Learn about who we are, what we do, and why!
Mission, Vision, and Values
Chamber Music Monterey Bay is a 501(3)c non-profit organization.
Our tax ID # 23-7001657.
Chamber Music Monterey Bay enriches the cultural life of the community by
promoting high-quality chamber music through a world-class concert series and community education programs.
Chamber Music is defined as music performed by one person per part, with two or more players, and usually without a conductor. CMMB focuses on the European-based tradition of chamber music composed over the past four centuries and its contemporary international expressions. CMMB preserves the tradition of live classical chamber music performance and creatively explores the evolution of this art form by offering new music as well as the beloved classics.
Catalyst Quartet, 2022
Walking an Artistic Line ‘Between Worlds’
2023-’24 season inspired by the merging of music and art
Each season brings a new opportunity to enrich the cultural life of the community, but our 57th year could long be remembered as the most evocative.
Our 2023-’24 season begins in October as we explore the unique relationship between music and art. While the two artforms appeal to different senses, they share connections, complement each other and create a meaningful, reflective and emotional experience.
Our inspiration for this celebratory study comes from Carmel artist Monica Johnson and her original piece aptly titled “Between Worlds.” The abstract work uses acrylic, oil pastel and collage on canvas, and evokes feelings of constantly moving between worlds in our daily lives.
“Our movement between worlds is not always a straight line and there are curves and unexpected turns,” Johnson said of the dynamic painting that is swirled with blues and whites. “Flow with it and find your own path.”
Our team found Johnson’s contemporary style and immersive approach to painting of particular interest.
Born in Monterey, Johnson is deeply inspired by nature, witnessing the balance and harmony created through its various cycles and seasons.
“I am constantly inquiring within myself and allowing my senses to be open and receptive to the world around me,” she said.
Johnson begins all her paintings by journaling, writing out quotes or key words on the canvas or wood panel as a way to set an intention for the artwork. Marks are made from objects she’s found in the forest and the beach; from leaves and bark, to feathers and bottle caps. “Every painting goes through its own cycles and I strive to create balance and harmony in each piece,” she said.
Richly textured and layered, the viewer is invited to search below the surface. Just as in life we look within, “below their surface,” for our own truth.
Johnson’s artwork “Between Worlds” will be integral to the 2023-’24 season program, one that begins on Oct. 14 with The Telegraph String Quartet, which will perform works by G.L. Frank, F. Mendelssohn, G. Bacewicz, and A. Dvořák.
Join us for our unique and exciting ’23-24 Season to explore the worlds of extraordinary music and art at Carmel’s renowned Sunset Center.
artistic highlights and history
In it's earliest iteration, Chamber Music Monterey Bay (CMMB) was part of an early Carmel music organization, founded in 1927. Its founders, Hazel Watrous and Dene Denny, were two pioneers of early California history who brought music performances to the Monterey Bay Peninsula in the mid-1920s, often featuring new works by local composers. In 1966, a new organization, which would eventually be called Chamber Music Monterey Bay, was formed to focus on small ensemble chamber music concerts (trios, quartets, etc.). Today, in addition to ongoing outreach and education activities throughout the community, CMMB is active in presenting - and often commissioning - new works by young composers which reflect the world in which we now live.
Here are some of our artistic highlights:
Chamber Music Monterey Bay was one of only twenty presenting organizations nationwide to participate in the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award (KLRITA), 2002-2012. The biennial KLRITA was the first piano trio award in the world of classical music and was created to encourage and enhance the careers of accomplished and extraordinarily promising young piano trios (piano-violin-cello). The four KLRITA winners appeared on our series to huge critical acclaim.
INSCAPE at Carmel Middle School, 2019
Chamber Music Monterey Bay achieved a major artistic milestone by commissioning a chamber work for the first time. Credo, a string quartet written by internationally-acclaimed composer Kevin Puts and performed by the Miró Quartet, had its World Premiere in Carmel in October 2007. The work was later recorded (2009) and is being performed around the world, a new favorite among the world’s most renowned presenters.
We launched our first multi-event residency program with the nationally-acclaimed Cypress String Quartet. As a result, more than tripled its annual number of outreach activities in local schools, with the artists working closely with area teachers to augment their music curricula. This program continues today as CMMB’s “Visiting Artist Outreach” Program, through which our visiting ensembles visit K-12 classrooms in Monterey County and provide interactive music activities. In addition, as time allows, our ensembles make occasional visits to Senior Residences for people who cannot attend live performances in Carmel.
Chamber Music Monterey Bay presented “Te Amo Argentina” – a program of vibrant works, by Argentine composers, accented by Tango dance and photographic images of the diverse Argentine landscape – a pulsating and inspiring homage to classic Argentina. Featuring music from the Latin Grammy Award-winning album “Antonio Lysy at the Broad – Music from Argentina”, this was a hugely exciting event; our audience even joined the dancers following the performance for some unscheduled tango lessons!
We presented “Portals”, a multi-media exploration of longing and connection in the digital age conceived by virtuoso violinist Tim Fain, producer & creative director. Co-producer and film direction by Kate Hackett, choreography and dance films directed by Benjamin Millepied, text by Leonard Cohen, and lighting and production design by Roderick Murray.
The program included music by: Philip Glass, Kevin Puts, Aaron Jay Kernis, William Bolcom, Nico Muhly, and Lev Zhurbin.
Our most recent artistic achievement, the four-part Arc of Life commissioning project, features the work of four acclaimed American composers: Kevin Puts, Chris Theofanidis, George Tsontakis, and Joan Tower. World Premières of each of the four commissioned works were the highlight of four consecutive Chamber Music Monterey Bay concert seasons – featuring the Daedalus String Quartet, Trio Solisti with clarinetist Jon Manasse, the St. Lawrence String Quartet with soprano Jessica Rivera, and the Miró String Quartet.
In our 2015-2016 season, the Jasper String Quartet performed a new work by Aaron Jay Kernis – co-commissioned by Chamber Music Monterey Bay in consortium with Caramoor, Carnegie Hall, Classic Chamber Concerts (Naples, Florida), Chamber Music Northwest, and Wigmore Hall.
We plan to continue commissioning new works in partnership with presenter consortia, thus carrying out our Mission to present music composed over the past four centuries and its contemporary international expressions – exploring creatively chamber music’s on-going evolution.
In 2018, Living Frescoes will return to Sunset Center. Commissioned as part of the Arc of Life project, this work by Kevin Puts features the imagery of Bill Viola and will be performed by Music from Copland House in November. The season will finish with the return of well-loved musicians, The Montrose Trio (featuring musicians from the now disbanded Tokyo String Quartet) in April.
our board and staff
Board of Directors
Janet Brennan – President
Beth Garnett - Vice President
Anne Fitzpatrick - Treasurer
Peter Williams – Secretary
Amy Anderson – Artistic Chair
Jon Showe - Past President
Holly Byers Ochoa
Elizabeth Brooks - Operations Manager
Arturo Rios - Administrative Coordinator
CMMB Performance Enhancing Dog
Lily the Poodle - Head of Love and Licks
CMMB Board and Staff, 2023