Founded in 1966, Chamber Music Monterey Bay has its roots in an organization begun by Hazel Watrous and Dene Denny – two pioneers of early California history who brought music performances to the Monterey Peninsula in the mid 1920s (often featuring new works by local composers.)
We have a long, 49-year history. Here are some of our artistic highlights:
Chamber Music Monterey Bay was one of only twenty presenting organizations nationwide to participate in the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award (KLRITA), 2002-2012. The biennial KLRITA was the first piano trio award in the world of classical music and was created to encourage and enhance the careers of accomplished and extraordinarily promising young piano trios (piano-violin-cello). The four KLRITA winners appeared on our series to huge critical acclaim.
Chamber Music Monterey Bay achieved a major artistic milestone by commissioning a chamber work for the first time. Credo, a string quartet written by internationally-acclaimed composer Kevin Puts and performed by the Miró Quartet, had its World Premiere in Carmel in October 2007. The work was later recorded (2009) and is being performed around the world, a new favorite among the world’s most renowned presenters.
We launched our first multi-event residency program with the nationally-acclaimed Cypress String Quartet. As a result, more than tripled its annual number of outreach activities in local schools, with the artists working closely with area teachers to augment their music curricula. This program continues today as CMMB’s “Visiting Artist Outreach” Program, through which our visiting ensembles visit K-12 classrooms in Monterey County and provide interactive music activities. In addition, as time allows, our ensembles make occasional visits to Senior Residences for people who cannot attend live performances in Carmel.
Chamber Music Monterey Bay presented “Te Amo Argentina” – a program of vibrant works, by Argentine composers, accented by Tango dance and photographic images of the diverse Argentine landscape – a pulsating and inspiring homage to classic Argentina. Featuring music from the Latin Grammy Award-winning album “Antonio Lysy at the Broad – Music from Argentina”, this was a hugely exciting event; our audience even joined the dancers following the performance for some unscheduled tango lessons!
We presented “Portals”, a multi-media exploration of longing and connection in the digital age conceived by virtuoso violinist Tim Fain, producer & creative director. Co-producer and film direction by Kate Hackett, choreography and dance films directed by Benjamin Millepied, text by Leonard Cohen, and lighting and production design by Roderick Murray.
The program included music by: Philip Glass, Kevin Puts, Aaron Jay Kernis, William Bolcom, Nico Muhly, and Lev Zhurbin.
Our most recent artistic achievement, the four-part Arc of Life commissioning project, features the work of four acclaimed American composers: Kevin Puts, Chris Theofanidis, George Tsontakis, and Joan Tower. World Premières of each of the four commissioned works were the highlight of four consecutive Chamber Music Monterey Bay concert seasons – featuring the Daedalus String Quartet, Trio Solisti with clarinetist Jon Manasse, the St. Lawrence String Quartet with soprano Jessica Rivera, and the Miró String Quartet.
In our 2015-2016 season, the Jasper String Quartet performed a new work by Aaron Jay Kernis – co-commissioned by Chamber Music Monterey Bay in consortium with Caramoor, Carnegie Hall, Classic Chamber Concerts (Naples, Florida), Chamber Music Northwest, and Wigmore Hall.
We plan to continue commissioning new works in partnership with presenter consortia, thus carrying out our Mission to present music composed over the past four centuries and its contemporary international expressions – exploring creatively chamber music’s on-going evolution.
In 2018, Living Frescoes will return to Sunset Center. Commissioned as part of the Arc of Life project, this work by Kevin Puts features the imagery of Bill Viola and will be performed by Music from Copland House in November. The season will finish with the return of well-loved musicians, The Montrose Trio (featuring musicians from the now disbanded Tokyo String Quartet) in April.