Collegium Musicum

MUS 101-03

The Collegium Musicum is an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists dedicated to recreating the sounds of the distant past by studying historical performance practice—i.e., the performing styles, techniques, and instruments appropriate for historical periods and places. We focus on exploring the beautiful but less often heard repertories of Early Music (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, & Classical periods of Western music history). The Collegium provides students with a hands-on way of applying their “academic” knowledge of Western culture while developing musical skills such as sight-reading and active listening.

2019-20 Plans

John Rommereim will be directing the Collegium Musicum during the 2019-20 academic year while professor Brown is on leave. In the fall, we are planning a December 8 concert that emphasizes renaissance choral treasures. The repertoire will be adapted to suit the abilities of the musicians who choose to participate; we hope to assemble a highly capable vocal ensemble to perform selections from the following:

We will be organizing the ensemble in the first weeks of the semester; we plan to rehearse Wednesday nights, but we may be adapting the rehearsals to fit the schedules of those involved.


Each year, the Collegium presents three or four concerts. On the last Sunday of the fall term, we reenact a Renaissance Compline Service by candlelight at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Approximately once a year we present scenes from a musical drama, fully staged with costumes and often with historical dance.

Spring 2016 John Gay et al., The Beggar’s Opera

Spring 2015 Francesco Cavalli, La Calisto, Act III

Spring 2013 Carmina burana (medieval version)

Spring 2011 Francesco Cavalli, Scipione Affricano, Act I opening

Fall 2009 Francesco Cavalli, Giasone, Act I finale

Fall 2007 Shakespeare/Matthew Locke et al, The Tempest

Fall 2006 Adam de la Halle, Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion

Fall 2005 Francesco Cavalli, La Calisto, Act II finale

Workshops, Masterclasses, and Visiting Artists

An internationally renowned Early Music artist or ensemble visits Grinnell about once a year, and usually provides workshops, masterclasses, and private lessons especially geared towards Collegium students (though open to others as well).

In 2016-2017 we were fortunate to welcome two such groups to Grinnell:

November 19, 2016 Rook

March 12, 2017 Lyra Baroque Orchestra

Past Visiting Artists have included:

Spring 2015 Lyra Baroque Orchestra

Spring 2013 Ensemble Chaconne with Ken Pierce Baroque Dance Company

Spring 2013 Anonymous 4

Spring 2011 Aula Harmoniae Baroque Trio

Fall 2009 Arthur Haas, harpsichord and Martha McGaughey, viol

Fall 2010 Baroque Band of Chicago

Fall 2008 Baroque Band of Chicago

Spring 2008 Rose Ensemble

Fall 2007 Trevor Stephenson, fortepiano

Spring 2007 Quartet New Generation, recorders

Fall 2005 Jory Vinikour, harpsichord

Auditions and rehearsals

The Collegium Musicum is comprised of several groups, divided according to repertoire and experience level. Typical groups include the Renaissance A Cappella Vocal Ensemble, Recorder Consort, Viol Consort, Baroque String Ensemble, Medieval Ensemble, and Sackbut Ensemble; there are also opportunities for solo vocal and/or instrumental performance. Keyboard players begin with private lessons, then join a group as accompanist. Each group meets for approximately one hour a week; the vocal ensemble meets for 90 minutes a week. Rehearsals are held in the spacious Egan Early Music Room in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts (BCA 102).

Auditions (for section placement) are held at the beginning of each semester; dates are announced on posters throughout Bucksbaum. Please prepare a short piece to sing or play (on your modern instrument); please bring your instrument and sheet music, including the keyboard accompaniment if available. The audition will also include some sight-reading.

Early Instrument Collection

Instrumentalists in the Collegium perform on Grinnell’s collection of replica period instruments. Since many of these are ancestors of modern instruments, students can often transfer their knowledge of modern technique to early instruments fairly easily. Both group and individual instruction is provided. There are over 100 instruments in the collection, representing all categories of instrument and ranging in date from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century.

The full collection, with makers’ names, is listed below; those marked * are owned by faculty but available for student use. To find out more about each one, click on the instrument name.

Bowed Strings

  • rebec (L. Higgins, after medieval models); bow (clip-in frog)
  • vielle (Bernard E. Lehmann, after medieval models); bow (fixed frog)
  • hurdy gurdy (Kelischek Minnesinger, after 13th cent models)
  • treble viol (John Pringle, after John Rose c. 1580); bow
  • treble viol (Karl Roy); bow
  • tenor viol (Karl Roy); bow (R. Dotschkail)
  • bass viol (Hermann Bächle); bow
  • bass viol* (Charlie Ogle, after Barak Norman, late 17th c); bow (Charlie Ogle)
  • violone in G (Dominik Zuchowicz, after Ernst Busch, early 17th c); bow (Bernard P. Halke)
  • baroque violin (Dominik Zuchowicz, after Nicolò Amati, mid 17th c); bow (H. F. Grabenstein)
  • baroque viola (Dominik Zuchowicz, after Gasparo da Salò, late 16th c); bow (H. F. Grabenstein)
  • baroque cello (19th century German, retrofitted as baroque cello); bow (Ralph Ashmead)

Plucked Strings


  • set of 11 renaissance style recorders (Mollenhauer, after Hieronymous Kynseker, mid 17th c): sopranino, 2 sopranos, 2 altos in F, alto in G, 2 tenors, 2 basses, great bass
  • renaissance soprano recorder* (Moeck)
  • set of 6 baroque recorders (Moeck, after Jean-Hyacinth-Joseph Rottenburgh, early 18th c): sopranino*, soprano, alto*, tenor, 2 basses
  • alto baroque recorder, A = 415 (Moeck, after Jacob Denner, early 18th c)
  • alto baroque recorder (Joachim Paetzold)
  • 23 practice recorders (sopranino, 8 sopranos, 5 altos, 8 tenors, bass)
  • 3 tenor renaissance flutes (Tom Boehm/ Jeffrey Cohan)
  • tenor renaissance flute (“SG”)
  • soprano and 3 tenor renaissance flutes (Wyley)
  • alto renaissance flute (Aardvark)
  • 2 fifes (Cooperman, 18th c)
  • baroque flute, A = 392/415 (Folkers & Powell, after Jacob Denner, ca. 1720)
  • baroque flute, A = 415/440 (R. Sanders)
  • baroque flute, A = 440 (maker unknown)


  • set of 3 crumhorns (Wood): alto, tenor, bass
  • tenor crumhorn (Moeck)
  • shawm (Gunter Korber, after 14th c models)
  • sordun (Renaissance Workshop, after Praetorius, 1619)
  • dulcian (Antique Sound Workshop)
  • baroque oboe (Bosworth & Hammer, after Thomas Stanesby Sr., c. 1700)



  • continuo organ (John Bennett-Glenn Giuttari, after Nikolaus Manderscheit, 17th c)
  • double manual harpsichord (William Dowd, after Blanchet/Taskin, mid/late 18th c)
  • single manual harpsichord (Edward Kottick, after Flemish models, 17th c)
  • single manual harpsichord* (D. Jacques Way, after Italian models, 17th c)
  • single manual harpsichord (Rutkowski & Robinette, modern hybrid)
  • fortepiano (John Broadwood & Son, 1804). Original instrument, not in playing condition.
  • fortepiano (Rod J. Regier, after Conrad Graf, ca. 1824).


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