Historical Performance Practice

Baroque Orchestra (CMA)
Photo: Hilary Bovay

Students in the Historical Performance Practice Program (HPP) at Case Western Reserve University are part of a small, highly selective, and fully funded experience for advanced students destined for leadership in the early music field. Our degree programs provide graduates with a wide range of marketable career-building skills while encouraging creativity and exploration. Using the skills they have acquired at CWRU, our graduates have gone on to take college-level academic positions with a strong performance component, historical performance ensemble leadership roles, and to enjoy successful performance careers.

HPP Degree Programs

MA and DMA degrees fully funded, with generous stipends awarded to all admitted graduate students!

  • Perform repertoire from Middle Ages to ca. 1850 using the Kulas Collection of Historical Instruments
  • Pursue original research on performance practice topics
  • Collaborate with conservatory faculty and students through our Joint Music Program with the Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Take seminars in performance practice and musicology tailored to the scholar-performer (topics include continuo, baroque dance, notation, improvisation, historical analysis)
  • Gain leadership and solo experience in ensembles and recitals


Based on the philosophy that outstanding historical performers also need to be excellent historians and researchers, the program combines high-level performance training with rigorous academic study. Students take private lessons with our renowned applied faculty and visiting artists; participate in a variety of ensembles from Medieval to Romantic; enroll in musicology classes and targeted HPP seminars; and prepare lecture recitals by working closely with a faculty advisor – all with the aim of deepening their understanding of the repertories they perform and their historical contexts.

Ensembles and Performance Opportunities

The HPP program offers a variety of ensembles from Medieval to Romantic, and the Kulas Collection of historical instruments (over one hundred renaissance, medieval and baroque string, wind, and brass instruments) is available to all students. The program also owns various historical keyboard instruments: French, Italian, and German harpsichords, a continuo organ, and two fortepianos.

Ensembles include Baroque Chamber EnsemblesBaroque Dance EnsembleBaroque OrchestraCollegium MusicumEarly Music Singers, and Baroque Vocal Ensemble.

Undergraduate students with an interest in this area of study are welcome to audition on a period instrument/voice, and incorporate applied study, HPP ensembles, and targeted HPP courses into their curriculum. 

Affiliated Faculty and Artists

Julie Andrijeski
Senior Instructor
Artistic Coordinator of Historical Performance Ensembles
Baroque Violin Faculty, Joint Music Program

Peter Bennett
Head of Historical Performance Practice
Head, Harpsichord Faculty

Francesca Brittan
Associate Professor
Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Musicology
Keyboard Faculty, Conservatory
Keyboard Faculty, Joint Music Program

Susan McClary
Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music
Head of Musicology

David J. Rothenberg
Department Chair

Georgia Cowart
on sabbatical 2022-23

Jaap ter Linden
Part-time Lecturer
Viola da Gamba Faculty, Joint Music Program

Allison Monroe
Part-time Lecturer

Elena Mullins
Part-time Lecturer

Ellen Hargis
Voice, Coordinator of HPP Vocal Studies
Kulas Visiting Artist

Catharina Meints
Viola da Gamba
Kulas Visiting Artist

Charles Weaver
Kulas Visiting Artist

Debra Nagy
Oboe Faculty, Joint Music Program

René Schiffer
Historical Cello Faculty, Joint Music Program

Kathie Stewart
Flute Faculty, Joint Music Program