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10 Chamber Music Festivals Best in the World this Summer 2021

10 Chamber Music Festivals best in the World this summer 2021

A passionate group of music-loving travelers will soon be crisscrossing the globe attending their favorite summer chamber music festivals. Looking for where to hear chamber music this summer? Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the best summer chamber music festivals in the world for 2021.

What makes chamber music so special?

Are you a mélomane? Or perhaps you have one in your family?

We became of aware of this condition – a great love of music, especially chamber music – when one of our friends, a world-class musician who was in town to play with the New York Philharmonic, stopped by for a visit.

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He kindly explained that while some people love symphonic performances, for others, the effect is overwhelming – too loud, too impersonal, too distancing. For them, chamber music provides a more intimate engagement with the music.

That intrigued us, so we went digging to learn more. Here’s what we found: chamber music is composed for performance by a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit inside a palace chamber. There is only one performer per part and chamber compositions frequently resemble a conversation among the musicians.

summer chamber music festivals 2021

Where to hear chamber music this summer: Courtesy Photo.

As a result, playing chamber music requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from the skills required for playing solo or symphonic works. The concerts take place in small settings (an audience of 200 would be considered large for a chamber music performance). It is also common to find talented amateurs preforming at a chamber music concert, rather than solely professional musicians. It’s a more personal experience all around.

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Where are the best places to hear chamber music?

More than half of our favorite Chamber Festivals are planning to return this summer, so hopefully there is one that is accessible to you. Whether you end up going to Vail, Santa Fe, or Helsinki, we wish you a safe and wonderful summer.

1. Vail

The Bravo! Vail Music Festival Chamber Music Series: June 24 – August 4, 2021. Within the larger Bravo! Vail festival, the Chamber Series will have four performances this year, on June 29, July 13, July 20, and August 4. All performances begin at 7 pm. Though the chamber program has not yet been announced, Vail’s general lineup this year includes the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, so we’re certain it will be absolutely spectacular.

summer chamber music festivals 2021

The best summer chamber music festivals of 2021: Vail. Courtesy Photo.

2. Oregon Bach

The Oregon Bach Festival, June 25 – July 11, 2021, held in Eugene, is an annual celebration of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy, including compositions from Beethoven and Handel. And this year, rather than holding their concerts on the University of Oregon campus – they’re going virtual.  Headlined by Grammy Award-winner Emerson String Quartet, the virtual festival will also welcome virtuoso Matt Haimovitz, baroque ensemble Dunedin Consort, and vocalists Lawrence Brownlee and Tyler Duncan.  And if you’re wondering whether you should attend – all events will be free to the public. So no matter where you are in the world, you can enjoy some chamber music this summer.

summer chamber music festivals 2021

The best summer chamber music festivals of 2021: Oregon Beach. Courtesy Photo.

3. Helsinki

Helsinki Chamber Music Festival, July 1–4 2021 is typically held in the heart of the old city center, surrounding the Senate Square. The neighborhood’s architecturally unique Art Nouveau halls, atmospheric outdoor stages in courtyards, and beautiful churches provide a wonderful setting. More information on this year’s performances is coming soon.

summer chamber music festivals 2021

Where to hear chamber music this summer: Helsinki. Courtesy Photo.

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4. Aspen

The Aspen Music Festival will return in person, July 1 – August 22, 2021. This year’s artists and events will be announced in just a couple of days – on April 8th. Orchestral programs will commence on Fridays and Saturdays, with recitals on Tuesdays, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s, and conducting Academy Orchestra concerts on Monday’s. Attendees can also expect opera master classes, special events, free student recitals, lectures, and other events. Tickets go on sale on May 17th.

summer chamber music festivals 2021

The best summer chamber music festivals of 2021: Aspen. Courtesy Photo.

5. Santa Fe

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival will be held from July 18 – August 23, 2021. Founded in 1972, the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains makes this a particularly wonderful way to experience chamber music. All performances will be held in the St. Francis Auditorium, at the New Mexico Museum of Art.   Highlights of this year’s immense program include Takemitsu’s Rain’s Coming and Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oakstwo works for chamber orchestra, led by Alan Gilbert of the Hamburg NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. Performances of Mozart’s Horn Quintet and Schubert’s Octet from Berlin Philharmonic Principal Horn Stefan Dohr. Performances from violinist Paul Huang, pianist Kirill Gerstein and violinist Leila Josefowicz, and Mark Kosower, principal cello of the Cleveland orchestra. Plus the premiere of eight commissioned works, including string quartets by Augusta Read Thomas and Helen Grime. The full program is available online.

Where to hear chamber music this summer: Santa Fe. Courtesy Photo.

6. Minnesota

The Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona, takes place at various venues, including Winona State University, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Page Theatre at Saint Mary’s University, and the Winona Lake Park Bandshell. They’ve announced their hopes to return for summer 2021 – so we are hopeful that this year’s dates and program will be announced soon.

The best summer chamber music festivals of 2021: Minnesota. Courtesy Photo.

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7. Moab

Wrapping up the summer season is the Moab Music Festival in Utah, which will be held this year held from August 30 – September 16, 2021. The annual event kicks off at 7 am on August 30th, with a musical raft trip through Colorado River’s Ruby-Horsethief and Westwater Canyons. Attendees can also enjoy musical hikes, and performances in the impeccable acoustics of the red rock grotto. We can’t wait to see which artists will perform at this year’s festival.

Where to hear chamber music this summer: Moab. Courtesy Photo.

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

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