National Centre for Early Music

[Skip navigation]
Navigation Menu

About Us

The National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) is an educational music charity based in St Margaret's, a medieval converted church in the heart of York. The church was restored and converted into the NCEM in 2000, winning a variety of major conservation awards. The NCEM promotes St Margaret's as a significant venue for music and creative learning, embracing over 100 folk, jazz, digital and contemporary music concerts. You can view our calendar here.    
The NCEM is the national advocate of early music* in England, providing experiences and opportunities of the highest quality to an ever widening and diversified community, running an ambitious national programme including the prestigious York Early Music Festival, the Beverley and East Riding Early Music Festival and the York Early Music Christmas Festival. The NCEM has partnerships with festivals and conservatoires across Europe designed to support emerging early music ensembles EEE and boasts two major competitions, which encourage talented young composers and gifted early music specialists - the NCEM Composers Award and the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition. These major events attract national and international interest and are supported by BBC Radio 3 and some of the finest musicians in the world.
Education is at the heart of the organisation and, since its inception, the NCEM has offered a lively learning and participation programme for all ages, from early years to adult, encompassing a wide range of musical genres, including early music, jazz, folk and world. The NCEM is committed to equality and works to increase access to musical learning for young people living in challenging circumstances through its Music4U programme, funded by Youth Music and run in partnership with York Arts Education, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council. To date, this programme has enabled the NCEM to support 34,000 young people living in challenging circumstances in York and the Humber region
The NCEM is an ambitious organisation with a clear vision for its future. Over 1,000,000 listeners tune in to early music concerts presented by the NCEM and broadcast through BBC Radio 3 each year.  Partners also include the Universities of York, Huddersfield and York St John, Arts Council England; Youth Music and 3 regional councils; Creative Europe and REMA - the European Network of Early Music Festivals. As well as promoting our own events, we sell tickets for The Sixteen's hugely successful national Choral Pilgrimage Tour and have an increasingly thriving business model which helps support the on-going creative programme.
Supporters of our work are encouraged to join the NCEM's Patrons Scheme - we offer opportunities to meet with artists, enjoy supper parties with like-minded individuals and a chance to really make a difference - to find out more click here .
*The term "early music" refers to both a repertory (European music written between 1250 and 1750 embracing Medieval, Renaissance and the Baroque) and an historically informed approach to the performance of that music.