The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., to promote historical music performance. It presents an annual concert series in Boston and New York City, produces opera recordings, and organizes a weeklong Festival and Exhibition every two years in Boston. A centerpiece of these festivals has been a fully staged Baroque opera production. One of BEMF’s main goals is to unearth lesser-known Baroque operas, which are then performed by the world’s leading musicians armed with the latest information on period singing, orchestral performance, costuming, dance, and staging at each biennial Festival. BEMF operas are led by the BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin. In 2008, BEMF introduced its Chamber Opera Series as part of its annual concert season. The series presents semi-staged productions of chamber operas composed during the Baroque period. In 2011, BEMF took its chamber production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea on a four-city North-American tour. In 2004, BEMF initiated a project to record some of its work in the field of Baroque opera on the CPO recording label. The series has since earned four Grammy Award nominations.
At each Festival, concerts are presented every day from morning until late at night. Concerts are given by an array of established luminaries and rising stars in the field of early music worldwide. BEMF concerts also allow for unique, once-in-a-lifetime collaborations and programs by the spectacular array of talent assembled for the Festival week's events. In addition, there are many scheduled Fringe concerts and events, presented both by local and out-of-town groups at a number of venues in Boston and Cambridge. The Exhibition at the Festival is the largest event of its kind in the United States, showcasing over one hundred early instrument makers, music publishers, service organizations, schools and universities, and associated colleagues.