Historically informed performance plays a central role in Longy’s artistic and academic life. The curriculum focuses on both repertoire and research in its approach to music composed before 1800, featuring some of the most unique and thorough course offerings in early music in the United States. Our commitment to individual attention from faculty mentors, ensemble playing, and small class sizes creates a uniquely collaborative conservatory.
Degrees & Diplomas Offered
Historical Performance Emphasis available to Master of Music – Brass, Strings, and Woodwinds students. This emphasis offers Master of Music candidates to further hone their musical expertise by exploring a historical performance component.
Your Longy Experience
“The Longy School of Music boasts one of North America’s most well-known and dynamic departments of historically informed performance. At Longy, students work together with members of the department’s renowned faculty to further cultivate their individual artistry through repertoire, research, and a wide range of performance-oriented projects, including collaborations with internationally recognized institutions and ensembles such as the Boston Early Music Festival and the Boston Camerata. With its vibrant performance culture and deep engagement with the larger Early Music community, Longy’s Historical Performance department advances the conservatory’s mission of preparing musicians to make a difference in the world.”John McKeanDepartment Chair of Historical Performance
Studio Lessons: Collaboration with a faculty mentor is the cornerstone of conservatory education at Longy. Together you will explore your unique artistic and professional goals while expanding technical and musical insight. Early music faculty members include renowned performers and musicologists, all of whom maintain active roles in the field.
Masterclasses and Seminars: Through workshops, masterclasses, discussions, and presentations, weekly seminars allow early music students to explore a wide range of technical, historical, theoretical, and aesthetic issues.
Chamber Music: Georges Longy’s belief in the power of collaboration inspires the central role of chamber music in our conservatory. You will work closely with faculty coaches every semester and will explore ensemble playing through coursework, informal readings, and community outreach.
Performance Practice: Topics courses allow students to research specialized areas of study focusing on the intersection of performance and scholarship. Recent offerings have included Baroque Ornamentation, Rhetoric of Baroque Performance, and Culture and Convention of Mozart’s Operas.
Performance Courses: Classes include the study of original sources and theoretical materials, culminating in a public performance. Recent courses include:
- 12th-Century Vocal Repertories of Germany and France
- Early opera project: Orontea by Cesti
- English Theatre Songs
- J.S. Bach for Viols
- Medieval Masters of Italian Trecento
- Music from Odhecaton
- The Intimate French Baroque
Longy students collaborated in the Boston Camerata’s production of The Play of Daniel (November, 2015):
In the Spring of 2016, Longy students capped off a semester-long collaboration with the Boston Camerata with a co-production of The Night’s Tale, A Tournament of Love. Performed on April 16 and 17, 2016 in Longy’s Pickman Hall, the concerts earned rave reviews in the The Boston Globe and Boston Musical Intelligencer. View pictures from rehearsals and the performances here.
Figured Bass Practicum: Students learn continuo playing while developing flexibility within collaboration and exploring a wide spectrum of repertoire.
Historical Dance for Musicians: Exploring both Renaissance and Baroque Styles, students learn dances including the sarabande, galliard, and menuet to better comprehend similarly titled pieces of the period. Students also play and sing for dancers, paying particular attention to tempo, articulation, character, and form.
Historical Performance Emphasis: Available to Brass, Strings, and Woodwinds students, this emphasis enables you to further hone your musical expertise by exploring a historical performance component. Learn more here.