Historical Performance Practice

Baroque Orchestra (CMA)
Photo: Hilary Bovay
HPP Dancing Opera
HPP Singer Stage
HPP Singer (Fridley)
Photo of the Baroque Orchestra

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.

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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

April 8, 2024
Silver Hall Concert Series: From Darkness Into Light
G.F. Handel’s Messiah - CWRU Baroque Orchestra and Early Music Singers, with CWRU HPP and CIM vocalists


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.

Historical Performance Practice students pursuing academic coursework may participate in our various music ensembles. View the Participation Information page to learn more about ensemble offerings, audition details, registration requirements, and helpful resources for students participating in musical activities.

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
Head of Historical Performance Practice
Historical Violin, Historical Dance
Baroque Orchestra, Baroque Chamber Ensembles, Baroque Dance Ensemble

Elena Bailey

Early Music Singers, Baroque Dance Ensemble

Peter Bennett

Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Historical Performance Practice
Harpsichord, Organ
Baroque Vocal Ensemble, Continuo, Ornamentation, Improvisation, Intro to HPP

Francesca Brittan

Associate Professor
Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Musicology
Historical Keyboards
18th- and 19th-century Performance Practice

Georgia Cowart

French Baroque Spectacle

Tyler Duncan

Voice, bass-baritone
Kulas Visiting Artist

Jaap ter Linden

Cello, Viola da Gamba
Baroque Orchestra, Baroque Chamber Ensembles

Susan McClary

Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music
Head of Musicology
Pre-tonal Theory, Early Music Performance Practices

Catharina Meints

Viola da Gamba
Kulas Visiting Artist

David J. Rothenberg

Department Chair
Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Charles Weaver

Kulas Visiting Artist

Kathie Stewart

Joint Music Program