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EMG and SBO Complete Merger

June 30, 2010

Early Music Guild and Seattle Baroque Orchestra Complete Merger

The Early Music Guild of Seattle (EMG) and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra (SBO) are very pleased to announce a merger of their organizations, effective July 1, 2010.  Under the name Early Music Guild, the combined organization will provide artistic and financial synergies that strengthen the high quality early music programming that audiences have come to expect from each.  EMG’s International Series and Baroque Opera offerings will join with SBO’s concert series to present twelve world-class offerings in the 2010-2011 season.   Highlights include a fully staged Baroque Opera production in partnership with the Seattle Theatre Group, Claudio Monteverdi’s monumental 1610 Vespers at St James Cathedral, and Giovanni Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with vocal soloists Yulia Van Doren and Ian Howell.

The merger leverages complementary artistic missions and audiences, as well as the shared venue of Town Hall Seattle.  The organizations have a common history:  SBO was launched under EMG’s Professional Affiliate program in 1994, then went on to form its own successful organization in 1997.  Commenting on the merger, EMG Executive Director Gus Denhard said, “Everything came together this year among the boards and artistic directors. The consensus is clear that this merger is in the best interests of everyone – audiences, musicians, and funders.”  Both EMG and SBO will boast budget surpluses in their fiscal years closing June 30, and the July 1 merger will result in additional savings in administrative costs to be invested in programming.

Mergers are relatively rare among arts organizations, which often pride themselves on highly personalized artistic visions. By comparison, EMG’s and SBO’s visions are complementary, with EMG concentrating on international touring artists while most musicians in SBO, as well as its artistic directors, Ingrid Matthews and Byron Schenkman, are based in Seattle.

Denhard will serve as Executive Director of the merged organization.  He will continue to program EMG’s International Series while Matthews and Schenkman continue as Music Director and Artistic Director respectively of SBO. The boards of directors are merging, and Jeremy Johnsen, SBO’s former Executive Director, is joining EMG’s staff.

David Brewster wrote an article including this exciting news that appeared on Crosscut today:

It’s also good tidings for early music in Seattle, one of the city’s great strengths. After years of nudging from donors, two fine groups are merging, combining staff costs and creating a single new board, with members from both groups. Gus Denhard, the Early Music Guild executive director, will hold that post for the merged entity, also called Early Music Guild.

The entire article can be read here:,-a-marriage-in-early-music/

Look for a new website for Early Music Guild, coming soon!

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