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

Nov 16, 2013

An Exploration of Renaissance Music Theory

A workshop for amateur singers and instrumentalists who are familiar with renaissance music but not necessarily familiar with formal theory.

With Mark Janello, composer, harpsichordist, and music theorist at Peabody Conservatory

Enrich your appreciation of composers such as Byrd, Gabrieli, Palestrina and Victoria and enhance your performance of their works by understanding the musical principles that guided them.  An all day workshop that combines lecture, musical examples and playing by participants.  Details

Thanks for your enthusiastic response to this offering; all places are now filled.  We're sorry we cannot accommodate additional registrants.  If you missed out this time, let us know of your interest.  If the numbers warrant, we will schedule another session in the future.

Previous Events of Note

Jun 7- 8, 2013
A Weekend Celebration of the Recorder and Harpsichord

Gwyn Roberts, Recorder, and Atsuko Watanabe, Harpsichord.



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