Early Music Day Date in the current year: March 21, 2024

Early Music Day Early Music Day is a series of concerts, workshops, conferences, and other events that aim to promote early music. They are held simultaneously across Europe, as well as in Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, and other countries. Early Music Day is celebrated on March 21 every year.

The term “early music” generally refers to European Medieval music (c. 500–1400) and Renaissance music (c. 1400–1600), but sometimes also includes Baroque music (c. 1600–1750). The term spans more than a millennium of music and encompasses not only European music written during this time period, but also authentic performance of such music, also known as historically informed performance.

The resurgence of interest in the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music occurred in the second half of the 20th century, creating a modern early music revival, which continues to these days. Ensembles and orchestras specializing in the authentic performance of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music began to emerge across Europe. Their main goal is to recreate the sound of early music as accurately as possible by using period instruments and tuning them in a specific way. Other factors that affect the authenticity of performance are the interpretation of musical notation, the layout of performers, vocal techniques (when performing pieces with vocal parts), and more.

Today, numerous events dedicated to early music (concerts, festivals, workshops, training programs, etc.) are held across the world. There are a lot of organizations and societies that promote the study and performance of early music, and one of them is responsible for the creation of Early Music Day, a holiday designed to unite the fans of early music in Europe and beyond.

Early Music Day was launched in 2013 by the European Early Music Network (Réseau Européen de Musique Ancienne, REMA). It is celebrated on March 21 because it is the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the most renowned composers of the Baroque period. Coincidentally, it is also the beginning of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Originally known as European Early Music Day, the holiday has expanded beyond the borders of the continent, because music knows no boundaries. Early Music Day is supported by the Ministry of Culture of France, the European Broadcasting Union, and the European Commission (the executive branch of the European Union).

Every year, the organizers invite a well-known personality of the early music movement to serve as the official ambassador of Early Music Day. For example, 2020 Early Music Day Ambassador was Rachel Podger, a British violinist and conductor specializing in the performance of Baroque music. She is the founder of two baroque ensembles and the recipient of several prestigious awards.

You can find the list of upcoming concerts and other events by country on the official Early Music Day website. Many events are streamed online for those who can’t attend them in person.

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