The Bloomington Early Music Festival encourages and celebrates historically informed performance with an annual festival, seasonal concerts, numerous educational events in the immediate regions, and by committed support for emerging performing artists.
The Bloomington Early Music Festival brings together leading soloists and ensembles for a series of concerts, opera and oratorios, workshops, and pre-concert talks. Cross-cultural interests in the festival sometimes include performances by acclaimed folk musicians. As the only festival of its kind in the Midwest, the festival serves the Bloomington community, the Midwest region, and a growing number of music lovers from across the United States.
The Bloomington Early Music Festival collaborates regularly with a number of local and regional performing arts entities. The festival has produced nine operas and a theatrical children's show. In addition, BLEMF has forged collaborative relationships with faculty and students in the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. Recently, BLEMF has sponsored the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project.
BLEMF has provided a number of opportunities for musicians to break new ground while maintaining a high degree of quality in performance. Good examples of this are the 1995 production of Dido and Aeneas, the 1997 production of Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea, and the 1999 production of La Purpura de la rosa, all of which were avidly discussed across the nation, on the internet, and in regional newspapers. During the 2000 festival, the production of Alcina by George Frideric Handel, performed to great effect in the Buskirk Chumley Theatre, received rave reviews. More recent productions include Monteverdi's I lavori d'amore persi, conceived and created by Nigel North and A. Scott Parry; Purcell's King Arthur, stage directed by Mark Clark; and Adolf Hasse's seldom-heard Piramo e Tisbe, directed by Chia Patino.