

Three Part Fugue, comes to Washington

This Boston recorder trio (Hèloïse Degrugillier, Emily O’Brien, Roy Sansom) appears in concert on Friday evening, October 10, and directing a workshop on Saturday, October 11, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Arlington, VA.

Watch this space for more details.

What Do We Mean by Early Music?

Recorders – the instruments that are our gateway to the musical world- flourished in the Renaissance and Baroque eras and it is music from these times that we most frequently play. We apply the generic label “early music” to this repertoire.  But that label is, at best, only a shorthand to distinguish music composed or performed in those times from music of the more recent Classical, Romantic and contemporary music eras.  So, it is a label of exclusion rather than a description of the music included.  And how could it be otherwise?  For, the label encompasses music from the 12th through 18th centuries and includes musical styles and performance practices that range from those of the Baroque masters such as J.S. Bach (1685-1750), G.P. Telemann (1681-1767) and G.F. Handel (1685-1759), to the Renaissance geniuses of polyphony such as Josquin des Prez (1450/55-1521), Guillaume Dufay (1397?-1474), William Byrd (1539-1623) and Tomas Luis Victoria (1548-1611) and even to the exciting mediaeval music of Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), Adam de la Halle (1237?-1268) and their anonymous contemporaries. 
As we present concerts and workshops, we will use this space to describe the hallmarks of the music involved in each event.  Stay tuned.....

For more information, please contact Capitol Early Music at