General Information

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (AFCM) was founded in 1948. They are a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization run by a volunteer board. They continue to bring to Tucson their Evening Series of six concerts by the world’s finest chamber musicians. They make every attempt to include a contemporary piece on most programs. Virtually all of the financial support for the Evening Series comes from audience contributions. In spite of their commitment to the utmost excellence in our presentations, AFCM keeps their ticket prices as low as possible in order to make concerts available to all.

Since 1994, they have presented the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival. This March festival features a world-class array of chamber musicians in an exciting week of musical activity. The Festival features both standard repertoire as well as more unusual chamber music works. Audience and musicians interact more than is ordinarily possible. Introductory talks precede the concerts. There are numerous channels of community outreach: low ticket prices for students, a free Youth Concert to which students from outlying communities are also invited, four open dress rehearsals, master classes open to the community and a magnificent Gala Dinner, featuring musical selections from Festival artists. The Artistic Director is renowned cellist Peter Rejto.

In 1995, AFCM inaugurated Piano and Friends, a series of three Sunday afternoon concerts, usually: one piano recital and two duos (piano and another instrument), genres that have been unreservedly neglected nationwide. Outstanding young musicians are recruited for this series, with the goal to help them launch their performing careers and to let our audience hear them at this exciting early stage. Not long ago, celebrated pianist Lang Lang was an “up-and-coming” performer at Piano and Friends. These same brilliant young musicians give free Master Classes on the day preceding the concert.

AFCM makes considerable efforts to expand their audience among young people through their extensive Educational Outreach Program by hiring young local musicians to play up to 15 chamber music concerts each year in local public schools. In addition, they give free tickets to all concerts to 10 members of the Tucson Junior Strings and the Tucson Music Teachers’ Association. AFCM started a cooperative program with the Education Department of the Tohono O’Odham Tribe.

In 1997, AFCM also started a Commissioning Program. They emphasize the commissioning of new chamber music works, that are accessible but decidedly contemporary. By 2013, the AFCM will have commissioned and premiered over 50 new works, all sponsored financially by individual members of their audience. This program and its online presence are unique in the world. All works may be accessed on our website.

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music is also a proud supporter of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award (KLRITA), a biennial piano trio award managed by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. KLRITA derives its impetus from the desire to honor the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio (Joseph Kalichstein, piano, Jaime Laredo, violin, Sharon Robinson, cello) in perpetuity by giving recognition to this prestigious trio’s 30-year contribution to chamber music worldwide. In addition, the award was created to encourage and enhance the careers of accomplished and extraordinarily promising young and “rising” piano trios which will be chosen every other year in perpetuity.

2016 – 2017 Season

Welcome to our 68th season!

In 1948 two couples eluded the Tucson summer heat by listening to music in a cooled bookstore. Ambitions grew and from those modest beginnings arose today’s AFCM, a non-profit organization made possible by volunteers and patrons. Our mission is to present the world’s great chamber music, performed by the world’s finest chamber musicians, in a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

Whether you are an aficionado or a novice, this guide to the 2016–2017 season is for you. Explore the schedule, learn about musicians, repertoires, and the chamber music tradition, and secure your access to concerts before they sell out. Then, join us for a little chamber music – a conversation between friends.


EVENING SERIES

Chamber music is not meant to be a way back to the 18th century. Instead, for the listener, the thrill of hearing modern musicians perform timeless trios, quartets, and quintets live in a close setting offers a way forward – for the afternoon, for an evening, for life.

Over the course of seven concerts our Evening Series delivers to you the world’s great chamber compositions performed by the world’s finest chamber musicians. Their talent and virtuosity is unrivaled and we bring them to Tucson for you.


PIANO & FRIENDS

Young musicians excel at defining the present while maintaining a conversation with the past. They are the bridge. When professional artists at the beginning of their careers translate the work of a 19th-century composer, they show us how to look back in order to go forward. The Piano & Friends series of three concerts on Sunday afternoons showcases exceptional young talents who honed their skills at the major music schools of North America, Europe and Russia. See them before they become famous. In contrast to our traditional concerts, these performances feature chamber compositions in which the piano plays a leading role.


TUCSON WINTER CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL

When you love music, the opportunity to experience all a genre offers within a short period is significant and memorable. The juxtaposition of well-known pieces and faces with unexplored compositions and musicians forges connections you did not know existed and leaves you feeling elevated.

The 24th Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival demonstrates the power and drama of chamber music. Artistic Director Peter Rejto presents a thoughtful series of concerts over the course of a week, a program that reveals the full range of the skill and artistry of world-class musicians. Open rehearsals, a youth concert, master classes, and a gala dinner and concert offer rare opportunities to go behind the scenes.


DISCOVER AFCM

Q: MUST I BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE?
A: Highly recommended. Many concerts sell out, so it’s better to get them in advance. Subscribing guarantees your tickets and the best seats. We accommodate last minute ticket purchases when possible.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT A CONCERT?
A: All the seats are good seats. You’ll receive a comprehensive printed program with notes on the compositions and musicians. Most concerts are two hours with an intermission at about the mid-point.

Q: WHERE DOES AFCM GET ITS MUSICIANS?
A: Our artistic directors select and engage ensembles who come to Tucson at our request. The musicians come from all over the world and we encourage audience members to suggest performers for future seasons.

Q: WHO ARE THEY?
A: We engage world-renowned professionals. They may be young musicians with spectacular talent or mature musicians with experience around the globe. In many cases, you may recognize the music they play rather than their names.

Q: HOW MANY TIMES DO THEY PERFORM WHILE THEY’RE
IN TUCSON?
A: Most of the time, we engage them for one performance only.

Q: WHO CHOOSES THE REPERTORY?
A: We design it in partnership with the musicians, balancing the interests of our audience with the performers’ proficiencies.

Q: DO YOU PRESENT OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC?
A: AFCM is dedicated exclusively to chamber music. We educate children and the community and enlighten audiences in order to increase appreciation of the chamber music form.

Q: DOES AFCM MAKE A PROFIT?
A: No. We are an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. If you’d like to be involved, please email us.

Q: WHY DO YOU CHARGE $30 FOR A CONCERT?
A: Ticket sales cover only a portion of the cost to hire musicians and stage a concert. To hear the same ensembles in other cities costs far more. Compared to other performances in Tucson, ours are a bargain. Student tickets are only $10.

Q: WHERE ARE THE CONCERTS?
A: All are at the Leo Rich Theater, downtown at the Tucson Convention Center. There is parking in an adjacent lot or on-street at meters (free evenings and weekends). Or arrive by streetcar or Uber.

Q: WHAT’S NEARBY?
A: A variety of excellent restaurants for pre- or post-concert dining.

Q: IS THE HALL ACCESSIBLE?
A: Yes. The hall is wheelchair accessible, and hearing assistance is available. If you need special assistance please contact us and we will be happy to help.


DISCOVER CHAMBER MUSIC

Q: HOW IS CHAMBER MUSIC DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CLASSICAL MUSIC?

A: It is more intimate than opera which uses sets and costumes, and orchestral concerts with 80 or more musicians who fill the hall with sound. At a chamber concert you sit close to a handful of performers and are able to absorb the music in a personal way.

Q: IS CHAMBER MUSIC JUST ABOUT 18TH-CENTURY MUSIC?
A: Absolutely not. Core favorites were written by the likes of Beethoven and Brahms, but exciting chamber music comes from men and women of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and time periods; we feature many of them, including contemporary works by some of the finest composers of today.

Q: WILL I RECOGNIZE THE MELODIES?
A: Sometimes. Over the years chamber music has been borrowed for movies, commercials, and popular songs.

Q: ARE THERE TRADITIONS OR PROTOCOLS?
A: Like any performance, you sit down, turn off your cell phone, and stop talking in order to listen. Try not to clap between movements, as it’s distracting to the musicians. Otherwise it’s pretty loose.

Q: IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SONATA AND A TOCCATA, OR A QUARTET AND A NONET?
A: Not at all. The point is to experience the music. Let it grab you. You can figure out the technical stuff later by reading the program notes we provide in every concert program.