50 Years of Chamber Music Gala

October 8, 2021

October 8, 2021 7:00 PM


Town Hall

Event Type:

Special Event


Performance Details

The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation and The Town Hall Present
A Gala Concert (LIVE) Celebrating 50 Years of Chamber Music
Friday, October 8, 2021, at 7pm, in Town Hall

With performances by the American, Brentano, Emerson, Pacifica, and Telegraph String
Quartets; Eighth Blackbird; Soprano Dawn Upshaw; Clarinetist Charles Neidich; and Pianist Anton Nel – all Naumburg-winning artists

Introduction by Nicholas Mann and Remarks by John Corigliano

August 16, 2021 (New York, NY) – The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation and the Town Hall present a gala concert (LIVE) celebrating 50 years of chamber music on Friday, October 8, 2021, at 7pm, in Town Hall. The evening will offer performances by Naumburg-winning ensembles and artists including the American, Brentano, Emerson, Pacifica and Telegraph String Quartets; the Grammy-winning Chicago-based contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird; soprano Dawn Upshaw; clarinetist Charles Neidich and pianist Anton Nel. Nicholas Mann, Naumburg’s president will offer an introduction and John Corigliano, a member of Naumburg’s Board of Directors will offer comments.

The Town Hall and the Naumburg Foundation share a long-standing relationship going back to 1925 when the first Naumburg artists were presented in debut concerts held in Town Hall.  After retiring from banking in 1923, Walter Naumburg served on numerous NYC boards including as the Chairman of Town Hall's Music Committee.  Incorporated as a Foundation in 1926, Naumburg for the next four decades would present its winners in Town Hall debut concerts. From the 1920s until the arrival of Lincoln Center in the 1960s, the Town Hall had a reputation amongst performers and audiences as the best venue for a New York debut. Early winners who made Town Hall debuts as Naumburg artists included pianists William Kapell, Constance Keene and Jorge Bolet; violinists Robert Mann and Joseph Silverstein; vocalist Shirley Verrett; and cellists Daniel Saidenberg and Ronald Leonard.  

Naumburg’s first chamber music competition was for string quartets taking place in 1965 naming the Beaux Arts String Quartet – Charles Libove and Stephen Clapp, violins; John Graham, viola; and Bruce Rogers, cello – its winner. In 1971, a chamber music award was instituted expanding to all chamber ensembles. For the past 50 years many of America’s most esteemed chamber ensembles have been winners, including Speculum Musicae, DaCapo Chamber Players, the Empire Brass Quintet and the Aspen Wind Quintet, as well as the Cavani, New World, Lark and Biava string quartets, among others. The Naumburg Chamber Music Award includes a cash award, a New York debut concert and a commissioned work. A roster of impressive American composers, have written works for Naumburg artists, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning compositions. Naumburg commissioned composers include Leon Kirchner, Milton Babbitt, Ezra Laderman, Charles Wuorinen, Aaron Jay Kernis, Augusta Read Thomas, Richard Danielpour and Robert Sirota, to name a few.

Nicholas Mann, Naumburg’s president states, “It was a groundbreaking idea to promote chamber music in the United States in 1971, and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award quickly became the standard bearer of excellence in the chamber music world. We are extremely proud of our winners and the compositions we have commissioned for the groups. We are also extremely proud of our ties to Town Hall and proud to be presenting a Naumburg concert at Town Hall. We look forward to a joyous celebration of these 50 years on October 8th in Town Hall.

Larry Zucker, Town Hall’s Executive Director adds, “During our centennial year, it’s wonderful for us to welcome back one of the earliest presenters of classical concert in our hall’s history.”


Introduction, Nicholas Mann, President, Walter W. Naumburg Foundation
                 Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809):  String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5
                 Brentano Quartet (1995)
                 Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953):  String Quartet No, 2 in F Major, Op. 92 ll.  Allegro
                 Pacifica Quartet (1998)
                 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897):  Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
                 ll.  Scherzo:  Andante
                 IV.  Finale: Poco sostenuto – Allegro non troppo-Presto, non troppo
                 American String Quartet (1994)
                 Anton Nel, Pianist (1987)


Remarks, John Corigliano
                 Holly Harrison: Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup (2016)
                 Tom Albert (b. 1948): Thirteen Ways, VIII: Steady, Rhythmic (1997)
                 Gustav Santaolalla (b. 1951): Suéltate las Cintas (arr. Duvall, 2004)
                 Eighth Blackbird (2000)
                 Dawn Upshaw, Soprano (1985)
                 W.A. Mozart (1756-1791):  Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K.581
                 ll. Larghetto
                 IV.  Allegretto con variazioni
                 Telegraph Quartet (2016)
                 Charles Neidich, Clarinetist (1985)
                 Béla Bartók (1881-1945):  Quartet No. 3
                 Emerson String Quartet (1978)

The Town Hall, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, has played an integral part in the electrifying cultural fabric of New York City for one hundred years. Town Hall was built by the League for Political Education whose fight for the 19 th Amendment led them to build a meeting space to educate people on the important issues of the day. The Hall was designed by renowned architects McKim, Mead & White to reflect the democratic principles of the League. Box seats were eliminated and no seats had an obstructed view giving birth to the term, “Not a bad seat in the house.” In 1921, Richard Strauss gave a series of concerts that cemented the Halls reputation as an ideal space for musical performances. In the years that followed, artists from Rachmaninoff, Feodor Chaliapin, Marian Anderson, and the Kolisch Quartet to Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Charles Mingus, Billy Holiday and Whitney Houston have all graced the stage at the Town Hall.

Artist Bio

Media Archive

No items found.