How to put on a great adult chamber music workshop

Susan working with four-hands partner Jack Stabile on the Schubert Fantasie in F minor at the 2017 Kinhaven Adult Piano Workshop (credit: Madeleine Fleury)

It was a great time with our panelists Javier, Susie, and Nancy, our moderator Susan, and participants, sharing ideas on how to improve and get started with chamber music workshops. If you weren’t able to join us or need a refresher, check out the video. (Updated 4/22/24)

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What makes a great adult chamber music workshop?  In a typical year, ACMP’s Workshops and Community Music Programs (W&CMP) grant fund receives applications from close to 200 different initiatives. As chair of the Grants Committee, I get to see them all!  While the vast majority of applications describe worthy efforts that merit some ACMP support, in each cycle a handful of initiatives stand out as really extraordinary, and make me wish we had five times the budget to distribute.  If this were a contest, and the grants the prizes, that would make my job really easy!  It’s not a contest, though.  W&CMP grants exist in order to build and improve the infrastructure that supports our members and the health of the chamber music for pleasure community.  So even though it would make the job of evaluating proposals impossible, what we really want is for every program to elicit a “wow, I wish I was going to that one!”  

In that spirit we thought it would be useful, both for people thinking about creating a new initiative and for organizers seeking to improve their current offerings, to offer a webinar that explores issues around starting and running a chamber music workshop. 

Tuesday, January 23 at 2:30pm Eastern for this online panel discussion.

Using a panel discussion format as a jumping off point, we’ll consider topics like:

How do you start a workshop from nothing?  Venue?  Format?  Advertising?

What makes people come back year after year?

How do you navigate issues around: specific instruments, playing level, different age groups, pre-formed and mix-and-match groups, newbies and veterans, repertoire, coaching philosophy?

And… whatever you wish to bring to the table.

I’ll moderate a set of panelists with deep expertise in this area: 

Javier Caballero, the Executive Director of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, which welcomes 300 students of all ages and experience levels each year to its international Summer Chamber Music Workshop. Javier has served on the faculty of Point Counterpoint, BUTI’s Junior Strings Intensive, and the NEC Prep School.

Susie Ikeda, the Executive Director of the Chamber Music Conference (CMC) since 2019. Before taking on this CMC role, Susie was a long-time workshop participant and served in several different staff roles. During her tenure, CMC celebrated its 75th anniversary and moved to a new site (Colgate University).

Pianist and educator Nancy O’Neill Breth, a former chair of the ACMP Grants Committee, former Director of Chamber Music at the Levine School of Music, and founder of Levine’s Chamber Music Weekend for adult amateurs. Her students have been Fischoff Competition laureates, performers on From The Top, and Tanglewood, Bowdoin and Greenwood Festival participants.

If you’re thinking of creating a workshop, looking to up your game, or just curious about what goes on behind the scenes, please join us at 2:30 ET on January 23, 2024, for what should be a very enlightening discussion!

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