The Baroque Room is a performance space in the Lowertown neighborhood of downtown Saint Paul. The Baroque Room is part of an inclusive movement to provide an affordable performance venue for chamber musicians, and to create a diverse and stable early music scene in the Twin Cities. Designed with an especially resonant acoustic appropriate for early music, The Baroque Room houses a William Dowd double-manual Franco-Flemish harpsichord, a Flentrop Chamber Organ, and a Mason & Hamlin grand piano, generously on loan from Dorothy Horns. The Baroque Room offers wall space to showcase the work of local artists and houses a display featuring facsimiles of letters from The Schubert Club Museum collection. The Baroque Room was created with support from the Lowertown Future Fund, St. Paul Cultural STAR, and private donations.

Tami has a fantastic harpsichord built by William Dowd in 1977. Dowd is known as a great American harpsichord maker, but when players sit down at the instrument they say "Wow - this is a good Dowd!" We're very lucky to have it.

But we are not so lucky that we get to move it around when we play concerts. It is very possible to move a harpsichord, but never really lots of fun, to say the least. While living in New York, we formed a baroque chamber music ensemble called Flying Forms, named after a probable name for the Baroque period before it was actually called "Baroque". Since forming the group we have ended up moving harpsichords large and small all over the place for concerts whether they were in prestigious concert halls, local libraries or peoples homes. So when we were moving Tami's Dowd out of Saint Paul's Studio Z after a concert and a member of the contemporary ensemble Zeitgeist, who ran the space, said "Don't you wish you had a space of your own so you didn't have to move that around so much" we looked at each other and wished we did.

We had recently moved to Minnesota and were on a flight to New York City to play a concert, when we realized that creating a space to perform and keep the harpsichord might not be as much of a fantasy as it seemed. Rent could be manageable if we found partners to also use the space and grant funding could be found to renovate a space. Promoting and running concerts had become old hat since starting Flying Forms along with the experience we had gained during our careers: Marc was a house manager for an opera hall at Indiana University, Concert Manager at Stony Brook University, produced two workshops for the Emerson String Quartet and started a chamber music series; Tami had produced an academic conference at Stony Brook University, started her own concert series (the one that inspired Marc's), was Program Director for the Islip Arts Council and was about to be hired, though we didn't know it at the time, to be the Executive Director of the Lyra Baroque Orchestra. We figured that musicians and partners would be willing to help with rent to use a space if the space was an excellent place to play, in a good location, and if we offered to promote and work at concerts. Because of our past work experience we could provide these services, which would take the administrative burden off of musicians who just wanted to play a concert.

Upon returning from New York, we searched for spaces that might work and partners to perform in the new space. It didn't take long to find out that Lowertown was our favorite location and that the best available space was literally down the hall from Studio Z in The Northwestern Building. Tami was hired as Executive Director by The Lyra Baroque Orchestra and Lyra's board agreed that the organization would become a partner in the space, moving their offices, rehearsals, master classes and family concerts to the space. Along with Flying Forms, other organizations and performers expressed their willingness to perform in the space. It became clear that not only could we create a great space that would be used, but that it could become a center for early music in the Twin Cities since many of our partners played Baroque and Renaissance music on period instruments. We named the space The Baroque Room and received grants from Saint Paul Cultural STAR and the Lowertown Future Fund as well as a small loan from our new landlords to renovate the space. Since Flying Forms is not a non-profit organization and is fiscally sponsored by Springboard for the Arts we signed a ten-year lease ourselves. Concerts began in the new space in January of 2011.

The Schubert Club has very generously loaned The Baroque Room a Raudenbush and Sons baby grand piano and Tami's Dowd sits in the space, as well. We designed the space to also feature hanging artwork and have had local artists' work featured since our first full season began in September of 2011. The Schubert Club also has provided us with copies of composers' letters from their Museum collection, which are on display. In support of the musicians using the space, we also sell their CDs and display their promotional materials without commission. Many performers representing a wide variety of music and theater have used the space in both public and private events and during our first full season we hosted almost 90 events. We have been astounded at the response of our early music, chamber music and visual arts communities to The Baroque Room and look forward to many great seasons to come!

Tami Morse and Marc Levine