Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society (CMS) is a powerhouse purveyor of chamber music in New York. It not only brings in a succession of dazzling guest musicians such as the Belcea Quartet or baritone Thomas Hampson, but also functioning as a multifaceted repertory company boasting a regular roster of prominent artists like pianists Emanuel Ax and Jeremy Denk.
Begun in the 1960s as the brainchild of esteemed American composer William Schuman, then Lincoln Center’s president, CMS saw its inaugural performance on September 11, 1969 at Alice Tully Hall. Today, Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han continue to fulfill Schuman’s vision of CMS as one of Lincoln Center’s great arts organizations.
In addition to presenting music from the Renaissance to the present day, and having commissioned more than 150 new compositions by the likes of Leonard Bernstein, George Crumb, Keith Jarrett, and Bright Sheng, CMS actively seeks innovative ways to bring chamber music to new and varied audiences. Such offerings include late-night concerts in Rose Hall, the “Unconventional Concerts” series produced by high school students, for high school students, and the family series Meet The Music! hosted by composer Bruce Adolphe. Those interested in learning more about chamber music can also check out EdWeb or interactive access to CMS Master Classes and lectures.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Information
- Venues: The Chamber Music Society presents concerts in a number of venues in the Lincoln Center area, including the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall. Other venues include the Concert Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West; the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio, Rose Building, 165 West 65th Street, 10th Floor; Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center, 129 West 67th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam; the Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street; the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Rose Building, 165 West 65th Street, 10th Floor
- Public Transportation: Excellent (all venues easily accessible by the 1 subway line)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Vary
- Ticket Prices: Vary by performance. Discounts are sometimes available for students and seniors
- Group Discounts: Groups of 10 or more receive up to a 20% discount; student groups of 10 or more receive up to a 50% discount
- Subscriptions: Choose one of CMS’s multiple Chamber Collection series or create a series of your own of 3, 4, 5, 6, or 12 events; the Chamber Music 360 for ages 21–39 is a discount package that allows subscribers to purchase three tickets for $60. Tickets can be exchanged up to two hours before the concert
- Membership: Friends level ($100–$1,499) provides invitations to open rehearsals and discounted ticket offers. Benefits increase in relation to donation amount. Patrons ($1,500+) enjoy benefits such as musical evenings in private homes, regular intermission receptions, and backstage gatherings
- Educational/Community Outreach: CMS offers an interactive program, Meet the Music. In this upbeat three-concert series, kids learn about music and hear world-class musicians who love to play for an audience of families at special afternoon concerts. CMS also offers Family Fridays, where patrons can purchase two regular Friday-evening concerts at the special subscription price of $75 and all the kids’ tickets are free
- Special Group Activities: Pre-concert wine-tasting receptions take place one hour before concerts in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall several nights during the season, and are an additional $12 per person.