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Edward & Virginia Brewer met in 1965 at a party for Juilliard students from California. Virginia was a graduate student at Juilliard at the time and Edward was dating the hostess, a friend of Virginia, also an emigrant from the San Francisco Peninsula. Virginia and her friend plus the rest of their woodwind quintet agreed to play a service at Judson Memorial Church where Ed was music director. Ed invited oboist Virginia to perform with him now and then at other services; thus they discovered that they had an immediate and effortless ensemble.

One thing led to another, (Virginia’s friend having relocated to Bergen, Norway), and the two were married in 1968. Edward’s dream was some day to have his own orchestra composed entirely of instruments as they were during the 17th and 18th centuries, the heyday of the harpsichord. It was not until the mid 1970s that baroque music on instruments of the period drifted into New York City from Boston, via Europe. By this time, both Edward and Virginia had acquired a certain reputation for expertise in the interpretation and performance of baroque instrumental and choral music, played on “modern” instruments.

In 1976, Virginia was dragooned into learning to play the baroque oboes: yes, friends, more than one oboe: the treble oboe, the oboe d'amore and the oboe da caccia. It didn’t really help that Virginia already played the modern equivalents of these instruments because, as she had feared, they all had completely different types of reeds and significantly different fingering systems. Well, life is nothing if not a series of transitions. We had two tiny children at the time, too -- another transition -- but that is enough for now.


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