To enrich the arts community of southern Washington County and its environs by presenting an imaginative mixture of traditional and new chamber music repertory, by mentoring younger musicians, and by deepening music lovers’ appreciation of music.
A dream called Music from Salem
In 1986, violist Lila Brown and violinist Judith Eissenberg had a dream. It was to create a magical haven where musicians could gather to live, learn, rehearse and perform great chamber music together. The dream would become reality called Music from Salem. Life for residents and visitors to rural Washington county New York would never be the same.
Now, in our third decade, Music from Salem continues to bring together world class musicians at the beautiful setting of the Brown Farm outside Salem, New York. Hugging the border with Vermont and some three hours north of New York City, the farm offers a beautiful setting and a stimulating environment. Here the artists spend days living together as they prepare each concert. Such an intense arrangement allows for constant discussion, experimentation and the chance to get to know each other as they prepare a concert. Many musicians eagerly return each year to participate in this enriching
Music from Salem explores, with equal intensity, the variety of musical expression in masterworks from the 18th and 19th century to pieces by seldom heard contemporary composers. This adventurous and diverse repertory imparts an energy, excitement and sense of exploration to every performance. It is firmly grounded in the genius of the past and open to exciting new forms of musical expression.
Concerts are usually given in historic Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York. Not only is the Hall a carefully restored Victorian architectural gem, it is intimate and acoustically superb. It is an ideal site, presenting chamber music as it was meant to be heard. After each performance, refreshments are offered and audiences are welcome to chat with the performers. Few chamber music venues offer such a casual but satisfying interaction between audience and artists.
Music from Salem is dedicated to supporting and mentoring a new generation of musicians. Each year gifted cello and viola students come to the Brown Farm to learn from the professionals of Music from Salem. Few master classes offer such a relaxed and compelling venue for learning new skills and exchanging ideas. Ongoing learning experience is also offered to the community through free open rehearsals at the farm, and free children’s workshops given by the musicians. A series of Listening Clubs throughout the year present lectures on music history and compositional forms and styles.
Even final performances are enlivened with verbal notes for the audience from the performers on what they are about to hear. Music from Salem is not about music in a museum. Chamber music here is alive and intensely exhilarating. Magnificent music, thrillingly performed by great musicians in a relaxed setting. This is Music from Salem. There is nothing quite like it.
The dream continues…!
Judith Gordon, Rhonda Rider
In addition to the concerts, during the summer season anyone may attend free open rehearsals at various area locations, where musicians work on the program for the weekend and then open the floor to questions concerning how chamber players signal through eye contact or how they resolve differences over tempi and dynamics. There are also free workshops for children at various area locations, enabling children to see and hear the instruments at close range and learn how music is composed and performed.