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.

2017 – 2018 Season

Welcome to our 70th season!

This season is the most exciting ever. We have contemplated and planned, imagined and researched, secured musicians and organized repertory. It is a prodigious undertaking, and it is assumed fully by volunteers—our board, made up of music lovers and experts who value chamber music. We in Tucson experience the best chamber ensembles in the world.

This “best-in-the-world” pronouncement is not hyperbole. The ensembles we present appear in Amsterdam and Toronto, Vienna and Washington D.C. Because of their prodigious talent and expressive musicality they are in much demand by the very best chamber music societies. They have won awards, released acclaimed albums, and been much celebrated by critics. We regard their presence in Tucson as a treat; we hope you do too.

If you are unfamiliar with chamber music, we’d like to give you compelling reasons to try it, not the least of which is the possibility of getting close to music. In an age of digital downloads, we contend nothing matches the acoustic concert in which awe-inspiring artists bring to bear their prodigious skill with old-world instruments, and bring to life enduring compositions before your very eyes—and ears. There is nothing like it.

Please explore this season brochure and choose your dates early. Each concert has but one date—and you won’t want to miss it.


EVENING SERIES

Over the course of seven concerts, our Evening Series delivers the world’s great chamber compositions performed by the world’s finest chamber musicians. These concerts draw from the canon of art music in the Western tradition and composers of the 18th century to the present.

As well we commission works from living contemporary composers who write classical music. We extend the line of Mozart and Brahms into the present, and continue the remarkable tradition of classical music. The repertory provides familiar favorites and introduces unrecognized works of interest.

All concerts are on Wednesdays at 7:30pm at the Leo Rich Theater, downtown Tucson.

Concerts are preceded by a Supper Club event at a local restaurant with pay-as-you-go dinner and a lecture on the evening’s presentation. Concerts last approximately two hours with one intermission mid-way. Program notes accompany each concert.

Seats are reserved and all have direct stage views. Season subscribers receive priority and can secure the same seats for all concerts.


NOW MUSIC

Now Music is the next generation of Piano & Friends. It retains the heart of that series which AFCM launched in 1995 in order to present young professional artists in recital, but will evolve to encompass much more. The world of chamber music is thriving and, even within the classical form that constitutes AFCM’s focus, new musicians continue to emerge on the world stage and ensembles continue to experiment with form.

At the same time, the ways in which we can enjoy chamber music are evolving: an unexpected venue, a cocktail reception before or a dessert soirée after, opportunities to meet the musicians, and options to experience music in a casual atmosphere. As we expand what we believe to be possible, we urge you to keep your eye on this series as an exciting space in which chamber music will prove itself a vital and vibrant form of musical enjoyment for concertgoers of all ages and interests.

This season, we present four concerts, one of which is a tribute to Leonard Bernstein on the 100th anniversary of his birth.


TUCSON WINTER CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL

When you love chamber music, the opportunity to experience all it has to offer within a short period is significant and memorable. The juxtaposition of well-known pieces and unexplored compositions over the course of a week during which brilliant musicians come to the stage in different arrangements is a unique opportunity.

The 25th Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, under the thoughtful direction of Artistic Director Peter Rejto, reveals the full range, skill, and artistry of the world-class musicians who we are proud to host.

Open rehearsals enable you to get behind the scenes. A youth concert brings chamber music to the community. Master classes enable the amateur and the curious to learn from the best. And a gala dinner and concert offers the opportunity to combine food and chamber music.


DISCOVER AFCM

Q: I’M A LONG-TIME SUBSCRIBER. WHAT’S NEW?
We’re in the process of revamping our Piano & Friends series—still presenting superb young classical artists, but adding some unusual extra concerts and pre- and postconcert amenities and wrapping it in a new name that tells you what it’s about. Keep your ears open for news, and be ready for more developments in 2018–19.

Q: ARE SOME SEATS BETTER THAN OTHERS?
All seats have a direct view of the stage. Some concertgoers prefer certain spots and season subscribers can secure the same seats for every concert. We always provide you with the best available in terms of proximity to the stage. If you have a special preference, you may request a seat from our Box Office Manager.

Q: THERE’S ONLY ONE PERFORMANCE DATE FOR EACH ENSEMBLE; WHAT IF I CAN’T MAKE IT?
You’re out of luck! No, well—sort of. We record all of our concerts for future broadcast on KUAT-FM. Most of our artists have their own CDs that you can buy online. But neither replaces being at the live concert. We urge you to put the dates on your calendar and buy tickets early.

Q: WHY SHOULD I SUBSCRIBE?
You avoid missing a concert when we sell out (which happened this past season). Priority choice of seats, and the same seat for every concert. A discounted price. First notification of special concerts. If you later cannot attend a concert, you can give the tickets to a friend (they’re transferable) or turn them in to the box office in advance of the date as a tax-deductible donation to AFCM. It’s a deal that’s hard to pass up.

Q: WHAT IS CHAMBER MUSIC?
It’s classical music composed specifically for the small ensemble, one musician per part, performed live in an acoustic concert, for an audience in a small hall.

Q: IF IT’S CLASSICAL MUSIC, HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE SYMPHONY?
A symphony is a blending of many instruments and overseen by a conductor. Chamber music enables you to hear clearly each instrument and its contribution to the whole. The typical chamber ensemble is made up of string instruments, although frequently a piano or wind instruments are added. The musicians work in unison without the need for a conductor. Many compositions were written only for the chamber ensemble.

Q: I WANT TO INVITE A FRIEND BUT AM NOT SURE HOW TO DESCRIBE CHAMBER MUSIC.
It may not be what you think. Chamber music is an awakening; the unfolding occurs before your ears. It embodies elegance and emotional inspiration, a soothing cascade of sound that paradoxically wakes up your senses and opens your eyes, no matter if your favorite genre is jazz or rock. It is like a lively poem, in E-flat Major or A Minor. To be there is to know; it’s like nothing else.

Q: I’VE WONDERED, WHY DO ENSEMBLES SIT TO PERFORM, BUT A DUO OF PIANO AND VIOLIN, THE VIOLINIST STANDS?
It’s a matter of survival! Standing usually helps the violin sound project over the naturally dominant piano. Standing allows the performer to breathe more easily, with greater freedom of motion for the bow arm. Also, it looks cool, and helps focus the audience’s attention.

Q: WHAT’S YOUR CONNECTION TO POETRY?
Recognizing that many art forms share qualities of chamber music we have partnered with the U of A Poetry Center to provide a poem to accompany each concert. You’ll find a new verse in each concert’s program. Relax, think, and find joy.