Established in 1966 and originally known as the Festival Music Society, Indianapolis Early Music (IEM) is the oldest continuous presenter of early music in America. 

Indianapolis Early Music stages concerts of music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classic periods. The annual program, the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, held in Indianapolis during the month of July, usually consists of seven concerts and three lectures.

IEM has had a long association with public radio. Selections from IEM performances are broadcast regularly throughout the U.S. and Canada on Performance Today, the most popular classical music radio program in America broadcast by American Public Media. Indiana University NPR affiliate WFIU also features IEM performances on Harmonia, a weekly nationally syndicated early music radio program.

The society has sponsored hundreds of programs, including performances of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, the Reger Trio, and the Paris Consort. Ensembles from Indiana University’s Early Music Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, and Oberlin College have served as resident artists. In addition, the society has sponsored music competitions, educational training, and performance opportunities for young musicians. The society is guided by a volunteer board of community leaders elected to three-year terms and by its music director, who proposes a theme and artists for each season.

Frank Cooper, professor of music at the University of Miami, held the position of the society’s music director for 35 years, starting in 1973. In 2008, Mark Cudek, who also serves as director of the Peabody Conservatory’s Early Music Department at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, became the organization’s artistic director. The organization’s annual budget is supported by contributions and grants from businesses, individuals, and foundations.

Revised June 2021

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