In the past 60 years, Miami has turned from a vacation destination for touring classical musicians to a prestigious venue for performance. I can remember a famous violinist, one of the nicest I ever met, who would plan two weeks at the Sonesta and make sure that would be the timing of his Miami performances each season. But, times have changed with the emergence of so many arts organization.
However, we hope you remember one that has remained constant – The Friends of Chamber Music of Miami. From the Guarneri and Juillard Quartets to pianists like the wonderful Rudolf Firkusny and many others, Miami concertgoers have known there has been one play to hear the world’s greatest instrumentalists in recital, in the area’s finest acoustic venues.
Yes, there have been plenty of other wonderful concerts in the community, many taking place at Dade County Auditorium or the Gusman Concert Hall in Downtown Miami. And I myself remember some amazing performances there.
And while many many think my last name has me a biased observer, anyone knows that I could not be more unbiased in my views if they have listened to me argue with my father over which performers performances, and concerts deserve the most praise.
For me, the best place for Miami classical music concerts has always been the Friends of Chamber Music. Why?
1. Hearing world class performers each and every concert
2. Hearing masterpieces on each and every program
3. Hearing both #1 and #2 in a music setting that is so intimate, that everyone hears every voice in the music. Everyone in the audience talks about the tone of the first violin, or the glorious sound of the cello, or the incredible mastery of the pianist. This is what makes chamber music such an incredible listening experience.
4. And most recently, no place else in South Florida can one hear one of the world’s greatest young opera singers in a solo program. No, not an elaborate opera in costume with an orchestra (visible or not). No, just the pure magnificence of one of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading young sopranos or tenors – ones that have appeared under the baton of the great maestro James Levine himself at Lincoln Center.
For this, I hope you subscribe to our 60th season – filled with concerts that represent exactly the greatness and legendary experiences I have described above.
When you join us this season, you will hear the complete Beethoven Piano Trios by today’s pre-eminent piano trio Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson; the 70th anniversary of Russian’s best known string quartet today – “the Borodin’s” (as their fans say); three of today’s most electrifying pianists from England and Russia (Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough, and Nikolai Lugansky) that frequently perform with the world’s greatest orchestras and at the most prestigious concert venues, and the returns of the Ehnes Quartet in all-Beethoven and Roberto Diaz bringing with him the Brentano Quartet (whom thousands worldwide raved about while watching them perform with the finalists of the most recent Van Cliburn Competition). And on a sentimental note, the season brings back to the podium a conductor, James Judd, who has touched so many of us and likely has conducted more performances in South Florida than any conductor in our region’s history.
While I work in Boca Raton and will not look forward to one minute of I-95 each night this season, this will be the season I will not miss a single moment.
Because it is not just that it is the 60th anniversary season and I feel a duty to support it however I can, I also want to make sure I experience every incredible moment of each concert – as this season’s schedule is every bit that attractive.
I hope you agree, and join me.
Concertgoer since college (Late 1980s)
FOCM Board Member (3rd season)