Cleveland Lute Fest 2024: Class Descriptions

Download a PDF of the full class descriptions: Cleveland Lute Fest 2024 Class Descriptions


Robert Barto

Permission to ornament, permission to simplify (90 minute)

In his late publications, Borrono goes to great lengths to notate ornaments. The class would present examples of this and a general discussion of how much to ornament. His last book provides very, very challenging beautiful pieces. Fortunately, we also have the info from Michelangelo Galilei, that if the ornamented repeats are too difficult, one can just do the first section again without the fast notes. He is inviting us to do our own versions of the repeats. What could be more historical?

In Pursuit of the Perfect Passamezzo (Daily Class)

In his late publications, Borrono goes to great lengths to notate ornaments. The class would present examples of this and a general discussion of how much to ornament. His last book provides very, very  challenging beautiful pieces. Fortunately, we also have the info from Michelangelo Galilei, that if the ornamented repeats are too difficult, one can just do the first section again without the fast notes. He is inviting us to do our own versions of the repeats. How practical is this advice, and how should we go about doing this?

Master Class (Daily Class)


Travis Carey

Class Title Pending

Class description pending.


Xavier Díaz-Latorre

The art of arpeggiation on the Basso Continuo, Part 1 and 2 (90 minute)

Class description pending.

Melodies of Old Spain: Exploring Briceño’s Spanish Songs (Daily Class)

Dive into the captivating melodies of Briceño’s Spanish songs as we explore his timeless compositions. Unleash the rhythmic energy with the rasgueado technique, adding depth and flair to your musical repertoire.

Master Class (Daily Class)


Lucas Harris

Blind Lutenists of the Renaissance (90 minute)

For centuries, blindness has been associated with musical skill.  In fact, the blind in many cultures and time periods, being less suited to manual labor, were encouraged to become musicians.  Blind musicians from Francesco Landini to Stevie Wonder have played an enormous role in musical history in almost every genre of music: classical, folk, jazz, blues, etc.  Renaissance music is no exception!

This lecture-recital will focus mainly on the music of four blind lutenists: Conrad Paumann, Arnolt Schlick, Miguel de Fuenllana, and Giacomo Gorzanis.  We’ll also mention other blind musicians of the Renaissance including blind “lutares” working at the Scottish court, Antonio de Cabezón, Francisco de Salinas, Jacob van Eyck, and the Ukrainian tradition of kobzari (blind singer-lutenists).

Masterclass on Practice Strategies (90 minute)

This will be a different kind of masterclass which focuses on the strategies we use to make our practice more efficient.  The main emphasis will be put on slowing our process down, isolating the smallest details of our physical movements, and finding ways to create “neural pathways” in which our hand movements are made more precise & efficient.  This will reduce the chance of mistakes in performance and allow us to have fewer technical barriers in our journey to interpret and perform our music the way we hear it.

In the safe and supportive environment of this class, participants will be asked to bring one demanding passage from a piece they are working on (in any style and on any instrument), share the music with the class, and open themselves to suggestions about practice strategies that will meet its particular technical challenges.


Catherine Liddell

Ensemble: Francesco’s Inspirations (Daily Class)

We will immerse ourselves in the repertoire that inspired Francesco da Milano. Not only will you end the week with your ears full of some great tunes, your understanding of Francesco’s music will deepen and your performance of it will gain interest and expression. Guaranteed! This will be entirely single-line playing. Music will be available in both tablature and staff notation.

Clued in: What are those clues in the melodies of 17th-century French lute music? (90 minute)

The basis for this class is the continuation of my study of the ’Rhetoric of the Gods,’ this time revealing clues contained in French melodies that can lead to deeper expression. For those players to whom 17th-century French lute music often seems shrouded in mystery for many players, this class will pull back that veil and bring clarity, showing ways to solve some of those mysteries. For those already smitten by this repertoire, here’s your opportunity to spend a week enriching what you already know. There will be plenty of opportunity for participants to try what we are learning and apply it to pieces they are working on.

Sacred Music for Lute (90 minutes)

This presentation focuses on repertoire not intabulations of mass or motet movements. Rather, it sprang up in the mid-16th century within 20 years of the start of the Protestant Reformation, and spans the entire history of the lute. I will provide some context for this repertoire, and share what I’ve found since publishing the volume of the same name for Lyre Music Publications. I will suggest how it might be used today.


Nigel North

Fingering Philosophy: A comprehensive look at Left and right hand fingerings, 1500 – 1750 (90 minute)

A comprehensive look at Left and right hand fingerings, 1500 – 1750. How much do we know – and why are so many young lutenists still ignoring the facts!!!

Grounds & Divisions (90 minute)

Come and spend an hour or so learning two 16th century grounds  (La Gamba and Passamezzo Antico) and enjoy learning how to improvise divisions on these grounds. G lutes at A 440 would make it easy on us all.

Discovering La Spagna (Daily Class)

This class will look at the history of this famous tenor, look at the solo and duo settings from the 16th century, and aim to be able to improvise on the tenor by the end of the week! G lutes at A 440 would make it easy on us all.

Master Class (Daily Class)


Paul O’Dette

The Discovery of the Albani Lute Manuscripts (ca. 1589-1610) and the importance of the music they contain (90 minutes)

The recently discovered lute manuscripts of Orazio Albani (1576-1653) include a large number of previously unknown pieces by the two most important Roman lutenists of the late 16th century, Lorenzino Tracetti and the Cavaliere del Liuto. qThese works reveal two distinctive musical personalities whose music influenced the works of Dowland, Kapsberger, Piccinini, and others. In addition to the importance of the music, these manuscripts provide valuable clues about lute pedagogy, playing techniques and performance practices of the time.

How did John Dowland compose his music? (90 Minutes)

An in-depth analysis of Dowland’s compositional process provides keys for interpreting his music. We will explore the music that inspired Dowland and examine how he incorporated ideas from other composers into his own compositions. Questions about the editing of the surviving versions of his lute solos will be examined and discussed.

Exploring the English Lute Repertoire from Henry VIII to Dowland (Daily Class)

An exploration of English lute music from earliest surviving pieces to the introduction of Baroque tunings, we will examine music by Philip van Wilder, Anthony de Countie, Alfonso Ferrabosco, John Johnson, Holborne, Thomas Robinson, John Danyel, Daniel Bachelar, Dowland and others.

Master Class (Daily Class)


Mark Rimple

The Spirit vs. the Letter in late 18th c. Archlute music.  (90 minute)

This lecture will explore how 18th century partimento practices can be applied to the performance of 18th c. Italian Archlute repertoire.  Concepts will include the use of standard schemata and possibilities for improvisational variation/recomposition in performance, and discussion and the rhetorical meaning of particular schemata. Includes excerpts from Giovanni Zamboni Romano, Filippo Dalla Casa, and Archangelo Corelli.

First solos starter kit (Daily Class)

This class will discuss playing and practice techniques through the lens of several short works from the literature ca. 1500, including some of the most accessible intabulations and short works by Joan Ambrosio Dalza, Francesco Spinacino, and the Capirola lute book. Players may bring any Renaissance-tuned lute for this repertoire, though the repertoire will be for 6-course lute.  The music will be available to attendees well before class for study.  Students can play alone or together as a group to gain confidence.


Mara Winter

D.I.Y. Video Production Skills: In other words: how to look and sound GOOD on the internet in 2024. (90 minute)

This class is designed to learn how to get started producing content with what resources you already have at arm’s reach. Topics will include; simple, low-budget gear upgrades and hacks, basic principles of video lighting, basic principles of recording sound, an intro to video editing techniques, and the best practices for publishing videos on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

Reading 16th Century Chansons from the Source (Daily Class)

This class will be a crash course in singing and playing from original notation from the 16th century. The introduction to early-16th century music notation systems will include understanding ligatures, rhythmic modes, coloration, historical clefs, the hexachord system and more. This will also include an immersive approach by learning the rules as we encounter them by singing through a selection of early-16th century French chansons. We will learn to transform our experience by singing the music from original notation into uniquely arranged performances for ensembles of voices and instruments.


Bor Zuljan

POB Lecture – The Improvising Lute (Daily Class)

Improvisation has been indissociable from lute playing throughout history. This series of lectures will try to give an overview on improvisation practices on plucked strings from the middle ages until the romantic period, and some keys to enter in this fascinating world of music making. This chronological journey will start with plectrum lutes, continue with polyphonic improvisation and dances of the renaissance on lutes, vihuelas and guitars, before entering the wide variety of baroque music and instruments with Italian toccatas and variations, their Spanish variants, French preludes and suites, as well as fantasias and partimenti.

The Chromatic Lute (90 minute)

The chromatic musical writing appeared first in the polyphonic vocal compositions in the mid 16th Century with composers like Cipriano de Rore and Orlando Di Lasso. Italian and English lute composers have taken on this compositional techniques some decades later and quickly started transforming their style to match changing fashions of the 17th Century. This lecture will analyze this peculiar writing and present an anthology of lute music that is using it: from prima pratica compositions, through extravagant early 17th Century Italian music, to finish with its generic use in baroque lute music.

The Dancing Lute (Early renaissance dances) (90 minute)

Since the middle ages lutes have accompanied balls and dances. In the mid 15th century tenor dances such as bassedanze and balli appeared in northern Italy and slowly gave place to more vertical, bass based compositions and shorter forms. This lecture-workshop will focus on the dances from earliest lute manuscripts and prints, such as the bassedanze, the different calate and dance suites from Dalza, until the emergence of « proto-grounds » or the so-called Italian tenors, like the Cara cossa (Gamba).

Master Class (Daily Class)


Download a PDF of the full class descriptions: Cleveland Lute Fest 2024 Class Descriptions