Now that Festival Chamber Music is celebrating its 25th anniversary season, I have been thinking about how it all began. One evening I invited some friends to my house for dinner and to play some music. These friends were all wonderful musicians. I also invited a few other friends who loved music. It was so much fun! It felt as though this was as good as life gets!
I started thinking about how different this was from the way most people experience live chamber music, either in the formal setting of the concert hall or as amateurs playing for their own pleasure. And then I thought: why not try to create a concert atmosphere where both the audience and the musicians feel as though they are sharing an evening of music at home together? Where everyone feels comfortable and relaxed. Where musicians take the music seriously, but don't take themselves so seriously. Where we can play amazing, rarely heard music for unusual combinations of instruments as well as the music we all already know and love.
In New York City, there are so many wonderful concerts every night, so I can't tell you how gratifying it is when after every concert, someone comments on how special our concerts are. It makes me incredibly happy that many of our most devoted subscribers had never attended chamber music concerts regularly and some had never attended a classical music concert of any kind before a friend brought them to a Festival Chamber Music concert.
We are so grateful for all the wonderful support we have received in the past 24 years that has made all this possible. My colleagues and I are just as excited to be starting our 25th season as we were to start our first season. We can't wait to introduce everyone to pieces that are just as new to us as they are to our audience members, many of whom have become not only our friends, but friends with each other too!
Since its inception, Festival Chamber Music has made the development of new audiences a top priority. The mission of Festival Chamber Music is two-fold:
To find ways to make attending a classical music concert attractive to new audiences
To present chamber music of the highest quality in a beginner-friendly environment which is accessible to everyone regardless of previous experience.
Festival Chamber Music has performed over 100 works ranging from the well-known masterpieces to rarely heard works for unusual combinations of instruments. Festival Chamber Music has also performed several first New York performances of works by contemporary composers. The artists speak to the audience informally before each piece in an effort to create a warm connection with the audience ("The audience felt little distance from the performers. The players shared their art, rather than doled it out." - Gannett Papers, June 18,1995)
In 1992, with a grant from the Vidda Foundation, Festival Chamber Music began a three-concert series in New York at Merkin Hall. The season was sold out and the following year, the series was expanded to its current five concert format. Since 2008, Festival Chamber Music Concerts have been held at Weill Hall in Carnegie Hall.
Festival Chamber Music was founded in 1987 as a summer festival in Westchester (Dobbs Ferry). It continued for six seasons drawing audiences from all over Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield counties, and New York City and was broadcast on WQXR.
All concerts will be held at:
(in Carnegie Hall)
154 West 57th Street
New York City