Welcome to the North Shore Chamber Music Festival-the music makers!
We had a dream. We wanted to start a chamber-music festival as a way to enhance and give back to our community. In 2011, we were running errands near our home, noticed the Village Presbyterian Church and quickly realized it would be ideal for such an event. For participating artists, we knew we could draw on a top-notch network of friends and colleagues with whom we have had the good fortune to collaborate throughout the years.
What resulted was the North Shore Chamber Music Festival, which takes place each June over four days in Northbrook. Critics have hailed it as one of the best-kept secrets in Chicago’s classical scene, and it’s not hard to understand why.
“World-class” is an over-used term, but we never hedge on quality, consistently inviting guest artists who live up to the descriptor. The programs mix old and new, the well-known and little-known, so there is always something fresh and something familiar. Perhaps best of all, the concerts are warm, inviting and intimate – all the qualities any worthwhile chamber-music presentation should have.
2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the festival – a noteworthy milestone in the rough-and-tumble non-profit world. Of course, we plan to celebrate, and we invite you to join the festivities. Among the programming highlights is Beethoven’s Septet, a cheerful, too-little-heard masterwork tinged with the rococo style galant of Mozart and Haydn. It anchors the opening all-Beethoven program Wednesday, June 10, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the great composer’s birth.
Another larger-scale chamber work anchors the Friday, June 12, concert – Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi’s Sextet for the unusual combination of piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet and French horn. Written in 1935, it includes elements of jazz and what one writer has described as a “lopsided Viennese waltz.” Culminating the festival on Saturday, June 12, will be a concert titled Grand Finale – Virtuoso Parade, which showcases all 12 of the festival musicians in two Vivaldi concertos and Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Following festival tradition, it ends with a “parade” of short virtuosic pieces including Khachturian’s famous Waltz from Masquerade.
We usually mix new guest artists and returnees, but for this special year, all the participants will be familiar faces. Violist Atar Arad, violinist Lisa Shihoten, clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg, cellist Wendy Warner and pianist William Wolfram, for example, have appeared four previous times at the festival, including the debut edition in 2011.
As a special tribute to the 10th anniversary, we have added an extra concert to the 2020 offerings on Thursday, June 11. Continuing the festival’s commitment to education and outreach, the performance features five recipients of the Arkady Fomin Scholarship, which we founded in 2015. Julian Rhee and Katherine Audas are first-time recipients and pianist Janice Carissa and violinist Jacqueline Audas, Joshua Brown and Masha Lakisova have appeared at the festival previously. In addition, Russian-born bassoonist Marlène Ngalissamy, who is set to receive a 2020 Fomin Scholarship, can be heard June 10 in the Septet.
2020 is a big year for the North Shore Chamber Music Festival. If you are a regular attendee, welcome back. If you’ve never experienced the event, this is the perfect time to give it a try.
We look forward welcoming you in June to the NSCMF-the music makers!