Early Music Department

Founder Thomas Binkley

Thomas Binkley (1932-1995), lutenist and musicologist, began his professional career with the Studio der Fruehen Musik (Early Music Quartet) in Munich, Germany, one of the most influential ensembles ever in the performance of medieval music. His ensemble produced over 50 LP’s devoted to medieval and renaissance music with Electrola, DGG and Telefunken. He contributed articles and reviews to numerous professional journals and collections of essays on topics of performance practice. He held the Edison Award (Amsterdam), the Grand Prix du Disques (Paris), the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis (Baden Baden), and the Dickenson College Arts Award (Pennsylvania). From 1973 to 1977, Binkley taught and performed at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland and upon his return to the U.S., he was visiting professor at Stanford University (1977, 1979). He founded the Early Music Institute in 1979 and acted as director until January, 1995. He died on 28 April 1995 of cancer.

Anyone who knew the EMI’s founder, Thomas Binkley, understands in large part why the Early Music Institute is unique. Thomas Binkley was perhaps unrivaled in his field, particularly in the performance practice of medieval monody. He was a charismatic person whose thoughts and feelings about music-making, teaching, performance, and musicianship challenged and inspired all who came into contact with him. He set the highest standards for the Institute, making it a primary goal that students should leave knowing how to think, explore, and above all ask questions of every kind of music-making in a ceaseless search for poetic essence.

Now the Historical Performance Institute,  we will persist in peering beyond narrow, conventional horizons with the intention and expectation that Tom’s musical and intellectual vision may continue to be realized. The Thomas Binkley Scholarship Fund has been established in his memory and gratefully accepts donations.