Fight, Flight & Fantasy

Fight, Flight & Fantasy Poster

Four days of intensive study with a bevy of harpsichord masters:

James Dorsa
Elaine Funaro
Margaret Irwin-Brandon
Sonia Lee
Charles Metz
Webb Wiggins
Ketil Haugsand and the Skalhot String Quartet

…and also

Master Classes in free and polyphonic works of the 16th -18th centuries
Harpsichord Tuning and Maintenance
Basso Continuo Labs Contemporary Music Composition & Performance Recitals and Concerts
Open Mic Night for Players and Composers

Celebrate the harpsichord with Desert Baroque at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center in the high desert above Palm Springs, on 420 acres of desert beauty, amidst the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and his son, Lloyd.

Performances, study and on-sight accommodations; it’s the perfect location to work in community. Our own chef will provoke our palates morning, noon and night.

FEES include classes, concerts, 3 nights accommodation, meals. $625. Early bird registration, due Sept. 1, $575. Spouse and partner accommodation, meals and concerts, $400. Work/Study scholarships available upon inquiry. Festival classes begin Friday, Jan. 12, 2:30 pm and conclude Monday, Jan. 15, 1 pm.

Margaret Irwin-Brandon
Desert Baroque Founder/Director
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

Organs of Italy

Organs of Italy

November 2-11, 2017

A tour for organists and friends of the organ

We begin in Rome at San Giovanni in Laterano, with its four historic organs from 1597-1875 and S. Maria in Trastevere’s organs by F. Testa, 1702 and Mutin Cavaillé-Coll, 1911. In Naples we have a private visit to the Treasures of San Gennaro, and board a ferry for overnight passage to Palermo. Six full days in Sicily, with rich cultural streams of the Moors, Greeks, the Normans and Spanish – centuries of art and culture and an organ culture unlike its Northern relatives. The seven manual organ at Trapani and that of five manuals in Catania, by Donato del Piano are among the unique representatives of style, but also the organ at the Abbey in Monreale, where there will be a concert. There will be time for those who wish to play the instruments, and time to explore the mysteries of the land. Organists Umberto Pineschi and Gianfranco Nicoletti will be assisted by local culture tour guides.
The tour includes land fees and travel from Rome to Catania, 10 nights hotel, all breakfasts and eight sumptuous local meals and wine. Price of the tour: $2900; early bird registration, by August 1, $2600. All registrations must be accompanied by $800, and be submitted by September 1, 2017. For further information: Margaret Irwin-Brandon, Look for Organs of Italy on Facebook.

Tango, Fandango and Sarabande

Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 7 pm

Dueling Harpsichords
Margaret Irwin-Brandon and Sonia Lee

Rancho Mirage Library, Rancho Mirage, California

Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992)
Spring — Summer (improvised arrangement for two harpsichords)

Louis Couperin (c. 1626–1661)
Passacaille in C

Johann Gottfried Muethel (1728–1788)
Duetto in Eb Major for Two Harpsichords, 1st movement

Astor Piazzolla
Autumn — Winter (arr. for two harpsichords)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Allemande and Sarabande, from Partita IV, BWV 828

Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805)
Fandango (arr. for two harpsichords)

The Suite Life

Friday,  January 20,  7 pm

Church of St. Paul in the Desert
125 W. El Alameda
Palm Springs, CA

“The Graces danced, and Apollo play’d.” The surprising and ever spectacular Gilbert Martinez, Director of Music Sources, Berkeley, California, and resident artist in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Preferred seating: $30, General Admission: $20

Saturday, January 21, 7 pm

Hope Center
45900 Portola Avenue
Palm Desert, CA

“The More, the Merrier!” Concertos for Two, Three and Four Harpsichords, with harpsichordists Sonia Lee, Charles Metz, Elaine Funaro, Webb Wiggins, and Margaret Irwin-Brandon and the Buon Tempo String Quartet.

Preferred seating $45; General Admission: $35

Sunday, January 22, 4 pm

Christ Lutheran Church
64565 Pierson Blvd.
Desert Hot Springs, CA

“From Baroque to Beyond,” prize-winning contemporary compositions and favorites from the Baroque, Foremost performer of new works, Elaine Funaro, harpsichord, with selected participants from “The Suite Life” workshops.

General Admission $15

Master Classes

Master Classes and Workshops are the heart of the weekend, and will be unique in that ALL those interested in participating will be welcome to do so. Similar to master classes, participants can count on robust and engaging conversations both with words and music about the history of the dance movements assembled into suites, and sharing information about current performance practice as it relates to the harpsichord.

Since Suites make up a major portion of harpsichord literature they are an essential component to understanding and enjoyment of the harpsichord itself – both historically and within the contemporary realm. While there is no call for academic papers, it will be expected that performers at all levels of experience and study come prepared to contribute knowledge and insight to their performances.

Workshop sessions will each be approximately 3 hours, and the instructors, from among the performers, will introduce the material and facilitate the performances of the attendees – allowing those performances to be of value to all, from the professional to the student harpsichordist. These sessions offer the opportunity to observe, question, advance ideas, review and revise knowledge, and to give and get feedback on performances.


The cost for “The Suite Life” is $225.00, and includes all three sessions, concerts and, closing luncheon. Those not wishing to register for the entire weekend may take Individual Sessions at $60.00. Registration may be done on-line, or by mail. In both cases, a check, made out to Desert Baroque must be sent by mail to:

Desert Baroque
PO Box 1086
Desert Hot Springs, CA, 92240

Master Class/Workshop Schedule

Friday, January 20, 2017
Church of St. Paul in the Desert, Parish Hall
125 W. El Alameda, Palm Springs, CA

1:30 pm, Registration and Introductions
2:00 pm, Class begins: Allemande/Courante, with Gilbert Martinez
7:00 pm, Evening Recital – Gilbert Martinez, Same location

Saturday, January 21, 2017
The Hope Center, Hope Lutheran Church
45900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA

2:00 pm, Class begins: Sarabande/Gigue, with Sonia Lee
7:00 pm, Evening Concert – Multiple Harpsichord Concerti, J.S. Bach; The Hope Center

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Private home
9395 Calle Barranca, Desert Hot Springs, CA

10:00 am, Class begins: Minuet, Gavotte, Bourrée and other dances, with Webb Wiggins
1:00 pm, Luncheon for participants and artists
4:00 pm, Afternoon Concert: Elaine Funaro and assisting musicians
Christ Lutheran Church, 64565 Pierson Blvd, Desert Hot Springs, CA

Desert Baroque “The Suite Life” is partly supported by the Western Early Keyboard Association (WEKA), Initial inquiries can be sent to