The Evelyn Dunbar Memorial Early Music Festival combines informed performance and scholarly inquiry.

Since its founding in 1996, the festival has provided exceptional opportunities for performers to prepare important masterworks with the guidance of leading scholars. Each festival has included masterclasses, pre-concert presentations, and lectures.

History

Established through the generous support of Ruth Dunbar Davee and her husband, Ken M. Davee, the festival was named in memory of Ruth’s sister, Evelyn Dunbar, who was an enthusiastic participant in early music ensembles at Northwestern. Mrs. Davee earned her MA in 1937 and her PhD in English Literature in 1942, graduating with honors from Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. After her husband’s death in 1998, Mrs. Davee took over as president of The Davee Foundation. She was a member of the Bienen School of Music Advisory Board. Mrs. Davee died on April 19, 2011, at the age of 99.

Upcoming Festival: William Byrd

October 27-30, 2022
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, faculty and guests
Donald Nally, conductor
Lecture and pre-concert talk: Kerry McCarthy
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Past Festivals

2022 (Spring): The Road to Bach

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players
Donald Nally, conductor
Lecture and pre-concert talk: Stephen Spinelli
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2020: Monteverdi’s Orfeo

Northwestern University Opera Theater
Joachim Schamberger, director
Stephen Alltop, conductor
Panel discussion: Drew Davies, Jeffrey Kurtzman, Linda Austern, and Jason Rosenholtz-Witt
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2018: The Young Handel

Handel’s Theodora
Northwestern University Opera Theater
Joachim Schamberger, director
Stephen Alltop, conductor
Panel discussion and pre-concert talks: Ellen T. Harris, Jesse Rosenberg, and Drew Davies

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert: The Young Handel
Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Baroque Music Ensemble
Stephen Alltop, conductor
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2016: Handel’s Messiah

The Callipygian Players
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble
Donald Nally, conductor
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2015: Kile Smith’s Vespers

Piffaro, The Renaissance band
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble
Donald Nally, conductor
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(Continued Below)

Festival Highlights

The Road to Bach (2022)

"Orfeo Remote" (2020)

"Orfeo Remote" (2020)

Handel’s "Theodora" (2018)

Handel’s "Theodora" (2018)

Handel’s "Messiah" (2016)

Monteverdi's "L'Incoronazione di Poppea"

Piccinni’s "La Buona Figliola" (2006)

Monteverdi's "Vespro della Beata Vergine" (2004)

Monteverdi master class with Jeffrey Kurtzman (2004)

Past Festivals, continued

2013: Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea

Northwestern University Opera Theater
Stephen Alltop, conductor
Michael M. Ehrman, director
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2010: Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine

Stephen Alltop, conductor
David Douglass, concertmaster; The Newberry Consort
Jonathan Glixon, guest scholar
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2008: Handel’s Joshua

Stephen Alltop, conductor
David Douglass, concertmaster; The Newberry Consort
Wendy Heller, guest scholar
Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Baroque Music Ensemble 
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2006 (fall): Niccolò Piccinni’s La Buona Figliola

Stephen Alltop, conductor
Noel Koran, stage director
James Turner, guest scholar
Dinko Fabris, guest scholar
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2006 (spring): CantataFest

Stephen Alltop, conductor
Ingrid Matthews, guest performer (violin)
Kathryn Montoya, guest performer (oboe)
Carl Schalk, guest scholar
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2004: Monteverdi’sVespro della Beata Vergine

Stephen Alltop, conductor
David Douglass, concertmaster; The Newberry Consort
Jeffrey Kurtzman, guest scholar

2003: Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus

Stephen Alltop, conductor
Elizabeth Blumenstock, guest concertmaster
Ellen Hargis, guest performer (soprano); The Newberry Consort

2001: Haydn’s The Creation

Stephen Alltop, conductor
A. Peter Brown, guest scholar
Diane Heffner, guest performer (clarinet)
Charles Kaufmann, guest performer (bassoon)
Marilyn McDonald, guest concertmaster

2000: Scarlatti’s La Giuditta

The Newberry Consort, Bienen School’s ensemble-in-residence

1999: Bach’s St. John Passion

Stephen Alltop, conductor
Stanley King, guest performer (oboe)
Kenneth Slowik, guest conductor/scholar

1997: Edda Eins

The ensemble Sequentia performed the Viking saga Edda Eins, cosponsored by the Goethe-Institut Chicago.
Benjamin Bagby, guest lecturer
Newberry Consort
Northwestern’s Early Music Ensemble

1996: The Italian Baroque—Upheaval to Maturity

Joshua Rifkin, musicologist and conductor
Charles Garth, baroque dance expert
Newberry Consort

Videos

Handel - Messiah: Part One

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players

Handel - Messiah: Part Two

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players

Handel - Messiah: Part Three

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and Callipygian Players