chamber music

color photo of Recording producer David Starobin and composer George Crumb while recording Crumb's 'Metamorphoses' (Book I) for Bridge Records
Steven Bruns / Courtesty of Bridge Records

“At this performance, it was a kind of pandemonium afterwards. The audience wouldn’t stop cheering.”

That’s how the noted pianist Gilbert Kalish recalls the Oct. 1970 world premiere of George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children

color photo of Antoine Clark conducting onstage at the MAC
Jennifer Hambrick / WOSU Public Media

Last spring, the coronavirus pandemic forced the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra’s 2019-20 season to a premature close. This Saturday the orchestra launches its 2020-21 concert season with two outdoor performances, as the McConnell Arts Center increases its offerings of art classes and opens a new gallery exhibition.

color aerial photo of cars parked in Headley Park parking lot
City of Gahanna Department of Parks and Recreation / Courtesy of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

While concert halls remain quiet amid the coronavirus pandemic, Columbus’ ProMusica Chamber Orchestra is heading outside and popping up around town in a summer concert series.

color photo of someone looking at computer screens with images of VIVO musicians performaning
publicity photo / Courtesy of VIVO Music Festival

Columbus’ annual VIVO Music Festival kicks off this week and, like just about everything else this year, it looks a little different.

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the sixth season of the week-long festival launched Monday under the name VIVO Reimagined. For the past five seasons, VIVO’s annual festival has presented world-class chamber music concerts at venues around Columbus near the end of summer.

color photo of Zoom screen with 10 peoples' faces
Chamber Music Connection / Courtesy of Chamber Music Connection

The intimacy of chamber music inspires passion – three or four musicians playing their hearts out together for an audience.

So when the statewide pandemic shutdown separated musicians and audience members alike, one local group of chamber music enthusiasts didn’t get mad. Instead, they got virtual.

color photo of Jeff Myers and Siwoo Kim playing violins
publicity photo / Courtesy of Jeffrey Myers and Siwoo Kim

Many folks these days are finding ways to be productive while sheltering at home. New York City residents Jeffrey Myers and Siwoo Kim escaped New York’s COVID-19 crisis and headed to Columbus, where they made their time in self-quarantine count.


St. John’s Episcopal Church in Worthington is a lovely sanctuary. I’ve enjoyed attending church there over the years.

If you go up there on a (non-quarantine) Friday afternoon you’ll hear music as soon as you pull in to the parking lot. A lot of music. That’s because St. John’s on a Friday afternoon is the home of the Chamber Music Connection, begun years ago by the wonderful Deborah Barrett Price.

color photo of Calidore String Quartet
publicity photo /

You could travel the world and spend thousands of dollars and lots of time in airport lobbies to hear the world’s top chamber ensembles perform. Or you could stay right here in Columbus and go to the concerts on the Chamber Music Columbus series.

color photo of Sharon Isbin with guitar
J. Henry Fair /

"It’s like a lovefest."

That’s how Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin describes her collaboration with the world-renowned Pacifica Quartet.

"We feel a real kinship with each other."

That kinship formed during the summer of 2016, when the quartet performed with Isbin on her annual recital at the Aspen Music Festival. Since then, Isbin and the quartet have toured together and, most recently, have recorded Souvenirs of Spain & Italy (Cedille Records), a collection of works for guitar and string quartet by Italian and Spanish composers.

color photo of vioinist Rebecca Willie and percussionist Eric Willie in performance
Bill Broadway /

A marimbist, a cellist with a boom box and two double bassists walk into a bar.

No, not the setup for a joke. Instead, the overview of an offbeat classical music series, one created by members of one of Columbus’ top classical music performing organizations as a new musical offering for the city.

color photo of Colin Maier holding two instuments and doing the splits on two chairs

A classical music concert is often like a meal – appetizer, main course, side dishes and, if you’re lucky, some scrumptious dessert at the end. But at concerts of the eclectic classical chamber ensemble Quartetto Gelato, you get to skip the meal and go straight to dessert.

You might still be reeling from the crazy crosswinds that blew through central Ohio last weekend. But recently a totally different kind of breeze blew through the Classical 101 studio when the Columbus-based Tower Duo offered up a sneak peek of its debut recording, Crosswind.

If music be the food of love, then you'll probably need something to drink with it. 

color photo of Maren Montalbano and Melissa Dunphy

A young Norse woman dresses up as a man, sails to the distant island where her ancestors are buried and demands that her dead father hand over a powerful sword as her birthright.

No, it’s not a role-playing game. It’s Philadelphia-based composer Melissa Dunphy’s Hervararkviða​, or The Incantation of Hervor, a set of three songs for mezzo-soprano, violin and harp whose texts tell a story as unusual as the sound-world Dunphy’s score creates for it.

color photo of local composer Richard Jordan Smoot sitting at the piano
Joy Kollmer /

It’s always exciting when a project comes to fruition. And when that project has both local and international ties, it becomes especially cool.

This week The American Sound is proud to feature Seize the Day, the brand-new album of music by Columbus composer Richard Jordan Smoot, with performances by the Carpe Diem String Quartet, international clarinet soloist Richard Stoltzman and other artists.