In Concert With CMS


Transcending- The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

In Transcending, explore 50 years of the Chamber Music Society as it has grown into a global organization. You will go on a journey both literally as the organization brings chamber music to all areas of the world, as well as musically with the breadth of the repertoire.

AIRED: October 04, 2020 | 0:51:24






Finckel: The music has not even been endangered permanently

throughout history by dictators, by famine, by war.


Music and art has always survived.


Hoover: Here we have the chamber music.

It's like an oasis

where musicians come together collaboratively

to produce music in some of the most purest form

of human expression, of human emotion.



Han: Chamber music is an art form

that is the most intimate and the most passionate.


It's a lot of things to discover

in this most amazing art form, in my opinion.



[ Upbeat chamber music plays ]




Young: Chamber music, first of all, is an intimate form of music,

and the best thing about it is that it can be done

in so many different places.

It doesn't have to be a huge expense and a huge effort,

and yet the music

is of the highest level and the most inspiring.


Chamber music can be done every week in a different venue,

in the salon, in the living room, in a small hall.

I mean, it's really a way for classical music

to spread its wonderful values.


Guzelimian: It's a group of people that, by definition,

have to listen to each other and by definition have to offer

something to each other in which each voice matters,

and yet, the result is the collective that emerges

from this interweaving of individual voices.

So for me, it's really a model of human interaction

expressed in music.

Chamber music is also one of the most flexible art form.

It take as little as 2 people, as large as 19 or 20 musicians.


Sussmann: It really is a democracy in terms of

how you make music with other people.

You sometimes have to be a leader,

sometimes have to be a follower, and I think that's

a very beautiful thing, that you're sharing

responsibilities with people onstage.


McGill: The rehearsals are much more involved,

so there's not a conductor,

generally, in front of a chamber group.


So for chamber music,

it's usually one person to a part,

that if I'm the clarinet player in that little ensemble

that I'm playing the clarinet part,

that doesn't mean that it's easier

because there are fewer people onstage.

In a way, it might be even more challenging

because everyone can be heard at all times.


Han: In the chamber-music world,

the musicians generally are charismatic,

curious, fun-loving.

They are seductive a lot of time,

and they are also really good at using humor and negotiation

to bring the concert onstage.

Chamber-music musician are the nicest bunch of people.

The truth is, if you're not nice,

nobody will want to play with you.





Finckel: It's natural when you have young musicians,

you don't want them to just play alone.

I remember being surrounded by a room of wonderful people,

all very interested teachers,

and were playing the string quartet by Maurice Ravel,

which has a beautiful opening theme.

We played it, and then one of us said,

"You know, let's play each of our parts alone...

so that they can hear how it's made."

We finished doing this.

Somebody said, "Do you mean that what you played first

was actually those four things put together?"

And we said, "Absolutely,"

and you've never seen so many surprised faces in your life.

They literally got up out of their chairs.

They came over and they looked at our music,

and they were realizing that this incredibly beautiful sound

was a composite of four voices of equal importance,

the musical excitement and what is possible,

just it's possible to multiply.

And I know many people

who say that they did not find their way in music

until they discovered chamber music.




Lee: I was performing a lot of concertos

and doing a lot of solo performances from a young age,

and so music to me was like a formula for a long time.

I didn't really understand the depth of music.

That answer really came to me

when I first encountered chamber music.


The fact that it was all very communicative

and it was really about ideas

rather than what is right or wrong.

Hope: You need to have chamber music,

and you need to have it.

You need to experience it, you need to program it,

and an organization like CMS takes chamber music

and turns it into something living and breathing.

And that's very exciting and very inspiring

to witness that and experience it.


Hoover: Well, CMS today stands as really a world leader

in classical music and chamber music.

We are the parents of chamber music.

We present concert, we commission your work.

We groom young musicians.

We tour not only in North America,

also all over the world.

We form partnerships.

We capture media making films, TV shows, radio shows,

and the whole idea is to bring chamber music

to the worldwide audience,

as well as forming a community around this amazing art form.


Finckel: Lincoln Center was officially opened in 1959

with the bigger halls.

Davidson: The whole idea was that it was bringing together

the finest companies performing the great classical arts here.

and then John Rockefeller described it as being

that the arts are not for the privileged few,

but for the many.

Even as far back as then,

there was talk of a chamber-music hall.

William Schuman, a composer,

was the president of the Juilliard School.

He found a great friend in Miss Alice Tully,

who was an aspiring opera singer in her younger days,

and instead of pursuing that as a career,

decided to turn her energies into musical philanthropy.

And along came a young pianist named Charles Wadsworth,

who still has a huge personality, very gregarious.

Timms: You know, as we celebrate 50 years and look to the future,

we should also recognize the contributions of the past,

and we think how lucky we are at Lincoln Center

the Charles Wadsworth's vision to bring this to our campus

and how much richer Lincoln Center is

for the elevation of chamber music as a constituent here.

Finckel: And Alice Tully was passionate about chamber music,

and she absolutely believed that chamber music

should be at Lincoln Center.

With her generosity, we were able to begin,

and we got our building up and we opened it,

Alice Tully Hall, in September of 1969.

The '69-'70 season was the first.

Timms: I keep in my office an object relating to

all of the constituents here at Lincoln Center,

and this is from the Chamber Music Society.

So this is the vinyl LP with Charles Wadsworth,

our founding artistic director.

This was the work right at the beginning of CMS,

and for you young people watching today,

this is called a record.

And here we are listening to the Beethoven String Trio,

a Bach concerto,

and inside -- I take good care of these

because these are important Lincoln Center objects.

Here is where we began,

and I cannot wait to see where we go next.


Finckel: Alice Tully Hall -- it sits on one of

the greatest pieces of real estate anywhere.

It's at the corner of 65th Street and Broadway,

and it's right across the street from David Geffen Hall.

It also happens to be very wonderfully attached to

the Juilliard School building.

It's beautiful inside.

The acoustics that we have, especially now

since the renovation in 2009 was completed,

are the best in the world.

You can be in there with 900 people

and feel like you were in a hall with maybe 100.

When CMS started,

it was a revolution at that time in 1969

because basically what you had were mostly string quartets,

and so this was sort of introducing all of these

mixed ensembles in a way that had not been done before.

We were there to represent the art form of chamber music,

which is sometimes not as well-known...

how diverse and broad and how many years it covers...


[ Singing indistinctly ]

Finckel: much, frankly, really great music there is.

[ Singing continues ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

Finckel: The mission of serving chamber music

and bringing it to the fore and putting it on

the same kinds of stages as the rest of the constituents

of Lincoln Center was a very exciting one back in 1969

when the society was inaugurated.



Hope: CMS has always been a fantastic organization,

but certainly, with David and Wu Han,

it's gone into a totally different era.

I think it's helped to propel it into a totally different sphere.


Finckel: Probably how I got interested in music

is one of my favorite stories of my life.

I've had such good fortune, such good luck.

I had marvelous parents.

I had a wonderful upbringing.

I was an only child.

My father was actually initially a jazz musician,

a member of a musical family.

He was the youngest of five children.

He was very talented,

and he learned to play jazz by himself in his basement.

So I remember him putting on recordings

when I was very young of Bach, of Brandenburg Concertos,

and Rachmaninoff symphonies,

and he would just play the same spot over and over again

and say, "Listen to that. Listen to this harmony.

Listen to how beautiful it was."

And that's how it got inside of me.

It wasn't forced.

It was just this guy was so crazy about music,

and so I grew to love it as much as he did

before I could even play anything.

So by the time I started to play the piano at about 5

and then the cello at 10,

I was already a musician, as it were,

and I never thought about doing anything else in my life.



Han: My father was the chief of policeman in Taiwan.

He's a very curious person, and every summer,

he would assign the family for some special project.

When I was 5, we all had to learn how to play golf.

When I was 6, we all learned how to swim.

When I was 9, my mother send my father to a flea market

to buy a Western suit in order to go to a cousin's wedding.

My father took the money, came home with no suit

but a stack of LPs and a turntable.

He started to play all the music, and he declared

that was the greatest thing he ever heard

and all of his children need to learn how to make that noise.

And so that's how I started the music.




I was a soloist, complete obnoxious.

I thought I was the greatest pianist in the world

in the little, small Taiwan.

My teacher told me, "You are very good pianist,

but if you would like to be a great musician,

you need to play chamber music."

I said, "What is that? I don't know."

I play concertos in recitals.

I was a great soloist.

And he said, "Yes, chamber music teach you

to study a complete score

and teach you to be a nice person,

and you will discover a brand-new world,"

and he was totally right.

[ Vocalizing ]



It's a fundamental part of the musical diet,

and without chamber music, you know, it's like a vitamin.

You know, you get sick.


What the players of that organization do so well

is the presentation.

They make it enjoyable, they make it fun,

and anybody that's been to a CMS concert

knows the kind of emotions that are there.

And it's volcanic, in fact.


[ Cheers and applause ]


[ Horns honking ]


Lin: Of course, you can say chamber music

is a separate entity from, let's say, an opera house

or a symphony orchestra, but the dedication is the same.

It is imperative

that we bring the best to the audience.


Hope: The programing is so singular

and so well thought out, draws parallels,

and joins the dots between the pieces.

It's fantastic, and you can have concerts

which are chronological in nature,

you know, time-wise, or you can juxtapose

or you can put one piece against another.

And when you do put one piece up against another,

so to speak, they sound different

than if you put piece C in after piece A rather than B.

So the way two works affect each other

as a listening experience is also part of the game.

And it's not long after those programs are sitting there

in front of us that we start to think about specific musicians.

Han: It's like a good chef making a great meal.

It has to be balanced.

You don't want to have a delicious French meal

with somebody is pretty aggressive.

You don't want that,

but you might want to take that intensity

to mount it in some amazing Russian program

that is just gonna knock you off the stage.



[ Cheers and applause ]

And it's part of our job to really make sure

our meal for our audience

are absolutely delicious and interesting.


Young: They have created a structure which I don't think

exists anywhere in the world,

which is a roster of tens of musicians

of the highest quality who can come in and out

over the years, are used to performing with them,

and that is then, you know, a permanent roster

that can create concerts at the highest level.

And they play together periodically.

Many of them have been there for 20 years.

A big part of our job as music directors

are like arranging blind dates

and arranging wonderful marriages,

and if you play your card right, the fireworks happen onstage.


Davidson: We have usually somewhere between 120 and 140

different musicians

who perform with us during the year.

They come from all over the world.

I think we have them from 18 countries this year.


Part of what makes us unique

is because we have fantastic supporters

who enable us to pay the transportation,

to bring people in, to bring them in

to play one particular role, which they will be playing.

And David and Wu Han have decided,

"No one can do that better, so I'm gonna bring them in."

Finckel: It's something that it lives on a piece of paper,

but it doesn't happen until people actually play it.

So even pieces of music were written 300 years ago,

every time you play it, it's a new production.

It's fresh, it's new, and they always sound different.

Davidson: David and Wu Han, they will custom-design

every concert for every particular venue,

and our single tickets are growing.

We were on track to break all records this year,

and it's because we have people who,

when they come once,

next year, they come for three concerts,

and the year after that, they're taking seven.

And we have a lot of people who are taking

all 55 concerts in New York because they know the musicians.

They adore the music.

They trust that every concert will be extraordinary,

and they've developed a community

where they have so many friends there, as well.

So the community aspect is really a huge part of it.


The music is at the core of what we do,

but in order to do what we want to do with that,

of course, you need to have fabulous musicians.

This organization affords a tremendous amount

of opportunity for young artists.

We have the CMS Two program, which is now the Bowers Program,

and through that program,

we give three years of a residency to the artists.

And through this program,

we are able to present and really feature

some of the most compelling young and emerging artists.


Thompson: The Bowers Program at Lincoln Center

is pretty much the premier chamber music,

early-professional opportunity for young musicians like myself

who are looking to start a career in chamber music.

There isn't a whole lot of opportunity for musicians

to understand how to launch their career.

You know, if you're studying law or business,

like, you kind of know

exactly what path you're supposed to take out of school,

but in music, there really isn't anything like that.

So a lot of the things that you want to try to do,

you just have to try it out.

But then there aren't that many,

a whole lot of opportunities out there.


Han: It's an opportunity that CMS

has provided for the young musician

to have an opportunity to hone their skills,

to present them in the most important stage,

and also to guide them through their music.

And that's the investment

that we need to make for any art form.


Guzelimian: The audition process itself moves very far away

from sort of the "show me 10 minutes of your best stuff,

bam, wham, thank you very much, next,"

kind of mechanical audition process

true to the spirit of chamber music.

It's a deeply musical and immersive experience.

You submit a very thorough application,

written application with your goals,

you know, your career, why you love chamber music,

so you have to write these essays

and then also submit an audio tape.

Sussmann: Then if you pass the tape around,

you have a first live round.

You play in front of a big panel of very impressive people.

You have the director of Carnegie Hall,

often somebody from the Juilliard School.

You have some great musicians on the panel.

You bring whatever piece of chamber music you want.

Could be a solo, could be a trio,

and then if you pass that, you get to the final round,

which is maybe the most interesting one,

because you are put in a situation where you have to play

with some of the musicians from the society.

Thompson: And the music, they actually didn't tell us

who we were playing until a few weeks before.

When you're playing all these concerts,

you have to be ready to learn and prepare music

at a really high level as quickly as you can.

They also want to see you rehearse a little bit.

So it's not just playing the music.

They want to hear you discuss your ideas,

as we would, you know, in a rehearsal

as we prepare for a concert.

-Okay. -First movement?

Yes. Juicy sound. Juicy?



[ Classical music plays ]


Guzelimian: Responsiveness is central.

I mean, there have been instances of people

who in a certain way are staggering talents

or have virtuosity or mastery of the instrument.

But they're very set in their ways,

and nothing happening around them

is gonna get them off that charted course,

and that's a nonstarter in chamber music.

It's this amazing mix of high individuality

and at the same time,

high responsiveness to everybody around you.


One of the things that David and Wu Han have done

which I think is absolute genius

is integrate the young artists

of the Bowers Program into the daily life

and the main stage of Chamber Music Society.

Lin: I went from a young little guy when I made my debut.

Now I'm 60 years old.

I can turn around and kind of become the old fart

among the musicians,

you know, who gather, you know, for a CMS concert.

What you're guaranteed is that you're gonna be performing

with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

But what you actually get is that you have exposure

to all of these incredible senior, established musicians

who care about you and who want to mentor you.

And so they really try to recommend you do things.

And they try to bring you to things

that they are involved in,

and they really want to see you succeed.

Sussmann: The other important thing about this program

is that, yes, they're young artists,

but they really treat these young artists

like any other artist

that has been in the society for a long time,

meaning they go on all the tours,

they play on the main stage. They play in the Rose Studio.

They're featured on radio broadcasts.

And I think that's amazing,

[ Classical music plays ]

Lee: It's also, you know, when you are surrounded

by people who are so,

so, so excellent, you just sort of start to listen differently.

You get better, too.

You know, just, your standards change. Right?

And so when you learn from the best,

I think you really just learn, you know, at a very high level.

And so I think that's how I was able to really get better.

McGill: When I found out I got in, I mean, it was amazing

because I just -- It was, like,

the realization that my life had changed

and my career had just changed in an instant.

And, yeah, it's gonna be a blast. I'm just so excited.

I can't wait for it to get started.



Hoover: There have been many milestones

that this organization has achieved,

but among the ones that stand out

that is -- We made an important decision

as part of our prior strategic plan many years ago

that touring was going to be

a material part of our organization.

[ Classical music plays ]


Han: At CMS, we do more than 80 concerts a year worldwide.

We have established a partnership

in mainland China and Taiwan.

We tour Europe all the time.

We just started the partnership in Colombia,

in both Bogotá and Medellín. And so the touring program

has really brought this amazing art form all over the world.

I don't think you can really call yourself world class

until you play all over the world.

CMS has over the years been tremendously committed

to bringing chamber music

to different places around the world.

We've been very lucky to engage with a lot of people

who have been able to help us do that.

The most important person for us, of course,

in China is Shirley Young.

Shirley is beloved and revered in China

exactly as she is in the United States.

She's a huge figure.

Wu Han, I think, five years ago came to me

and said they had been doing work

expanding chamber music across the country,

but also internationally now. They had been to Korea.

And they wanted to do more work in China.

And so I said, "Well, let's see how we can do that."

So we worked for a couple of years,

and we got involvement

with presentation of a three-day concert.

And at the time,

the conservatory only had one chamber music class per week.

Very little. It was very low priority for everybody.

There are, as you know, thousands of violinists

in China, right? There are 40,000 pianists, so...

Students studying music,

which is the biggest group of music performers.

And, in fact, the president of China just made a speech

saying that every child should learn an instrument.

So this is in a population of 1.3 billion.

All the children are going to be learning,

and they already are, right?



Finckel: Asia has opened up in a spectacular way

where just the name of the Chamber Society

of Lincoln Center makes people's eyebrows raise.

And they're excited by that.

And they bring all of their perspectives,

their national perspectives,

their cultural perspective,

but also their various educations in music

all together.

In Korea, sponsored by LG Corporation,

we pulled together a group of very fine young musicians.

And what follows is master classes.

Had them perform, we gave them training,

and then even a few years ago, invited them back to the States.


Lin: Classical music is elegant

and a cultural experience for many.

In Asia, for instance, the idea

of going to a symphony concert or a recital

by a celebrity artist,

those things seem to carry a lot of popularity.

Chamber music for the longest time

has been almost an afterthought.

Chamber music needs a lot of work.

It needs nurturing.

You need to cultivate the audiences.

[ Classical music plays ]

When you go into a conservatory,

you know, everybody, including myself,

harbors a dream, like becoming the next Itzhak Perlman,

the next Evgeny Kissin.

But what they don't realize, even at a young age --

we're talking about very talented young musicians --

is that even if you

are, like, the biggest soloist in the world,

you still need to collaborate with other musicians.

So the basic idea of playing with somebody

is not like violin as a separate entity,

and that's a completely wrong concept.

And so in that sense, what CMS is promoting and emphasizing,

you know, is the joy of making music together.

[ Classical music plays ]


Hope: The chamber music gives it this very interesting,

intimate feel, and yet it's globally intimate.

I can remember playing in South Korea,

and, you know, the line of people after the concert

to come and meet us. I mean, there was, you know,

probably 300, 400 people

of which very, very many young kids were there.

And so the enthusiasm within those young people,

it's wonderful to see that and to feel that.

Sussmann: I like being part of a team.

And actually, it's not just the stage,

although that's the main part, right, is to be onstage

and performing that music,

but it's also traveling together.

Right? When you're a soloist,

I think a lot of the time, you're lonely.

You're flying by yourself, and you're in hotels by yourself,

and you have 2,000 people that, you know, scream your name,

and then you're back by yourself in the hotel.

But with chamber music, we get to go on the road together

and get to know each other better that way.

Lee: Like, the most memorable trips of my life

were affiliated with CMS,

where I got to go to Cuba for the first time.

We got to do this amazing expedition in Alaska.

And so we have a lot of activities that,

you know, music is at its core, but we get to explore the world.

We have a tour this December

going to Taiwan and Japan.

We have out of seven musicians, five of them are from Korea,

Taiwan, American, a Frenchman, and a Russian guy.

And so you really have this international flavor,

which is super-important.




Davidson: One of the great advantages to having the touring

is that we're able to provide employment for the musicians.

You are only going to be able to perform in chamber music

if you're able to make a living.

And we also want to make sure that every place,

ideally for us, in the world,

although there has been intergalactic conversation,

has the opportunity to have really the finest

performance of chamber music,

because, of course, that's what's inspirational, is

having the greatest musicians out there from wherever

and having an opportunity that unfortunately

most cities themselves couldn't possibly put together.

[ Classical music plays ]



[ Music ends, applause ]


Even in the U.S., we have many, many partnerships

that we formed -- with the Harris Theater in Chicago,

Saratoga Springs Performing Arts,

universities like Purchase and and Drew University,

St. Cecilia Center,

the Shaker Village in Kentucky.


Hamilton: CMS every year goes to Shaker Village in Kentucky.

Some of those concerts are done in an old tobacco barn.

That was just magic.

It's the kind of thing that chamber music can do

that you can't do symphonically, because you can have

10 or 6 or 4 musicians in this venue.

The people all around, you can really see them.

You can hear the music. All the slats are partly open.

It was -- It was quite magical.


Davidson: The Shaker Village has a hotel there,

so the idea was that this would help them to fill the hotel.

Well, now there are all kinds of rules

as to how you can actually get a room,

because we've gone from the 100-person meeting house

to all concerts being done

in the 350-seat tobacco barn,

and the entire village is sold out.


[ Classical music plays ]

CMS is a fascinating organization

because its mission is very clear --

It is to proliferate and to support

and to keep this great art form alive

and to continue to have it flourish.

So David and Wu Han have really been focused on making sure

that the next generation of musicians is coming up

and is learning what they know.


We have a young musicians program,

which is absolutely thrilling,

so there are local concerts where those students get to come

and they have a professionally produced concert.

We do a videotape of it.

It goes up on our website so that they have that

for when they go to college or apply to college.

And then winners from those are then chosen to come in

and to perform on the Alice Tully Hall stage.

[ Classical music plays ]


The goal of our education has been total inclusion.

We bring schoolchildren to CMS.

We have an enormously successful family program,

which is a hugely diverse audience.

The thing that's closest to me are those two things

that I do there for adults and for kids.

And for the adults, it's the lecture series.

It doesn't feel right because Beethoven is doing

this incredible storytelling where that F-sharp minor

that was missing in the opening...

The thing that made it really fun for me --

to teach music to adults

when you are not really in a classroom situation

where you can expect them to contribute by doing work.

For the kids, I just thought it would be a fun thing

to have a character who is kind of a musical detective.

Too much sugar. Way too much sugar.

Here are some pine nuts. See?

Little nuts. If you put those over notes,

it's like staccato.

And the noodle is the legato sign.

So I'm having a lot of fun doing it, and I have to say,

I thought doing this at home was going to be

extremely challenging, which it is,

But it's also fun.

[ Piano plays ]


Finckel: It's very strange not to see students

coming in and out of the Juilliard School

or in the elevators going up to their dorms,

but you know they're out there,

and we're communicating with them digitally.

And when things shut down, we all looked at each other

and we had one -- Fortunately, we had

one really great place to look, which is our archive,

which has been in real high gear.

Han: For the last 10 years, with some visionary support,

both from the organization, as well as a few visionary patrons,

that we have decided we need to capture

all these amazing concerts from our stage.

This was many years ago, before even this world of Zoom

economy that we live in.

We decided that it was gonna be great

from a learning perspective.

We could go back and see performances in the past.

As we built our website, that we could have full viewership

amongst an increasing audience.

So it was natural that we thought, "Wow,

let's stay in touch with people through revisiting

some of the spectacular concerts, lectures."


Davidson: We've just launched a really amazing program,

which is called CMS Front Row National.

That is taking the concerts that we have,

we are allowing other organizations around the country

to show them on their websites in order to have that

so that they can engage directly with their audiences

with content they wouldn't otherwise have had.

I see as we come back in the future --

Hopefully we will eventually get back to live performances.

But I see a dual medium -- both the live performances,

as well as a digital format at the same time.

And so this is an opportunity through that milestone of making

that an early stage investment in the digital format.

Han: I know since the pandemic, the viewership

of all of our digital programs has grew leaps and bounds --

600% increase on this age group,

800% increase on this program,

and it's one of the most exciting times

for chamber music, in my opinion.


Finckel: Our board of directors has grown

to being an incredibly dynamic organization

with people who are very smart

and are great leaders and mentors for us.

Thankfully, they're very, very supportive of what we do.

You know, one of the things about CMS,

I think, is what it owes to female leadership.

You know, the performances are in Alice Tully Hall.

They have performed on the Adrienne Arsht Stage.

Of course, Wu Han is such an exemplar of the art form,

and Suzanne's leadership is so exemplary, too.

And all of that now under the chair of Elinor Hoover,

who I think is the first female chair

since Alice Tully.

In my role as chair of the board,

I think we have quite a unique board, as well.

This board is one

that is comprised of a diversity of talents.

But more than that, we are connected quite deeply

around this love of chamber music.

But Eleanor also brings to us the global viewpoint

from her wide experience

and a very impressive career in banking.

And we have fabulous board leadership

in all of the rest of the board.

Our board also approved our proposal

that we would postpone the concerts,

not cancel them, and that we would pay 50% fees now

and then 75% fees when the concert occurs

so that in the end, the artists will have gotten 125%

of the original fee.

We have nothing if we don't have great musicians.



Finckel: You know, the urge to do music,

it's a basic human need

for somebody who is a musician and the need also

when you get to a certain point in your life,

and that's getting younger and younger for people, I'd say.

The urge to teach.

Amongst our regular artists

now at the Chamber Society, we have some 37 music directors,

many of them young, who have started their own festivals

and concert series and proactive kinds of projects

in presenting and bringing music to people.

So that's very gratifying for me and Wu Han.

We're not doing this all alone.

There's a big ripple effect that's not limited to life

in the Chamber Music Society.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Finckel: Approaching the 50th, had wonderful ideas.

We solicited ideas from every part of our organization.

We finally managed to combine them

all into the concept of the milestone season.

And we got almost, I guess,

maybe 3/4 of the way through that

before the COVID torpedo came and sunk the ship.

But we [Laughs]

Not to be daunted by that.

Anyways, we've rescheduled everything.

So everything that was in the brochure, it will happen.

It means people will get to hear it

and the musicians will get to play it.

And we couldn't be more proud of our organization

that embraced this promise to our listeners

and to our musicians to pick up and continue where we left off

when all this craziness is over.

[ Classical music plays ]


[ Music ends, applause ]

And art has always survived.

It's like grass coming up through concrete.

Doesn't matter how much concrete you put down.

It's gonna come back.

The music is immune to the virus.

Han: In this pandemic period,

we can make music happen even right here today, you see?

We're gonna have a string quartet,

and that's the greatest chamber music combination.

So we took best advantage of that.


This is what's really amazing, what they've done -- 50 years,

and they've gradually built this whole outreach,

but this structure is so extraordinary

that allows them to continue developing chamber music,

performers, young performers, audiences, and global outreach.

That's extraordinary.

So I see the future of CMS

as one where we will continue to lean in

to being the premier global organization.

I imagine Chamber Music Society in the next 10 years

or 20 years can really pull our community together,

form communication,

form conversations through this art form,

commission new music, grooming young musicians,

capturing all of our media work,

really using this art form to jump-start

or to continue what this society really needs --

a nice conversation and the generosity toward each other,

as well as love for great art form and great music.

[ Classical music plays ]





I don't think words can describe what it's like

after four months being in isolation

to have a live audience to share music with,

so thank you.


The final piece of tonight's program

is Beethoven's last string quartet,

the Opus 135. And it's very dark.

And then all of a sudden, it just turns on a dime

to very uplifted in spirit and movement.

Perhaps this is, again,

a testament to his resiliency as a person.

He was plagued by illness all his life,

suffered a lot personally,

didn't have a lot of luck in his personal life.

But I think that this gave him room

to pour all of his inner emotions,

things that maybe he might have felt inhibited

in telling people, into his music.

And I think this piece really proves that point.

[ Classical music plays ]














[ Cheers and applause ]



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