Sometimes, to hear music is to see. When someone hears a melody or refrain permeating the air, a sensory memory can occur. Or someone could easily get lost in the sounds of a violin note, possibly woodwinds gaining momentum with the shift of a beat. In that sense, music is personal. However, it’s universal in that it’s a craft like many others.
It’s this craft that the Corpus Christi Chamber Music Society sought to bring to the Coastal Bend 40 years ago when the society was first founded. The society aims to promote the appreciation and enjoyment of chamber music by bringing world-renowned artists to perform for a broad range of listeners in the South Texas area at concerts, educational opportunities and community outreach programs.
“Isn’t it beautiful that a few people can have such a vision and do the work to bring it together, and that it lives beyond their participation in it?” said Susan Sturman, the society’s current program director. “That’s such a beautiful thing. I think the founders of the chamber music society were quite visionary, and it’s a successful movement.”
The series boasts incredible artists, with groups like the Ying Quartet, Billy Childs, Roomful of Teeth and Gryphon Trio making appearances in the 2021-2022 season. However, don’t think because chamber music has stayed mostly within the classical tradition that the society isn’t open to experimentation and innovation.
“We are trying to keep our high standards and stick with the mission that our founders started, and at the same time be a little more inclusive,” Sturman said. “What I mean by that is, there’s a preponderance of string quartets and piano trios that have come to Corpus as part of the society, and that is very much the heart of what chamber music is, but our world is changing, and chamber music is changing.
“There are fabulous wind groups, brass groups, voice groups that play phenomenal chamber music, and wonderful new composers writing chamber music, so we try to make sure to include that in our season by having a greater variety of instruments and voices represented — and also definitely try to bring more contemporary music while still satisfying the appetite of someone who wants Beethoven and Mozart, but keeping us current as well.”
Case in point: the society’s April 23 concert, which will have the aforementioned Ying Quartet, along with jazz pianist Billy Childs, in what the program describes as a “genre-bending concert.”
When asked about the hesitancy of someone who might consider chamber music boring or passé, Sturman responds: “Some people come thinking they’re going to hate it, and they absolutely love it! They’re drawn in because the artists are so fine and dedicated to their art.”
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