Taos School Of Music 2021 Chamber Music Festival With Borromeo Quartet, Robert McDonald And Young Artists


Founded in 1963, the Taos School of Music has celebrated chamber music with its live summer festival for the past six decades. This year, the school is offering audiences a Chamber Music Festival June 27 through Aug. 14.

The concerts will be recorded live at the Taos Ski Valley Village and will be broadcast a week later through the school’s website, taosschoolofmusic.com.

“This is a new and exciting venture for the school as now performances from our faculty at the pinnacle of their careers, and those of our young artists on the brink of theirs, will be available to a wider audience,” Taos School of Music Director Elizabeth Baker said.

The festival broadcasts begin Sunday, June 27, with a faculty concert by the Borromeo String Quartet and pianist Robert McDonald performing works by Bach, Beethoven and Dvořák. Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4 two unique Young Artists concerts will be offered.

Sunday, July 11 members of the Borromeo String Quartet, pianist Robert McDonald and violinist Ara Gregorian will perform works by Ravel, Beethoven and Brahms. Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 two additional Young Artists concerts will be broadcast.

Faculty concerts are $25 each or $100 for a faculty concert pass which covers all five faculty concerts. Young Artists concert tickets are $15 each. The entire 13-concert series, all-access pass may be purchased for $145. Saturday Young Artists concerts will be free to the public, but registration will be required at taosschoolofmusic.com with links to the concerts provided upon registration.

On-demand viewing will be made available through the Taos School of Music’s website and access links will be emailed to ticket purchasers. Those who purchase tickets will have on-demand access to the performances for 30 days. If present indoor concert venue limitations are lifted, on-demand ticket holders will be able to attend the live concert performances at 4 p.m. one week earlier than broadcast dates. 

The visionary performances of the Borromeo String Quartet have established them as one of the most important string quartets of our time.

“They probe and analyze from every angle until they discover how to best unveil the psychological, physical, and spiritual states that a great piece of music evokes. They’re champions of new music … but they also thrive on making the old classics sound vital and fresh,” said Cathy Fuller, Classical New England host on WGBH radio.

The Quartet has received many awards throughout their illustrious career, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. They won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and top prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France.

“The Borromeo String Quartet has been our primary faculty for over 15 years,” Baker said. “They audition all the string applicants for the school and select the lucky 17 who are then invited to attend our summer program. During their month-long residency, they mentor our Young Artists who are immersing themselves in perfecting their craft as performing artists. This award-winning ensemble brings a fresh approach to the old classics as well as championing new music. The Borromeo String Quartet trail-blazed the use of computers for reading music in score form. Nick Kitchen, the quartet’s first violinist, has arranged Book I of J. S. Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier for string quartet which will be featured in their first concert this summer.”

Pianist Robert McDonald has played extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.

He has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and Latin America and was the recital partner for many years to Isaac Stern, as well as other celebrated instrumentalists. A member of the piano faculty at the Juilliard School since 1999, Mr. McDonald joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007. In addition to coaching piano at Taos School of Music, he is also the school’s artistic director.

“Robert McDonald first came to Taos in 1981 and has returned every year since,” Baker said. “He has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician all over the world and has become one of the most sought-after piano teachers of his time. He personally auditions the piano applicants and has the difficult job of selecting two pianists to come to Taos every summer.”

“Returning to Taos and the School of Music after the quiet of this pandemic year will undoubtedly mark one of the true high points in my life,” McDonald said. “I have greatly missed the community of this remarkable town and its people, the company of my colleagues, and the privilege of working with the extraordinary young artists who come here to study at the onset of their professional careers.

“After nearly four decades of being a part of this grand vision so confidently set in motion by Chilton Anderson and his like-minded friends back in 1963, it’s hard not to reflect on the effect it has had on me.

More than any other single personal or professional experience, the Taos School of Music has helped shape my thinking as an educator and the ideals I hold to as a practicing musician. More than I can adequately express, I always have and always will be affected in the most profound way by the gifted performers who come here to work and learn.”

Taos School of Music is one of the world’s oldest and most renowned summer chamber music schools for young professional chamber musicians. The small class size, rigorous program, renowned faculty and inspirational setting make this an experience of a lifetime! For additional details, visit taosschoolofmusic.com.


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