Yale has had a long and distinguished tradition of historically-informed performance. The first American collegium musicum was founded here in the 1940's by Paul Hindemith. During the '50s and '60s, Ralph Kirkpatrick taught a generation of harpsichordists, including William Christie, Albert Fuller, William Porter, and Richard Rephann, who went on to form the extraordinary Yale Collection of Historical Instruments.
Currently, Yale is experiencing a renaissance of early music. The Schola Cantorum and the Yale Collegium Players regularly collaborate on important works of 17th and 18th-century music, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments brings international early musicians to Yale to perform on its concert series, and the School of Music now offers courses on Rhetoric and Early Instrumental Performance taught by Robert Mealy, harpsichord and continuo classes taught by Arthur Haas, courses on Performance Practice (music before 1800) with Judith Malafronte, and secondary harpsichord lessons taught by Avi Stein.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Yale Baroque Opera Project presents two fully-staged 17th-century operas each year, involving both undergraduates and School of Music students.
The Yale Baroque Ensemble, a one-year intensive program of study on baroque instruments, is an opportunity for talented graduates from the Yale School of Music to immerse themselves in the study of historical performance; the ensemble presents several concerts of a wide range of repertoire throughout the year.
Lastly, the Collegium Musicum that Paul Hindemith founded in the 1940's continues to flourish under the guidance of Robert Mealy and Judith Malafronte, allowing undergraduates and YSM students an opportunity to investigate a wide range of early repertoire, from medieval motets to eighteenth-century operas. The Collegium's concerts take their inspiration from the rich holdings of the Beinecke Rare Book Library, where its concerts are held.
For more information on early music activities at Yale, write to early.music [at] yale.edu