Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Celebrates Several Milestones This Season

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Tucson-based Arizona Friends of Chamber Music has a season of milestones to celebrate in 2012 and 2013.

Pianist Lang Lang: “I had great experiences playing here many years ago and I still keep the wonderful memories.”

The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, a largely volunteer organization, is marking its 65th season of presenting world-renown musicians performing classic favorites and rarely or newly heard works in chamber music. Part of the celebration includes presenting its world-class 20th Winter Chamber Music Festival March 17-24, 2013.

As part of its festival, the organization will debut its 50th commissioned work in a sustained effort to present contemporary chamber music to a wide audience.

The group also puts on an Evening Concert Series that showcases ensembles from around the world, including the Julliard String Quartet, the Miro Quartet, Eroica Trio and the Jerusalem String Quartet.

Its Piano and Friends series focuses on up-and-coming pianists in solo or duo recitals. One of those concerts featured the now-celebrated superstar pianist Lang Lang.

As a nonprofit organization, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music keeps its ticket prices low to make this classical music genre accessible to much of the public. Ticket sales make up about 43 percent of its revenues. The group depends on donations to cover the rest of its expenses.

Donors and members also fund the group’s community outreach program, which includes master classes led by Piano and Friends musicians and a special free Festival concert for youngsters.

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music Facts
1. The organization was founded in 1948 as a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
2. Its board is made up of volunteers with a variety of careers and backgrounds.
3. The Evening Concert Series is more than 60 years old.
4. Piano and Friends began in 1995.
5. Local young musicians are hired to play chamber music concerts in public schools.
6. The group provides free tickets to music students and educators.

Winter Chamber Music Festival Facts
1. The first festival was held in 1994.
2. Peter Rejto, emeritus professor of cello at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, has been the festival artistic director since it began.
3.     Around 14 musicians perform in each festival, both as part of their ensemble or solo efforts and in a variety of combinations with other soloists and ensembles.
4. Performances cover standard repertoire, as well as unusual and contemporary works.
5. The event includes a gala dinner and concert and free open dress rehearsals.
6. 98.7 WFMT in Chicago calls the event “a jewel of a festival.”
7. American Record Guide calls it “one of the best and most adventurous festivals in the US!”

Commission Program Facts
1. Thirty-nine composers from around the world have contributed new chamber works to the program.
2. Each work is performed, often in a debut, at the Winter Chamber Music Festival.
3. Music has been composed for strings, piano, voice, clarinet, harp and saxophone.
4. One commission incorporated string quartet, percussion and didgeridoo.
5. Commissioned works have been performed and recorded worldwide.
6. Each work can be heard on the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music website.

Remaining 2012-2013 Season Concerts
1. Evening Concert Series: Trio Solisti Jan. 23, Harlem Quartet Feb. 13-14 and Ébène Quartet April 10.
2. Piano and Friends: Sergey Antonov and Bernadene Blaha Jan. 20 and Caroline Goulding and Michael Brown April 14.

About the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music
The nonprofit, volunteer organization is dedicated to presenting great chamber music performed by the best musicians of the genre in concerts accessible and inviting to a wide audience.

Pianist Lang Lang: “I had great experiences playing here many years ago and I still keep the wonderful memories.”

Composer Pierre Jalbert: “Arizona Friends of Chamber Music leads the way in bringing new chamber works to life.”

Statement from Miro Quartet: “You are a jewel in the West!”

Statement from Julliard String Quartet: “Playing for the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music has always been a highlight for the Juillard String Quartet.”

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (AFCM) donor Dick Firth: “No program anywhere has matched AFCM’s unbelievable array of commissioned works.”

AFCM donor Wes Green: “The individuality and quality of the groups that AFCM brings in make a very interesting and entertaining season. I especially appreciate the diversity of repertoire.”

Related Links:
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Randy Spalding
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