Friends of Chamber Music is going live! We have a new venue and a new partnership with University at Albany.
Concerts will be in-person, held in Page Hall located at 135 Western Ave, Albany. Parking is free and available in the student lot across Western Ave from the University at Albany downtown campus. 

The popular Performance in Context events will continue this season. These in-depth conversations and interviews offer the audience an opportunity to interact with the musicians and other notables in the classical music world. Held over Zoom in the week preceding in-person concerts.
Past Events

Alejandro L. Madrid, Ph.D.
Performance in Context

֍ Performance in Context: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 7:00PM over Zoom

Friends of Chamber Music hosts a Performance in Context with Alejandro L. Madrid, Ph.D., (Ethno) Musicologist and Cultural Theorist, and Professor in the Department of Music at Cornell University. This conversation will focus on Dr. Madrid’s newest book on the life and works of Cuban-American composer Tania Léon.

Alejandro L. Madrid is a cultural theorist whose historical, ethnographic, and critical work focuses on music and expressive culture in Latin America and among Latinos in the United States. Working at the intersection of musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance studies, his scholarship interrogates neoliberalism, globalization, and postmodernity while exploring questions of embodiment, affectivity, and politics in transnational settings. His current projects touch on issues of homophobia and masculinity as well as historiography, biographical narrative, and alternative ways of knowledge production and circulation through music from the long twentieth century.
In 2017, Madrid received the Dent Medal, one of the most important recognitions in the field of music scholarship, given by the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society for “outstanding contributions to musicology.” He is the only Ibero-American scholar who has received this prestigious honor since its inception in 1961. His work has also received the Philip Brett (2018), Robert M. Stevenson (2016 and 2014), and Ruth A. Solie (2012) awards also from the American Musicological Society, the Mexico Humanities Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association (2016); the Béla Bartók Award from the ASCAP Foundation (2014); the Woody Guthrie Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-U.S. Branch (2009); the Casa de las Américas Musicology Award (2005); and the Samuel Claro Valdés Musicology Award (2002), among other important recognitions.
His research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation, and the Genaro Estrada Fellowship for Mexicanists from Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His articles and reviews have been published in Boletín Música, Ethnomusicology, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Heterofonía, Hispanic American Historical Review, Latin American Music Review, Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, Resonancias, Revista Argentina de Musicología, Sound Studies, and Trans. Revista Transcultural de Música. He was Senior Editor of Latino/a and Latin American entries for The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition) and currently serves as Editor of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music and as co-editor of Cambridge University Press’s journal Twentieth-Century Music.

Madrid has published more than half a dozen books, including In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13 (Oxford University Press); Danzón. Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance (co-authored with Robin Moore, Oxford University Press); Nor-tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (Oxford University Press); Los sonidos de la nación moderna. Música, cultura e ideas en el México post-revolucionario, 1920-1930 (Casa de las Américas); Sounds of the Modern Nation. Music, Culture and Ideas in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Temple University Press); and the textbook Music in Mexico. Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press). He is editor of Transnational Encounters. Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of Experimentalisms in Practice. Music Perspectives from Latin America (with Ana Alonso-Minutti and Eduardo Herrera, Oxford University Press) and Postnational Musical Identities. Cultural Production, Distribution and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario (with Ignacio Corona, Lexington Books). He is currently working on a biography of Cuban-American composer Tania Léon; as well as a book about homophobia, masculinities, and music in Mexican and Mexican-American popular culture, and a book about sound archives and forms of knowledge in Latin America. He is also working in collaboration with the Momenta Quartet on the recording and edition of Julián Carrillo’s complete works for string quartet.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Musicology and Comparative Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University, Madrid has been a visiting researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte-Tijuana and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught seminars as invited professor at Harvard University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Centro de Investigación y Difusión de la Música Cubana; Universidad de la República in Uruguay; Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina; and the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has given the Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Ethnomusicology Lectureship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Gilbert Chase Memorial Music Lectureship at Tulane University. He has also presented numerous invited lectures; among others, at Brown University, Harvard University, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Princeton University, Stanford University, UCLA, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Universität Bern, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at Austin, and Yale University.

Since 2013, Alejandro L. Madrid is professor of musicology and ethnomusicology and chair at Cornell University’s Department of Music. Before that, he was on the faculty of the Latino and Latin American Studies program of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a visiting professor at Northwestern University and at Texas A&M University. He is frequently invited as an expert commentator by national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, Public Radio International, and Radio Uruguay (SODRE). Recently, he acted as music advisor to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Greenaway, whose film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, is set in early 1930s Mexico.

Kenari Quartet

In Concert and Conversation

֍ Performance in Context: Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:30PM (Zoom)
֍ Concert: Monday, April 4, 2022, 7:30PM, 6:30PM Pre-Concert Talk (Page Hall)
Tickets can be purchased HERE or at the door for $35
Students free with valid student ID

A saxophone quartet of “stunning virtuosity”(Cleveland Classical), the Kenari Quartet (Bob Eason, Kyle Baldwin, Corey Dundee, and Stephen Banks) returns to Friends of Chamber Music with a program of new works and arrangements for this unusual ensemble, including a novel collaboration with student filmmakers from the University at Albany.
See their full program HERE.

Applauded for their “flat-out amazing” performances and “stunning virtuosity” (Cleveland Classical), the highly acclaimed Kenari Quartet delivers inspiring performances that transform the perception of the saxophone. The quartet aims to highlight the instrument’s remarkable versatility by presenting meticulously crafted repertoire from all periods of classical and contemporary music. The Kenari Quartet has found a home performing on many of the premiere chamber music series in the United States. Recent engagements include appearances at Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Chamber Music Tulsa, among others. For many chamber music institutions, the Kenari Quartet has been proud to serve as the first ensemble of its kind to be presented. In addition to cultivating the highest level of performance, the Kenari Quartet has a deep passion for collaboration and innovation. Most recently, the quartet premiered J.P. Redmond’s 9x9: Nine Pieces for Nonet alongside the inimitable Imani Winds. As a testament to the flexibility of the saxophone quartet, the Kenari Quartet was recently a featured artist in Baldwin Wallace Conservatory’s 86th Annual Bach Festival. Here, they collaborated with faculty, student musicians, and academics to present an unprecedented residency centering around the influence of J.S. Bach on the late composer David Maslanka, as well as improvisation throughout musical history. The quartet advocates passionately for the music of living composers, and it has given world premieres of new works by Mischa Zupko, Joel Love, and David Salleras, among others. As a recipient of Chamber Music America’s 2016 Classical Commissioning Grant, the Kenari Quartet was awarded a generous grant that allowed them to commission a new work from Corey Dundee, the group’s very own tenor saxophonist. This exciting project was made possible by the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. In 2016, the quartet released their debut album—titled French Saxophone Quartets—on the Naxos Records label. This recording project features early masterworks for saxophone quartet by French composers Eugéne Bozza, Alfred Desenclos, Pierre Max Dubois, Jean Françaix, Gabriel Pierné, and Florent Schmitt. The Kenari Quartet also appears on David Deboor Canfield’s 2018 album, Saxophone Music, Vol. II, with their performance of Canfield’s Opus Pocus, a delightful and witty work that depicts wondrous magicians and illusionists such as Merlin and Houdini. Committed to giving back to their communities, the Kenari Quartet is regularly involved in community engagement opportunities and educational endeavors. As a part of their touring activities, they often perform and teach at youth centers and grade schools around the country. The quartet has also given performances, masterclasses, and lectures around the country at various universities, including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, the University of Southern California, the University of Houston, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Formed in 2012 at Indiana University, the quartet’s name is derived from the Malay word “kenari”, which may be translated as “songbird.” Expanding on the age-old idea that birds communicate through song, the Kenari Quartet seeks to exemplify this concept through concert hall performances. By not only connecting with their audiences via song, but also through physical movement, Kenari amplifies the standard concert experience with their striking visual communication and powerful stage presence. The Kenari Quartet is represented by Jean Schreiber Management. The Kenari Quartet performs exclusively on Légère reeds and endorses lefreQue sound bridges.

Bringing Chamber Music to Abu Dhabi

Zoom Conversation

֍ Zoom Conversation: Thursday, March 24, 2022, 7:00PM (Zoom Registration)

Join Co-founders Jennifer Laursen and Dorothy Byers, and web designer, Asaad Saad for a fascinating story about the founding of a chamber music organization in the United Arab Emirates. The process of funding and creating an audience for an unfamiliar art form involved numerous partnerships, interesting collaborations on both sides of the Atlantic, and a web of connections extending all over Abu Dhabi and beyond.

Mayumi Seiler and Colin Carr

In Concert and Conversation

On Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 7:30pm Friends of Chamber Music will host two monumental artists, violinist Mayumi Seiler and cellist Colin Carr, known throughout the world for their solo appearances, recordings, and chamber collaborations, in a duo program of works by Bach, Ravel and Kodaly
See their full program HERE.

Bio for Mayumi Seiler:
A violinist of impeccably tailored artistry, Mayumi Seiler is renowned for her exciting performances of concerto, recital and collaborative works both live and on disc. She has graced stages from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein and in London at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall for The Proms. In performances of depth and delight, she has collaborated with renowned soloists and conductors, and created a distinguished series of concerts which played to sold-out houses in Toronto over 14 seasons.

Mayumi Seiler has appeared as concerto soloist with major symphonies around the globe, including the Royal Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony, Moscow Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Montréal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Bournemouth Symphony, City of London Sinfonia and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, among others. She has collaborated with such noted conductors as Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, David Atherton, Christopher Hogwood, Neville Marriner, Sandor Vegh, Hugh Wolff and Richard Hickox.

Among Ms. Seiler’s extensive list of recordings are the Beethoven Concerto, the two Mendelssohn Concertos and three of the Haydn Violin Concertos with the City of London Sinfonia and Richard Hickox conducting on the Virgin Classics label. She has recorded Stravinsky’s Le Baiser de la Fée with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and David Atherton, also on Virgin Classics. Her many recordings of chamber music, including works of Schumann, Dohnanyi, Boccherini and Mozart, appear on the Hyperion and Capriccio labels.

While nurturing a busy schedule as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Japan and the Americas, Ms. Seiler founded Toronto’s Via Salzburg – acclaimed as “One of the best roads to our musical hearts” (Toronto Star). In Via Salzburg she led a string orchestra in regular performances at the Glenn Gould Studio for sold out audiences. Through 14 seasons she curated programs with renowned artists from Europe and Asia and combined varied art forms such as dance, pantomime and painting into Via Salzburg events, winning the embrace of audiences and the praise of critics citing the performer’s “combustion of creative energy – they clearly love what they are doing” (Toronto Star).

She has collaborated with many of the world’s leading soloists, including violinists Maxim Vengerov,  Richard Tognetti and Ruggiero Ricci, violist Veronika Hagen, cellists Steven Isserlis and Colin Carr, pianists Menachim Pressler,  André Laplante, Yael Weiss and Ikuyo Nakamichi, clarinetist David Shiffrin, and guitarist Elliot Fisk among many others.

An active and passionate teacher, Mayumi Seiler serves on the faculty at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. She has held a professorship at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg, has given masterclasses worldwide and has adjudicated at numerous international violin competitions. She began her musical upbringing in Osaka, Japan, where she was born of Japanese/German parentage. Wedded to the violin from the age of three, she received her musical education at the renowned Mozarteum during the formative years of her childhood in Salzburg.

Mayumi Seiler performs on the 1684 Croall Stradivarius. 

Bio for Colin Carr:
An internationally acknowledged master of his craft, cellist Colin Carr appears throughout the world as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and recording artist. Acclaimed for his “dazzling virtuosic technique, nimble bowing, [and] eloquent vibrato”(Winnipeg Free Press) he has appeared with major orchestras worldwide including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the symphonies of Chicago, Los Angeles, Montréal, Washington, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. Conductors with whom he has worked include Jaap van Zweden, Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi and Gianandrea Noseda, and he has been a regular guest at the BBC Proms.

Currently, Colin Carr is on a widely celebrated tour of the Bach cello suites through Asia and North America. “His supreme technique gives him the freedom to hold together long complicated phrases that many more mortal cellists can’t manage without breaking their arcs. And with his bouncy, jig-like ebullience, Carr is better than anybody in the final Gigues” applauds the Boston Musical Intelligencer. His concerts place all six Bach Suites in one evening, and have been heard in London at Wigmore Hall, in North America for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Gardner Museum in Boston and for distinguished series in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and beyond. During the Beethoven 250th anniversary in 2020, Colin will tour the composer’s complete works for cello and piano with his collaborative partner Thomas Sauer, with whom he has appeared in innovative programs on both sides of the Atlantic. 

As a member of the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio, he recorded and toured extensively for 20 years, and was a frequent guest with the Guarneri and Emerson string quartets. He continues his chamber music collaborations at music festivals worldwide. 

Recent CDs include the complete Bach suites on the Wigmore Live label and the complete Beethoven Sonatas and Variations on the MSR Classics label with Thomas Sauer. Colin has been honored with First Prize in the Naumburg Competition, the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award, and as winner of the Young Concert Artists competition. He is professor of cello at the Royal Academy of Music and at Stony Brook University in New York. In 1998, St. John’s College, Oxford created the post of “Musician in Residence” expressly for him. Colin’s cello was made by Matteo Gofriller in Venice in 1730. He makes his home in the UK.

Merz Trio

In Concert and Conversation

Merz Trio ( Lee Dionne, piano, Brigid Coleridge, violin, and Julia Yang, cello) uses their unique style of musical storytelling to present a program about looking back. Featuring Tchaikovsky’s great elegiac Trio, “in memory of a great artist,” as well as Fauré’s Trio written near the end of the composer’s live, the program also gathers around it a community of smaller works ranging from Nicola Matteis to Édith Piaf, Alma Mahler to Irish traditional tunes, all exploring a similar question of what it means to see life through a lens, rose-colored or otherwise. The Trio will also introduce the program and guide the audience through the various works.

See their full program HERE.


Hailed as "artists in the deepest sense of the word" (CutCommon), Merz Trio, winners of the Fischoff, Chesapeake, and Concert Artists Guild Competitions, have been lauded for their "stunning virtuosity… fresh and surprising interpretations" (Reading Eagle), and "perfection of intonation and ensemble" (Hudson Review). Merz Trio are passionately committed to reshaping the narrative of classical music through vibrantly dynamic programming and wide-ranging interdisciplinary collaboration. Their narrative programming style juxtaposes classical standards, new music, and their own arrangements of familiar and forgotten works, fluidly interwoven and guided with speaking from the Trio's members. Their interdisciplinary collaborations include ongoing projects with dancer Caroline Copeland, Sandglass Puppet Theater, chef David Bouley, and videographer Chris Kitchen.
The Trio is equally known for more immersive integrations of music and text in performance, ranging from their recital-theater piece built around Shakespeare's Macbeth ("Those Secret Eyes"), to their debut album interweaving Ravel's Trio with short pieces, poems, and diaries of the era ("INK," August, 2021). "INK" will be presented in a live concert format (“Ink Spills”) for the 2021-2022 season. Finally, in their prolific arranging, the Trio are committed to uplifting overlooked voices from history, ranging from Hildegard von Bingen to Lili and Nadia Boulanger, from Joséphine Baker to Irish folk melodies.
Merz Trio has been encouraged in their explorations by numerous institutional homes around the world: New England Conservatory, Yellow Barn, Snape Maltings, Avaloch Farm Institute, the Lake Champlain, Olympic, and Chesapeake Music Festivals, and the Fischoff Competition, alongside hundreds of welcoming venues and hosts around the US, Australia and the UK. They are currently represented by Concert Artists Guild and make their home in Boston.


Dover Quartet

In Concert and Conversation

The Dr. Ernest F. Livingstone Memorial Concert

The Dover Quartet, (violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, and cellist Camden Shaw), hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “the next Guarneri Quartet”, brings us a fascinating program entitled Novelty Through Revisitation. The program begins  with Zemlinsky’s Quartet No. 1 in A major, one of the most important works for string quartet between Brahms and the Second Viennese School, followed by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Tanya León’s,  Afro-Cuban inspired work, Quarteto No. 2, and finishing with the Brahms Quartet in A minor, Opus 51, No. 2, with its final movement inspired by Hungarian folk dance.  
See their full program HERE.

The Friends of Chamber Music November concert with the Dover String Quartet is our annual Dr. Ernest F. Livingstone Memorial Concert. To find out more about Dr. Livingstone, please click HERE.

“…the Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri String Quartet – they’re that good.” The Chicago Tribune

Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune) and “the young American string quartet of the moment,” (New Yorker), the Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom in 2013, following a stunning sweep of all prizes at the Banff Competition and has since become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. In addition to its faculty role as the inaugural Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Dover Quartet holds residencies with the Kennedy Center, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Artosphere, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Among the group’s honors are the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award. The Dover Quartet has won grand and first prizes at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and fourth prize at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition.

Ensemble Decipher
Performance in Context

Join in a conversation about finding one’s unique musical voice with the six innovative composers (Joseph Bohigian, Robert Cosgrove, Eric Lemmon, Chelsea Loew, Taylor Long, and Niloufar Nourbakhsh) of Ensemble Decipher! Founded in 2017 by Niloufar Nourbakhsh, this groundbreaking group integrates technology into its performance practice in fascinating ways; in addition to acoustical instruments, their recently commissioned pieces have included accelerometers attached to rocks, boxes trained via machine learning to respond to touch, and laptops. While expanding the boundaries of classical music, their electro-acoustic pieces are remarkably humane and deeply affecting.

Ensemble Decipher is a modular, experimental music group that performs with vintage, contemporary, and emerging technologies. Founded in 2017 by Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Ensemble Decipher strives to redefine performer virtuosity by drawing on the technological advancements of our time in order to highlight new voices and ways of listening. By reexamining new music and integrating technology into their performance practice, Ensemble Decipher seeks to reflect on and challenge the power structures that lace the field of electroacoustic music. Recent works commissioned by the group have mobilized network technologies, accelerometers attached to rocks, boxes trained via machine learning to respond to touch, acoustic instruments, and laptops. This has led Ensemble Decipher to collaborate with notable composers and technologists including Mara Helmuth, Margaret Schedel, Hannah Davis, Yaz Lancaster, and Lainie Fefferman and premiere works by many others. Recent feature performances include concerts at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, International Computer Music Conference, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Network Music Festival, and an ensemble residency at EarFest. Current members include Joseph Bohigian, Robert Cosgrove, Eric Lemmon, Chelsea Loew, Taylor Long, and Niloufar Nourbakhsh. For the upcoming season Ensemble Decipher has been awarded a SUNY PACC Prize and a USArtists International Grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Council to commission composers Kamala Sankaram, Paul Leary, Jose Tomás Henriques, Jamie Leigh Sampson, and Mari Kimura for performances in Denmark and across New York State.

The Escher String Quartet

In Concert and Conversation

Hildegard and Heinrich Medicus Memorial Concert

Friends of Chamber Music’s 73rd season opens with The Escher String Quartet (violinists Adam Barnett-Hart and Brendan Spelz, violist Pierre Lapointe, and cellist Brook Speltz) with a program of Haydn's String Quartet, Op 76 No 4 'Sunrise'; Ives’s complex String Quartet No. 2; George Walker’s Lyric for Strings; and Beethoven’s tender Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 127. 
See their full program HERE.

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall, London. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where it has recently performed quartet cycles of Beethoven and Zemlinsky. The Escher Quartet takes its name from the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.
Friends of Chamber Music
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