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Chamber Music Palisades
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Chamber Music Palisades

In the greater metropolitan area of Los Angeles, one of the largest in the nation, there are from 45 to 85 classical concert events each week. With that kind of competition it would be foolhardy to start an entirely new series, right? Well, that is precisely what a small, courageous group of longtime residents of Pacific Palisades did in 1997. They formed Chamber Music Palisades and opened their doors on October 21, 1997 with a program featuring music by Haydn, Schubert/Liszt, Ravel, Gaubert and George Crumb.

Today, with the “upstart” organization in its 11th consecutive season, you may ask what the key to success has been. For one thing, two of the four original founders were professional musicians with extensive contacts throughout the music community. Incidentally, they are both still very active in the organization as Co-Artistic Directors. As a result, the concerts have featured principal players from the major orchestras in the region. Over the past decade, CMP has given more than 70 concerts including demonstrations in elementary and middle schools and community family concerts in the local Palisades Library.

Programming of the regular season concerts has been another plus. Along with the familiar works that audiences expect, CMP has commissioned new compositions mostly from local composers. Premiere performances of commissioned works by Tanya Gabrielle French and Maria Newman were highlights of the first two seasons. Since then, commissioned works by ten composers have been performed including Ned Rorem, Paul Chihara, Gernot Wolfgang and Henri Lazarof. Another plus for audiences has been a liberal sprinkling of “unusual” works by such composers as Ligeti, Busoni, Janacek, Bolcomb and Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

A very popular highlight of each concert has been commentary before each work by Dr. Alan Chapman, KUSC/FM on-air host.

However, the essence of this success story is simply that a Westside audience, that had tired of commuting through freeway “parking lots” to hear great music, discovered that equally great music was now available – literally – in their own backyard. That was the CMP mission from the start and it would appear that it is being accomplished. If you want to learn more about CMP, I refer you to our website at:

Jim Stevens, president
Chamber Music Palisades

Title Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in gm, Op. 57 - Debussy: Sonata for Fl, Vla & Hp - Brockman: Feast of Fives
Artist Chamber Music Palisades
Label AIX Records
Release Date 11/19/2007

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