What is early music?

The term “early music” refers to both a repertory (European music written before about 1800, including medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early classical music) and an approach to performance (“historically-informed performance” including the use of period instruments).

Early music practitioners seek to discover and perform music from times past, to explore a repertory of music that is otherwise little known. From Gregorian chant to the music of Bach and Mozart, the repertory spans a millennium, from roughly 800-1800.

Early music specialists also aim to recreate the sound-worlds of earlier times through the use of period instruments and techniques. They base their interpretations on the accumulated evidence of original instruments, manuscripts, first editions, and the remarks of theoretical and instructional treatises, rather than on “received tradition” passed on by previous generations of performers and teachers.

Source: Early Music America


In the spring of 1982 a group of friends, including University of Arizona faculty members James Anthony and John Boe as well as other members of Tucson's musical community, hit upon the idea of forming a group that would be, as our mission statement still reads, "Dedicated to the enrichment of contemporary life with the music of the past." Specifically, they wanted to organize concerts featuring music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Periods performed by early music specialists on period instruments. They settled on a name for the organization: The Arizona Early Music, now known as Arizona Early Music.

That first concert season began rather modestly: three concerts, for which the performers received only the gate receipts (typically just a few hundred dollars). The second and third seasons featured just two local concerts, augmented by organized bus trips to performances at Arizona State University in Tempe. As our audiences grew, so did our offerings. Now in our 40th season, AEM regularly presents six or seven main stage concerts featuring internationally-acclaimed touring artists, as well as other forays into Tucson's schools and the community at large.

AEM Board of Directors
President: Scott Mason
Vice President: John Munier
Secretary: Dorothy Fitch
Treasurer: Laurie Camm
Olman Alfaro John Anderson Andy Dolphin
Janet Hollander Christina Jarvis Jamie King
Mariana Mevans Chris Zerendow
AEM Advisory Board

John Brobeck

Jeffrey Campbell

Susan De Armond

Bartolomé Díaz

Arthur Haas

John Holloway

Stephen Keyl

Kathryn Mueller

Paul O'Dette

Tom Patterson

Tulio Rondón

Helen S. Schaefer