About Collegium

Now in it’s seventeenth year, the Collegium Musicum has established a clear presence on the Wesleyan music scene as one of the most challenging and rewarding ensembles on campus. It is a unique ensemble, made up of 20 undergraduate and graduate students, Wesleyan faculty, and others interested in performing and learning about music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras; the group also explores the influence of “medievalism” on 20th and 21st-century composers. Programs have drawn on sacred and secular music from culturally diverse regions across Europe (Aquitaine, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain), requiring students to perform in Latin, Early English, Middle French, Spanish, Catalan, German, Italian, and Old Church Slavonic. The process of “recreating” the music under study involves investigating its original cultural setting, occasionally working from manuscript facsimiles, and sometimes performing with a “tactus” (tapping on the shoulder), rather than a conductor. Workshops with distinguished visitors are a regular part of the curriculum; guest groups have included the Hilliard Ensemble, Lionheart, Cut Circle, and Liber Unusualis, and workshops have also been held with the many renowned visiting artists and scholars. Students also have access to a collection of period instruments: Baroque recorders and viols are available for use in conjunction with the ensemble. The Collegium Musicum seeks to shed light not only on how the music sounded and its function within the society that produced it, but also on the place of early music in the modern world. Members have sung as invited guests in religious services, at a symposium dedicated to Music in Sacred Space in 2003 and at the Time Stands Still conference in 2013. Future plans include working with living composers whose outputs draw in the medieval heritage and working with new music technologies.