Collegium Musicum

Dr. Matthew Steel, Director

Comprised of voices and instruments, the ensemble performs music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. Period instruments are provided. Membership is open to all by informal audition.

What is a "Collegium Musicum?"

Directed by Matthew Steel, the Collegium Musicum is the ensemble for early music at Western Michigan University. This ensemble is devoted to the repertory of pre-Classical music (generally anything before the career of W.A. Mozart). Past programs have included music from 10th century liturgical dramas all the way up to late Baroque works of women composers. Recent works include cantatas by Buxtehude and Bach, selections from Biber's Vespers and madrigals by Lasso, Wilbye, Morely and Arcadelt.

How do I join the ensemble?

Membership in the Collegium Musicum is by informal audition and open to all singers and instrumentalists in the University and Kalamazoo communities. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5:15 p.m. The ensemble performs Early Music in a public, School of Music-sponsored, concert at least once each semester. Collegium is beloved by many members of the community and has has a devoted following at concerts and performance events throughout the year.

Upcoming performances

This semester the 15 singers and 14 instrumentalists of the Collegium are preparing a program commemorating the 400th anniversary of the deaths of late Renaissance Italian masters Carlo Gesualdo and Giovanni Gabrieli. Works include canzonas, madrigals, dance music, sacred songs, and a motet by Gabrieli’s prize pupil Heinrich Schütz. The free concert takes place in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19. A reception will follow. Period instruments used in the concert include violas da gamba, dulcian, harpsichord, chamber organ, and cornetto.

Participation in scheduled concerts is required of all members of the ensemble. However, the degree of involvement in the concerts will vary. Beginners will not be expected to have as significant a role as more experienced Early Music students and performers.

The WMU Collegium Musicum, with a grant from early Music America, is sponsoring an Early Music Festival Jan. 22-23, 2014. Featured are Ellen Hargis and David Douglass, the co-directors of the Newberry Consort of Chicago.

What about instruments?

A variety of Early instruments are available to ensemble members for use in the concerts. Beginners as well as experienced performers are welcomed to check out instruments for practice. Music is provided to all members but must be returned at the end of the semester. Because we are a small ensemble, your attendance at all rehearsals is particularly important and has a significant impact on the other members. In case of absence, every effort should be made to inform the instructor in advance and to make certain that instruments needed by other members arrive at the rehearsal.

Audrey Davidson Vocal Scholarship

The Audrey Davidson Vocal Scholarship is awarded each year to an outstanding student singer who will perform with the Collegium and coach the other singers in the ensemble. The scholarship consists of a cash award of $1,000. The recipient is chosen through an audition that takes place in March each year. The scholarship is graciously provided by retired WMU professor Audrey Davidson, Early Music scholar, performer, conductor, and founder of the Kalamazoo Society for Old Music. The current recipient is Katie Rohwer.

Singers interested in auditioning for the Audrey Davidson Vocal Scholarship should contact Dr. Matthew Steel, director, during the spring semester at matthew.steel@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4682.

Contact

Matthew Steel
(269) 387-4682