Brilliantly Baroque! Music from Renaissance to 1750


Your Course Leader:  Lorraine Sherry [Biography]

Home phone: 303-465-4361
Cell phone: 303-807-0609


Class Website:

Participants should have access to a computer to view the class schedule and guest presenter information on this website:


Course Description: 1:00-3:00 PM, Oct. 8 - Nov. 12, 2015
    "Let the bright seraphim with burning glow
    Their bright uplifted angel trumpets blow!"

There has always been music. David danced and sang before the Lord. The Greeks had their lyres and choruses. Orpheus sang of losing his wife, Eurydice, to the Underworld. The demigod Pan blew on hollow reeds to remind him of the wood nymph, Syrinx. Bards sang of courtly love and "l'homme arme" (armed men) touted their accomplishments in war. While monks continued to chant their sacred texts, the Church started wondering why the street musicians had all the good music – and what they should do about it. Europe was emerging from chaos and disease, and a period of relative stability ensued. The Medici in Florence thought seriously about the arts and music, and lo! There was the Renaissance. And that is the beginning of this course.

Course Format: Lecture/Presentation Series
Over the past 30 years, the Boulder/Denver metro area has become one of the most important centers for the current "Renaissance" of early music. In this course, you will rub shoulders with six local, world-class musicians who have sung, played, or directed choral and instrumental music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods throughout the USA and Europe. They will play music and share their experiences with you, including:
    Where and how they found early music manuscripts
    250 years of vocal music: from rich polyphony to harmony
    Musical forms and styles from early Renaissance to late Baroque
    The birth of the orchestra and evolution of musical instruments
    The development of opera from musical drama
    The art and excitement of performing early music.

Learning Objective:
Participants will gain an understanding of various genres of European music from the Renaissance through the Baroque as a reflection of the prevailing cultures and the evolving musical styles of the times. They will also learn first-hand how professional musicians perform music that may have been lost for centuries in their recitals and concerts, using period instruments and authentic vocal styles.

Online Handouts:
To view the documents below, you will need the ADOBE ACROBAT Reader.
To download the Adobe Reader, click here:
1. Early Music 101: A "crib sheet" -- For those with little or no musical training
2. Early Music History in a Nutshell -- from the Ancient Greeks to the Baroque
3. Who's Who in Early Music -- Short biographies of Renaissance and Baroque Composers



Class Schedule

Week 1 -- Oct. 8

Frank Nowell:
The Birth of the Orchestra

Week 2 -- Oct. 15

Robin McNeil:
Baroque Music from
Beginnings to Bach

Week 3 -- Oct. 22

Peter Schimpf:
The Birth of Opera

Week 4 -- Oct. 29

Thomas Edward Morgan:
Tapestries of Sound

Week 5 -- Nov. 5

Zachary Carrettin:
J.S. Bach's compositions for
unaccompanied vioin and cello

Week 6 -- Nov. 12

Evanne Browne:
Handel's Messiah


Guest Presenter Information

Our Guest Presenters,
Biographical Sketches


Presenter Affiliations,
Events, Related Links,
and Synopsis of Presentation


Frank Nowell, Artistic Director
Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado



Concert Schedule Online
Next Events:
"Encore! Audience Favorites" (7 Baroque favorites) - Oct. 16-18, 2015
"Mystery and Joy" (Holiday program) - Dec. 4-6, 2015
"Bach Times Three" (with St. Martin's Chamber Choir) - Feb. 26-28, 2016
"Fanfares and Flourishes" (with period wind instruments) - May 20-22, 2016

Scen3 writeup by Marc Shulgold

The Birth of the Orchestra

The Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado was founded by Artistic Director Frank Nowell. It debuted in the fall of 2005 with a program entitled "The Birth of the Orchestra." As a professional period-instrument ensemble with core musicians primarily based in Colorado, the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado brings to audiences the musical riches and spirit of improvisation of the 17th and 18th centuries. The ensemble’s imaginative programming over the past 10 years strikes a balance between familiar masterworks and hidden treasures of the Baroque. Frank Nowell will discuss how the concept of an orchestra developed in the late 17th century, especially around Corelli in Italy and Lully in France, and how instrumental music evolved during the 18th century.


Robin McNeil, Course Leader
Academy for Lifelong Learning



Opus Colorado Blog (with writeup on Ars Nova Singers)

Baroque Music: From Beginnings to Bach

Robin McNeil is The Academy's own Professor of Piano and Musicology. He has a blog, Opus Colorado, with reviews and commentaries on local musical performances. Robin will talk about the history of music from the beginnings of the Baroque until the death of J.S. Bach in 1750. He will focus on keyboard music. Robin McNeil was formerly a concert pianist as well as Chairman of the Piano Department at the University of South Dakota. Handouts will be available.


Peter Schimpf, Associate Professor
Chair of the Department of Music
Metropolitan State University


Concert Schedule Online
Next Event:
Early Music Ensemble (at King Center Recital Hall) - Monday Nov. 16, 2015

The Birth of Opera

Dr. Peter Schimpf is the founder of Metropolitan State University of Denver's Early Music Ensemble. His teaching, research, and performance interests are varied, including both Western and non-Western music. As a performer on period instruments including the lute and the theorbo, he has been featured as a soloist. He has also performed with Seicento Baroque Ensemble and the Denver Early Music Consort, including "Dufay in July" in 2014. Peter Schimpf will talk about the birth of opera and will give lots of demonstrations on several period instruments that he will bring to class.


Thomas Edward Morgan
Artistic Director & Conductor
Ars Nova Singers



Concert Schedule Online
Next Events:
"Happiness and Cheer"(A Colorado Holiday Tradition)- Dec. 12, 13, 17 & 18, 2015
"Renaissance Retrospective" (Music for many voices) - Feb. 19 & 20, 2016

Tapestries of Sound

Thomas Edward Morgan is the Music Director of St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder, a position he has held for nearly a quarter of a century. He is also the founder of the Ars Nova Singers, and has served continuously since the organization's inception in 1986. Under his guidance, the ensemble has presented more than 400 performances, and produced ten independent recordings. Tom Morgan will present "Tapestries of Sound" -- music of the 16th and 17th centuries for many voices.


Zachary Carrettin, Music Director
Boulder Bach Festival



Concert Schedule Online
Next Events:
"Italian Roots" (with Grammy-nominated solo artists) - Oct. 16 & 17, 2015
"Seasons" (Vivaldi and Piazzolla vionlin concertos) - Dec. 4 & 5, 2015
"Handel's Messiah" - Dec. 20-22, 2015
"A Musical Offering" (nationally recognized CU Artists-faculty) - Jan. 22, 2016
"Venice on Fire" (virtuosity in performance) - March 18 & 19, 2016
"Bach's St. Matthew Passion" - April 23 & 24, 2016

Examining the unaccompanied sonatas, partitas and suites
for violin and violincello by J.S. Bach

In the summer of 1981 a group of Boulder music lovers decided they would celebrate the life and music of J. S. Bach by presenting three concerts during the weekend of his March birthdate. Since that first season, the Festival has expanded to take Bach's music to a variety of venues in Boulder and surrounding communities. Zachary Carrettin joined the Festival in summer 2013. He is a highly versatile violin soloist and conductor, as well as an expert in Baroque Music performance. Mr. Carrettin will discuss dance rhythms/characters, ornamentation and inherent qualities of Bach's works for solo string instruments while demonstrating on the violin and playing segments of recorded work for stylistic comparison.


Evanne Browne, Artistic Director
Seicento Baroque Ensemble



Concert Schedule Online
Next Events:
"Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610" - Oct. 24 & 25, 2015
"Handel's Messiah" - Dec. 11 & 12, 2015
"Scarlatti, Father & Son" - March 11-13, 2016

Marc Shulgold's writeup on Monteverdi's Vespers
Robin McNeil's writeup
Boulder Daily Camera writeup

Wonder, Marvelous: the History of Handel’s Messiah
and Why We Still Love it Today

First performed in Dublin in 1742, George Frederic Handel’s baroque-era oratorio initially received only modest reception but grew in popularity. Recorded by choirs as large as 3500, re-orchestrated, staged for the opera house, and revised for publication in a number of authentic versions, the Messiah now 273 years later has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. There are, in fact, at least six professional performances this Christmas in the Denver area alone. Evanne Browne, Artistic Director of Seicento Baroque Ensemble, will present the interesting history of composition and what about the music creates enduring love.
A 32 Year Holiday Season Tradition!
Boulder Messiah Sing-Along

Come Join me!

Handel's Messiah Schedule Online
Dec. 19 at 7:00 P.M.
Dec. 20 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 P.M.
At St. John's Episcopal Church, Boulder.
The performances are community "sing-alongs," with professional soloists, a full orchestra, and with an amateur chorus to provide a core of support for the singing. Robert Arentz founded the Boulder Messiah Chorale and Orchestra in 1983, out of a desire to provide the Boulder community with a sing-along rendition of Handel's most beloved work, Messiah. The sing-along was founded on a principle of openness - everyone is welcome in the choir, and everyone is welcome in the performance. As an audience member you are not required to sing, but you are certainly invited to sing.

Lorraine Sherry, Course Leader
Brilliantly Baroque! Fall Term 2015
Academy for Lifelong Learning
E-mail Lorraine Sherry