About Our Founders

Dr. Susan Sandman is an early music performer and musicologist who earned her B.A. in music at Vassar College and a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University. A Professor emerita of music at Wells College where she founded and directed the early music collegium, Dr. Sandman has won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and elsewhere, and researches the music for programs and recordings by Elizabethan Conversation.

Derwood Crocker (1939-2012) began private music study during his childhood and attended Cornell University. An interest in design, sculpture, and music led him to the making of musical instruments, and he has been a full-time craftman/musician since 1965. The Crocker workshop has produced hundreds of instruments, many of them one of a kind, for performers nationwide; his instruments are in the collections of numerous colleges and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Evocative Performances on
Period Instruments

Shared music of early times brings us to a meeting of minds surpassing that possible by words alone, and allows a communication with the past unlike any other. Elizabethan Conversation combines scholarship in historical performance with individual judgment, and mixes in the magic of the moment. Started in 1982 as a renaissance lute duet, Elizabethan Conversation now performs diverse programs and often includes guest artists.


A Musical European Holiday

Vivaldi, Dieupart and Loeillet on recorders and harpsichord performed by Elizabethan Conversation (Susan Sandman, alto recorder, voice flute and Joscelyn Godwin, harpsichord).

Alto recorder and voice flute made by Thomas Prescott after JC Denner. Single manual Italian harpsichord. A live concert recording.


More Voice Flute Samples


Menuet, Dieupart  


The Medieval Lady CD

Early music by women composers and Anon. performed by Elizabethan Conversation with Andrea Folan, soprano.

Medieval Chant, Songs, and Dances. 16th and 17th Century Songs and Lute Duets


Medieval Lady CD

A Chantar, Countess of Dia 

Nobody’s Gigue 

Evangelium, Hildegard of Bingen 


A Winter Joy CD

Renaissance music on period instruments

A live concert recording by Elizabethan Conversation


A Live Concert Recording by the Frogwork Consort

Renaissance Songs and Holborne Dances

from William Byrd’s “Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie” (1588)

Frogwork Consort with Rebecca Leistikow, soprano Click for music link and details.



The concerts feature period instruments, many designed and built by Derwood Crocker. They also include notes on the music and instruments and a chance to speak with the artists afterwards.

Pleasing and exciting performances add flavor to many occasions. Here are our past programs.

FAUVEL: A Medieval Donkey Tale

A story to music featuring a 14th C. donkey Fauvel,whose name, a symbol of political and moral corruption, is an acrostic in which each letter stands for one of the deadly sins: Flattery, Avarice, Villany, Envy, and Lachete/cowardice. Our performance, based on old french texts and songs, uses medieval fiddle, voice, recorder, lute, mask-puppets, and audience participation.

Shakespeare’s Colors

Lute songs and instrumental duets showcasing the variety of musical colors (lute, viola da gamba, recorder, soprano voice) and poetry (English and Spanish) from the cosmopolitan renaissance of Shakespeare’s time.

A Musical European Holiday

Early music for recorders, viola da gamba, lute and harpsichord takes us on an European holiday. Through the music, we visit Italy (Antonio Vivaldi, Alessandro Santini), Belgium (JB Loeillet), Holland (Jacob Van Eyck), England (John Echols, Tobias Hume), Spain (Diego Ortiz) and/or France (Charles Francois Dieupart).

House Concerts

Music for a gala or special evening at home.

Special Occasion Programs

To suit individual needs.

Click here to contact us about a performance.