Chamber Music America: the industry get-together

By Barry Kempton

I’ve just returned from four days in New York City attending the Chamber Music America annual conference.  Over the course of my visit I had 21 meetings, mostly with artist/ensemble managers, but also with other industry colleagues and friends who run presenting series, festivals or competitions.  In addition, I got to hear a number of “showcase” performances, half-hour mini-presentations by ensembles (all professional) who want to raise their profile and the number of engagements around the country.  There’s rarely a mediocre performance and a couple of times there are presentations of extraordinary quality.  I first heard the Danish String Quartet at last year’s CMA conference (though to be fair, my colleague Julie Himmelstrup had already heard them and had already earmarked them for their October 2014 appearance at Music in the Park Series).  There were a couple of outstanding “discoveries” this year too, so we’re hopeful this will lead to other debut performances in the coming seasons.

While there, I had the opportunity to revisit the Greenwich Village alternative classical music venue SubCulture for a new music extravaganza – four different quartets and ensembles featured during a marathon concert evening.  This venue, which only opened a little over a year ago, delivers a similar ambiance to what we are trying to achieve at Schubert Club Mix.  It’s an underground space with bare brick walls, “club” lighting and a bar.  If you’re in New York and looking for a cool venue to listen to classical music in all its various guises, take a look at what is being presented at SubCulture.

Speaking of our Schubert Club Mix series, as I write this blog on the plane flying back from New York Saturday evening, I am very much looking forward to Sunday’s Mix presentation at Aria of string quartet Brooklyn Rider with percussionist Greg Saunier.  I was delighted to learn too that we sold out on Friday.   More on that in next week’s blog.

Photo above taken prior to Sunday’s Schubert Club Mix performance with Brooklyn Rider & Greg Saunier at Aria.