Santa Cruz Baroque Festival

Linda Burman-Hall, Artistic Director

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About Us

Under the direction of early keyboard specialist Linda Burman-Hall, the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has been presenting annual seasons of early classical music concerts since 1974. In her words, "Baroque music opens the world of historic sound, and can lead both musician and audience on countless voyages of musical discovery. Experimenting with 'new' ideas about 'old' instruments and music, our Festival performers virtually travel through time."

Our concerts feature internationally-known as well as local artists performing on historical instruments. The themes of our concerts center around the 'baroque' period (from the time of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi). At the same time we extend our boundaries both geographically and temporally: Our series has featured concerts with Swedish, Eastern European, and Spanish music as well as music from the medieval, renaissance, and classical eras - even contemporary neo-baroque works.

Each year we offer 5 season concerts (February - May) and 3 special events (May, July, November), as well as an annual Youth Chamber Music Competition (February). For musicians, music students, and music lovers alike our series offers the opportunity to experience a creative range of acoustic chamber music performances.

Meet our Team | More about SCBF

Meet our Team

A volunteer Board of Directors works closely with the Artistic Director to run the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival. A minimal number of paid contract staff assist. The Board of Advisors contributes in select areas of interest. Volunteers assist as ushers and hosts at concerts and special events in exchange for complimentary admission.

Artistic Director

Linda Burman-Hall
Linda Burman-Hall
Artistic Director and Founder

Board of Directors

Barbara Burkhart

Nicola Canzano

Josh Lanam

Kate Little

Kenneth Lyons

Todd Mitchell M.D.

Donald WilsonDonald Wilson

Production Staff

Robin Whitehouse
Operations Director

Tristan Whitehouse
Graphic Designer

Board of Advisors

Nat Berman, Gertrude Fator, Alverda Orlando, Loretta Rao, Alexandra Romanoff, Dean Silvers, Kathryn Tobisch.

More about the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival was founded in 1974 by early-keyboard specialist Linda Burman-Hall as a way to share the joys of early music with friends and the community. In the beginning, in an old Victorian house at Schwan Lagoon, there was just a handful of fine musicians playing with rising excitement through centuries of early scores while studying historical treatises, puzzling how their own instruments could best express this old and enchanting music and touch the heart of the listener. With this commitment, the festival's concerts have continuously revived the excitement and controversy that early music generated when it was new. Since its early days, the Baroque Festival has grown as presenting organization, bringing early classical music to Santa Cruz area audiences in hundreds of concerts and over the course of nearly 40 seasons.

Our mission is to present an annual concert season of early classical music as it sounded in its own time. By balancing masterworks and innovative collaborations, local and touring artists, and experimenting with new ideas about old instruments, we aim to engage our audience in a virtual journey through musical time. These goals are realized as follows:

● Presenting 5 early music season concerts each year (February-May) under the umbrella of a season theme.

● Expanding the envelope of 'baroque' by:
(1) Balancing timeless baroque works with unique and educational concert themes;
(2) Featuring international touring artists alongside regional artists;
(3) Investigating crossovers with a variety of folk music styles; as well as
(4) Engaging in collaborations with other arts disciplines.

● Presenting off-season fundraiser events in support of the concert season and the organization's operations.

● Engaging in community outreach through informative concert notes, our annual Youth Chamber Music Competition, radio broadcasts, and collaborations with emerging ensembles other organizations.

Our festival has been fortunate to host many early music 'stars' like violinists Monica Huggett and Elizabeth Wallfisch, vocalists Max van Egmond and Julianne Baird, harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt and organist Anthony Newman. Major touring groups heard in our concerts include Anonymous Four, Chanticleer, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. At the same time Dr. Burman-Hall's regionally-based ensemble Lux Musica forms an anchor to each season by collaborating with guest artists and presenting creative endeavors that are distinctly 'locally-brewed'. Our artists perform on original and replica instruments, which are not commonly heard on concert stages, but communicate the music of their time with great integrity and power. Frequently our musicians play from facsimile or 'urtext' editions, using historical playing styles that include improvisation of ornaments and figured bass. Though baroque 'masterworks' remain our focus, our programming ranges from the medieval mysticism of Hildegard of Bingen to renaissance and baroque styles to the classical and romantic repertoire, including premieres of contemporary neo-baroque works. While we have occasionally staged ambitious larger projects such as Bach's St. John Passion and Handel's Messiah, we have concentrated on the way that ethnic traditions - whether Celtic, Nordic, Spanish, or Turkish - have influenced the development of the 'classical' style. Our 5 season concerts are unified by an annual season theme, such as "World of Baroque" (2007), "Musical Ecology" (2009), and "Endangered Musics" (2011).

Serving audiences from Monterey to San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival fills a unique artistic niche in the greater Santa Cruz area and surrounding counties. Our creative approach to programming keeps the contemporary listener and the Bay Area's demand for cultural and artistic diversity in mind.

Santa Cruz Baroque Festival ● 831-457-9693 ● E-mail ● P.O. Box 482 ● Santa Cruz, CA 95061