MUSIC/MUSIC HISTORY C90T (Undergraduate students)/C490 (Graduate students)
UCLA EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE
(AKA Collegium Musicum)
Open by instructor consent to undergraduates and graduate students campus-wide
Professor Elisabeth Le Guin
This ensemble is dedicated to Western vocal and instrumental music from historical periods prior to 1800, with particular emphasis on repertories not usually covered by other standing UCLA ensembles. The mission of the course is dual: to explore historical repertories and performance practices with due depth and rigor; and to bring the results of these explorations to a professional performance level.
This course may or may not entail the use of historical instruments, depending on the project and the needs and desires of those involved in it. A limited number of historical instruments belong to UCLA for the use of its students, and can be rented. Interested students should apply to the Director.
Elisabeth Le Guin came to UCLA’s Musicology Department from a 15-year prior career as a free-lance early musician (she is a cellist) during which time she helped found Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, made some forty recordings of chamber and ensemble music, and played under many of the ‘big names’ in Baroque and late-18th-century orchestral conducting. She is an expert in string continuo playing and vocal accompaniment.
UCLA had a thriving Collegium Musicum in the 1980s; several professors at that time, notably Fred Hammond, were responsible for UCLA’s acquiring a collection of early-music instruments for student use, including fine harpsichords by William Dowd and John Phillips, a Greg Harrold positiv chamber organ, a complete sett of viols, and various recorders, flutes, and violin-family instruments. This ensemble was discontinued in 1989, when the then Music Department split into the current three (Music, Ethnomusicology, and Musicology) that constitute the Herb Alpert School of Music. Ensemble status, with chamber-ensemble credit for performance majors was granted in fall 2009; that quarter a group of 33 students from all over campus performed a concert of Venetian and Latin American polychoral music in the beautiful Rotunda of Powell Undergraduate Library, the group’s informal home for its performances.
The UCLA EME is proud of the diverse musical community it has fostered since 2009, and equally proud of its diverse programming. Highlights of past seasons include: a UC Regent's Lectureship with Venezuelan vocalist and ensemble director Isabel Palacios (2010); collaborations with Son Del Centro, a group dedicated to Mexican son jarocho (2011), and with UCLA’s contemporary music group, Contempo Flux, directed by Gloria Cheng (2011); collaborations with Opera UCLA in productions of Monteverdi's Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and L'incoronazione di Poppea (2012) and Handel’s L’Allegro (2014) under Stephen Stubbs, a renowned Seattle-based continuo player and opera director; a complete rendition of Handel’s Ode to Queen Anne (2013); and an upcoming collaboration on early Baroque improvisation with UCLA’sThelonious Monk Jazz Institute (2015).
In addition to concerts at the Powell Rotunda, the EME has performed at the William Andrews Clark Library, the Freud Playhouse, and as part of the All Saints Beverly Hills Concert Series. Recent acquisitions of a third harpsichord, Baroque bows, violins and celli have helped revitalize the instrumental portion of the ensemble.
The UCLA Early Music Ensemble welcomes graduate and undergraduate students across all majors and disciplines, as well as ensemble members from within the greater UCLA community. The Fall 2013 roster, for example, included undergraduate and graduate majors in music performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, aerospace engineering, medicine, English, history, mathematics, and biology. Our community members include spouses of students, Santa Monica College students, UCLA staff and alumni, and returning graduates of UCLA.
Auditions are held at the beginning of each quarter. Every effort is made to accommodate the varying skill-sets of all who audition, while maintaining a thoroughly professional standard of performance. This unusually student-oriented ensemble ethic promotes a unique sense of ownership and investment among EME members; many participate for several consecutive years.
Another factor that has made the UCLA Early Music Ensemble such a dynamic and flexible group is the innovative Managing Director /Teaching Fellowship Program, which gives an advanced graduate student an invaluable year-long experience in directing a professional-level ensemble. The Managing Director assists Prof. LeGuin for one quarter, and for the remaining two, takes full leadership of the ensemble: recruiting members, auditioning, researching and choosing repertoire, making editions, coaching both instrumentalists and vocalists, conducting, advertising, etc. This demanding Teaching Fellowship is offered by competitive application to graduate students across the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
The UCLA EME’s plans for the future are wide open. Possibilities yet to be explored might include: guest master classes on Baroque string playing by national and international artists; ‘in-house’ collaborations with UCLA’s Near Eastern ensemble (on the Cantigas de Santa María), UCLAtlán mariachi ensemble (on colonial Latin American music), and UCLA Opera (a workshop on Baroque staging and movement practices).
These, however, are merely some of Director’s fantasies…the true future of the group will depend primarily on the priorities and desires of its members and Managing Directors, which is to say, YOU.