Meet our Board of Directors
Indianapolis Early Music (IEM), originally known by its corporate name of Festival Music Society, was established in 1966 as a not-for-profit organization to enrich, educate and entertain audiences with the music of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and early classic eras. IEM concerts feature high quality national and international performers, performing on instruments of the period. IEM was the first organization of its kind formed in Indiana and only the second in the nation at the time of its organization. It is now the oldest continuous Early Music series in the United States. In addition to special concerts and educational offerings, it presents its annual Indianapolis Early Music Festival each June and July.
IEM initially concentrated on the major works of the Baroque era, such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. The historic range was later expanded to include that of the Renaissance and Medieval periods. Music played at IEM concerts was generally composed between 900 A.D. and 1800 A.D.
Performances over the years have included vocal and instrumental music as well as dance, court, folk and ballet. A number of student-performers have received specialized training through IEM’s summer performances and periodic workshops. Educational components have also been regularly included in IEM programming, as it seeks to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of early music. Performers are selected who are historically-informed and worldly acclaimed interpreters of Early Music.
From 1973-2007, the Society’s music director was Frank Cooper, who also presented lectures relating the early music being heard with the art and architecture of the period and country. A former member of the faculty of Butler University, Cooper was an accomplished harpsichordist and an interpreter of Early Music. He is now Research Professor of Music in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida and Associate Curator of Fine Arts at the Vizcaya Museum in Miami.
Mark Cudek was appointed IEM’s Artistic Director in 2007. Cudek is also the director of the Early Music Department at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Well-reviewed for his as a concert performer in his own right, he performs on guitar, recorder, crumhorn, bass viol, and percussion. He is involved with several groups, notably HESPERUS, APOLLO’S FIRE, CATACOUSTIC CONSORT, and the BALTIMORE CONSORT. He is actively involved in the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble, has been creator and Director of the High School Early Music Program at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and continues to be involved with that institution. Having taught for twenty-five years, he recently created a Masters program at Peabody, instituted a new Baroque Orchestra, and developed an Early Music program at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Cudek has performed in the Indianapolis Early Music Festival both as a member of HESPERUS and more recently with THE BALTIMORE CONSORT. He has a B.F.A. from the University of New York and an M.M. from the Peabody Institute. In 2001 he received the Early Music America Thomas Binkley Award and in 2005 from Early Music America the award for Outstanding Contribution to Early Music Education.
Mary Ellen Roberts was the IEM Executive Secretary for many years until her death. In mid-2007, IEM named Gail McDermott-Bowler as its first Managing Director. A former Board Member of IEM, she worked several years for the Indiana Repertory Theater helping to promote and publicize their productions. She remains active in many other arts organizations in the Indianapolis area.
Indianapolis Early Music has been the setting for North American premieres of important music works. Famed harpsichordist Igor Kipnis performed the cycle of seven Bach Partitas in Indianapolis before making his Grammy-nominated recordings of them for Angel Record. The recordings carry a credit to IEM’s parent, the Festival Music Society. In addition, IEM has introduced a series of exceptionally gifted young artists who have gone on to successful professional careers. It has a long association with National Public Radio and broadcasts selections from IEM concerts on its program Performance Today as well as Harmonia.