The mission of Friends of Chamber Music is to present the finest chamber music performances to the Denver metropolitan area for the enrichment of diverse audiences; to introduce chamber music to new audiences; and to provide education and outreach programs for children and adults in the community.
In 1954, a group of musicians, music lovers, and business people created an organization devoted to presenting chamber music in the Denver area. Launching their first season in the Phipps Auditorium, Friends of Chamber Music (FCM) audiences grew quickly from 250 to sold-out crowds of 950. When the Phipps Auditorium was converted to an IMAX theater in 1981, FCM was challenged to find a suitable hall for performances, moving a number of times until landing at the Houston Fine Arts Center in 1988. In 2003 we were fortunate to move our series to the Gates Concert Hall at the University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts.
In 2005, with Chamber Series concerts sold-out by subscription, FCM added a three-concert Piano Series. This series has been very popular and has grown to nearly sold-out audiences today. Almost sixty-five years after its founding, Friends of Chamber Music is still committed to the artistic vitality of the larger Denver community, presenting chamber music concerts by the world's leading musicians. Concerts are creative and diverse, ranging from Baroque music performed on period instruments to contemporary works performed by artists at the cutting edge of musical expression.
While we are proud of our loyal audiences and financial stability, we are also cognizant of the overall decline in audiences for classical music. Thus, we remain committed to presenting music in Denver schools and increasing our adult educational outreach, including performances for underserved communities. Over the last five years, our educational outreach and audience development programs have grown significantly.
The FCM series counts as one of my great pleasures in life. The musicians of Continuum [March, 1992 and November, 2002] introduced us to the brave new world of late 20th century and contemporary music. Thanks for paying attention to this vital aspect of the art! - Karen Jones
After many, many decades of attending concerts beginning in Phipps Auditorium, I would be hard pressed to remember a favorite. Instead, I want to extend a big "thank you" to past and present board members. Your efforts have made this [music] possible for over half a century and enriched our community with memorable music both in concert halls and as outreach programs to young people. BRAVO! - Sandra M. Goodman
I attended the very first concert of the Friends of Chamber Music 60 years ago and have been a continuous subscriber ever since. I was an 8 year old child at the time and I don't recall the program, but I do remember the excitement of that opening night at Phipps Auditorium with my parents. My father, Bernard Schaffner, was one of the original founders of this amazing organization and remained an integral part as a long standing member of the Board of Directors. Having recently moved from Chicago he and a few friends saw the need for good chamber music in Denver. They mobilized forces, got community support, and made Friends of Chamber Music a reality.
My favorite chamber group was the Beaux Arts Trio, and I especially enjoyed Menachem Pressler who charmed us all at the piano when he played the Schubert Trios. My family has had an exciting legacy with the Friends of Chamber Music and it continues to enrich our lives.
- Barbara Engel