For classical music enthusiasts in Tucson, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music is the nonprofit organization that presents world-class chamber musicians, live in concert at an affordable ticket price.
AFCM exists to ensure that the adults, students, and children of Tucson can experience the chamber music genre in its highest professional form. The group welcomes all people, no matter their age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political status, or disability. It endeavors to present excellent chamber music at a price below the actual cost of organizing performances of the world-class musicians (and for free to school children), by securing donations from individuals, businesses, and grant-conferring institutions.
AFCM’s volunteers, Board members, and partners strive for excellence in all associated events, materials, communications, and personal interactions so that all about AFCM is of the same high caliber as the music.
AFCM presents four programs each year. Each offers distinct attributes. The thread that runs through all of them is world-class excellence in the chamber music form.
This is AFCM’s trademark collection of concerts, the best of the best from around the globe, engaged by AFCM for one night only in Tucson. It is our serious and sophisticated series of full-length concerts, designed to appeal to knowledgeable chamber music aficionados, classical music enthusiasts, and anyone interested in chamber music in its pure form. At the Leo Rich Theatre. Lobby drink service is available before concerts and during intermission.
This is the recent incarnation of the original Piano & Friends series which sought to present up and coming chamber musicians and those performing as duos (rather than the traditional quartets) and with the piano. For the future, this series is not new music necessarily, but new experiences that allow you to experience the best chamber music in new ways. These include: shorter, no-intermission concerts, wine, and hors d’oeuvres prior to a concert, outdoor concerts, chamber musicians experimenting within the form, and more. At a variety of venues.
Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival
Each March—winter elsewhere but blissfully spring-like in Tucson—we host a cast of musicians from around the globe for an intensive week of collaboration and performance like we do not see at any other time in the season. Master classes, lectures, afternoon and evening concerts with opportunities to meet the musicians make for a week of chamber music joy. Festival Gala concert at the Arizona Inn. Concerts at the Leo Rich Theatre.
Introduced in 2015, this brief series of three small concerts offers something our regular season does not: local professional musicians performing well-loved compositions in a casual venue with luscious wine, food from local restaurants, and a no-intermission one-hour performance. For those new to chamber music, it has been a suitable place to begin. For those who love chamber music, it means you don’t have to feel deprived over the hot summer.
Venues and Seating
AFCM’s home stage is the Leo Rich Theater at the Tucson Convention Center, located in Downtown Tucson. As well, AFCM presents concerts in a variety of other venues around Tucson include Holsclaw Hall a 204-seat chamber music hall on the University of Arizona campus in mid-town Tucson, Berger Performing Arts Theater a 496 Proscenium theater on the campus of the Arizona State Schools for Deaf and Blind west of west of I-10 on Speedway Blvd., the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Tucson, as well as more casual venues such as the Scottish Rite Cathedral and outdoor locations.
All seats are good seats in the Leo Rich Theater. Series Subscribers receive the first choice of seat location. For single tickets, seats are assigned by the Box Office Manager in the order in which requests are received. When Subscribers tell us they are unable to attend, we release their seats to others. We always strive to give you the best seat available.
Since 2016, AFCM has partnered with the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Under the direction of Executive Director Tyler Meier, staff of the poetry center selects a poem to pair with each AFCM concert, and you can find it printed in the concert program. Poetry and music are inextricably linked. Many analogies have been noted throughout history and we offer the poem-concert pairings to enhance your concert experience.
Each AFCM concert is accompanied by professionally-written program notes. Under the direction of Jay Rosenblatt, AFCM Board member and Associate Professor at the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona, volunteer Nancy Monsman prepares detailed and exploratory notes. These short essays about the music, the composer, and the historical context work to heighten your understanding of the concert, provide insights that may not be obvious from observation, and help you enjoy what you hear. We hear from our audience that some prefer to arrive early and read the program notes prior to the concert while others enjoy listening first and taking the program home to read the notes later.
During the Festival and occasionally for other concerts, artists provide free master classes. Open to the public.
Students may purchase concert tickets for $10 (as compared to the regular price of $30). In addition, members of the Tucson Junior Strings and the Tucson Music Teachers’ Association receive free tickets when available.
Right after World War II, two young couples were looking for a place to keep cool. Their homes had no air conditioning or swamp cooling, so they started meeting at a nice, chilled bookstore near the university, which had a lounge with comfortable chairs. They’d meet there one Thursday night every month, and listen to new 78 rpm records, and talk about politics. Eventually, the group moved to a private piano studio near campus, where it was possible to have live music played by local musicians. Ambitions grew, and in 1948 a small group of enthusiasts launched a nonprofit presenting organization, initially called the Arizona Friends of Music – “Arizona” to embrace a parallel series in Tempe, and a general reference to “music” to keep the options open, although chamber music immediately turned out to be the focus.
Read more at the AFCM website.