Ars et Amici

About Ars et Amici


The seeds for ARS & AMICI — a 10- to 12-day travel, study and performance program in Italy for young professionals and highly talented amateur musicians — were planted in 1996 in Boston. Under the guidance of Sheila Beardslee, a well-known Boston-area teacher and performer in early music, the ARS & AMICI program has visited Rome, Florence, Orvieto, Siena, Cortona, Assisi, Bolzano, Padua, Naples, Sorrento, The Dolomites and Liguria. In 2020 we return to Florence and Tuscany.

In addition to performances in churches, community centers and schools, ARS & AMICI seeks to enhance our understand of the history and cultural heritage of the Italian cities we visit. ARS & AMICI participants often have the opportunity to work with distinguished early music teachers and directors in the cities we visit. Each year ARS & AMICI’s repertoire changes to reflect the musical creativity of the Italian Renaissance masters over the period 1500-1620, including choral and consort music in both sacred and secular genres, as well as historical dance.

Our touring musicians are mostly from the metropolitan Boston area, but also come from the greater New England and North East, some from as far away as the Midwest or the West Coast. Many of our tour members have participated for several programs; all have benefitted from ARS & AMICI’s opportunity to learn about and study Italian culture, history, art and music first hand.

In addition to our touring programs, we perform in the metroBoston area as well. In the summer, we offer a concert with a large group of singers and instrumentalists such as Venetian Vespers; Music from the Genevan Psalter; and Anthems for Voyces & Viols — Music of Orlando Gibbons.

We also perform in a more intimate vocal ensemble during the concert season. During the Thomas Tallis anniversary year, we presented a program of motets and anthems by Tallis and his student William Byrd. We offered a program of sacred music by Orlando Gibbons; and programs of Elizabethan madrigals and motets.  Our most recent programs highlight Italian music, ca 1560-1620.



Program director Sheila Beardslee has taught recorder, historical flutes, viola da gamba and historical dance at Tufts University, Wellesley College and workshops from Maine to Florida.  She served as program director for Pinewoods Early Music Week, 2009-2011, leading exceptional week-long residential workshops themed Myth & Magick, Venetian Glory, and A la mode de France. In Boston she taught recorder to the young choristers of The Boston Boy Choir, and she is founder and music director of Recorders/Early Music MetroWest, one of the region’s most active early music societies. Her church music program received national recognition when it became a regular offering at the annual Amherst Early Music Festival, the largest early music workshop in the U.S. Ms. Beardslee is artistic director of Concordia Consort, and is a founding member of The Phillips Consort of Viols. She researches and prepares new editions of a variety of Renaissance works, and has enjoyed a long-standing affiliation with the Boston Early Music Festival. Sheila Beardslee is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. Recordings: Northeastern, Amherst Early Music, VdGS-NE  & BACS labels.

Early Music Boston September 10, 2007 sheila —
Early Music Boston - © Sheila Beardslee