21 MARCH 2021

Early Music Day is coming up soon and we have some lovely events that give you the option of either sitting back and listening or learning to play a piece yourself.  (or you could do both!) Read on and join us for Early Music Day 2021.  All our Early Music Day events are free.


Passsaggio in Italia – A musical trip to sunny Italy 

21 March, 2021, 1pm, online
Helen Hancock (soprano), Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord) 


Travel with Galway Early Music back to 17th-century Italy and let the music of Barbara Strozzi and Girolama Frescobaldi bring some sun and warmth into your home.

Way ahead of her time, Strozzi was a pioneering woman of 17th century Venice: not only was she an outstanding soprano, she was one of the first women to publish compositions in her own name, while combining those roles with being a parent (and an unmarried one, by choice). As Helen points out “A female composer may not seem radical now, but women usually published under pseudonyms back then, as it was not considered possible for a women’s gifts to extend to composing. And bear in mind we still say “female composer” today. We no longer say “female doctor” or “female playwright”. Seeing female composers programmed in concerts needs to become the norm.” Helen looks forward to performing the wonderful cantata, L’Amanto Segreto, which speaks of the torment of love.

The concert also includes a harpsichord solo piece by Girolamo Frescobaldi and a recorder piece by Frescobaldi, a contemporary of Strozzi.

Note: Programme changes as of 20 March 2021.

(Concert pre-recorded in St Munchin’s Church, Limerick by Vlad Smishkewych (Now & Then Media) for youtube premiere.)


with Helen Hancock


Helen Hancock is delighted to present another beginner recorder video workshop for Galway Early Music. This time she will dip into the music of German composer, Melchior Franck (1573-1639). The tune you will learn this time is Kommt, ihr G’spielen which was originally a folksong in 4 parts. It is believed that the song was initially part of a Singspiel in which boys and girls tease each other and that singing it was part of the custom of driving out winter. It is certainly a cheerful tune!

This workshop is suitable for beginner recorder players or recorder players who are rusty and want to rediscover the joy of playing. You will be learning the soprano part. Helen will teach the recorder notes from scratch and will teach the tune by ear using solfa and clapping, making it accessible for all. And finally discover the joy of playing it with a 4 part recorder ensemble!


Commissioned by Galway Early Music. Soundscape by Máiréad Ní Chróinín, film by Sorcha Ní Chróinín


17th-century Galway / Phillips Map

Captain Moreno

A chance to walk through Galway accompanied by 17th century Spanish merchant, Captain Moreno, who wishes to show you the sights and sounds of his favourite city. Originally designed as an actual physical walk through Galway, it has been re-imagined as an online experience. The tour plays with time and space and the world as you see it and the world as you hear it.  Best experienced with earphones and full screen.



Early Music Day is an annual event organised by the European Early Music Network.  Although March 21, Bach’s birthday, is the main day, events are going on for the whole week beforehand as well as on the day.

For Early Music Day, our friends in the Irish Early Music Network are also hosting some fantastic events celebrating early music in Ireland. Check out the first edition of the Limerick Early Music Festival, presented by H.I.P.S.T.E.R. Ireland, with events taking place online all weekend on their Facebook and Youtube pages. Our friends at East Cork Early Music  are presenting  Heinrich Biber: Sorrowful Mysteries.

You can also explore events going on all over the world in celebration on the Early Music Day website, co-ordinated by the European Early Music Network  (REMA-eemn).

Galway Early Music Festival is grateful to the Arts Council for their support of this work through the
Irish Early Music Network’s Capacity Building Scheme work.