BLEMF 2024: Early Music in Exile

May 19-25

Music, Community Events

Date & Time

Sunday, May 19 2:00pm - Saturday, May 25 8:00pm

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Bloomington Early Music

BLEMF 2024: Early Music in Exile

From medieval times to the end of the early modern era, the marginalized poor, the once-powerful aristocrat, the devout pacifist, the rebellious activist, the ones born into the wrong faith or the wrong family, and many others who found themselves somehow outside the acceptable or tolerable, are found in countless histories of exile across regions and religions. Bloomington Early Music is proud to present our 2024 Festival, as we explore music of these communities and individuals forced from their homeland as a consequence of war, political oppression, or religious expulsion; those living in religious and ethnic diaspora; and those surviving the paradox of exile “in place” under tyranny, incarceration, and forced conversion. These stories—vividly brought to life through glorious music that displays resistance, defines identity, communicates faith and conviction, and conveys fear, loss, hope, and joy—have deep resonance today.

As BLEMF 2024 unfolds, join us for seven live concerts and four virtual performances, following in-depth preconcert discussions led by scholars and musicians–all available online. Enjoy the first midweek BLEM Community Showcase, the second BEMI Stanley Ritchie Youth Performance, and the US debut of the sensational Spanish vocal quartet, Cantoría. Each weekday afternoon, investigate everyday life in the early music era in six educational workshops for children and adults—from drink to dance, sword fighting, and early technologies. And delight in the vibrant imagination of children in our New Neighbors Art Exhibit during the evenings at FAR Center for Contemporary Arts.

Early Music in Exile is our way to connect all of us—either through the distant past of our ancestors or in the present as we welcome new neighbors—who have traveled far in search of a safe haven, and found the solace and joy of home in the music we make.

BLEMF Events are FREE & OPEN TO ALL. All in-person concert venues are handicap-accessible.

BLEMF Events at FAR

Below is a limited list of events that will take place at FAR. Click here for the full schedule of events.

May 19th — 24th: New Neighbors Art Exhibit
Throughout Festival Week, enjoy artwork created by children of families who have recently joined our community, having left their troubled homelands in other parts of the world. The exhibit will encircle the mainstage space at FAR Center from Opening Night, Sunday, May 19th through Friday night, May 24th. During evening performances, you will be surrounded by the visual art of young children who have had to leave their homes behind, while you are immersed in the music of those who had much the same experience so many centuries ago. We are grateful to our new neighbors for sharing their artwork with us and for contributing their talents to our festival. Thank you and welcome to Bloomington!

Monday, May 20
7:15pm Pre-Concert Discussion
8:00pm Live Concert | Forgotten Clefs Surviving Inquisition

Tuesday, May 21
7:15pm Pre-Concert Discussion
8:00pm Live Concert | The Raritan Players Jewish Musicians in 18th-century London

Wednesday, May 22
8:00pm Live Concert | Community Showcase Bloomington takes the stage!

Thursday, May 23
7:15pm Pre-Concert Discussion
8:00pm Live Concert | Bach & Beethoven Experience The Story of Pa I Sha

Friday, May 24
7:15pm Pre-Concert Discussion
8:00pm Live Concert | Musica Pacifica Enclosures, Clearances, the First Wave, oh my!

Saturday, May 25
7:15pm Pre-Concert Discussion
8:00pm Live Concert | Cantoría The "Cancionero de Palacio" & Other Songs for Exiles

View full festival lineup at