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Chamber music festival won’t make you high strung

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Big news, music lovers! The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival opens May 2.

And already Lah dee dah and blah blah blah!

Before you put Your Examiner on hold, listen up.

GreaterJax™ makes the Top 20 again

Like the Concors d’Elegance, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival is a big damn deal.

Among the largest music festivals in the southeast, Amelia Island has been named a Top 20 event many times.

That’s right, music lovers from all over the country and the world come to Greater Jacksonville just for the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.

Get your feet wet for free

So what’s this got to do with me, GJE? I know less than nothing about chamber music.

Here’s the beautiful thing – you don’t have to.

The Chamber Music Festival offers several free, family-friendly concerts so that you can sample the wares for basically the price of has money to get to Amelia Island:

  • May 2 – 11:00 a.m.: McDuffie Center Showcase – Students and faculty
  • May 8 – 4:30 p.m.: Free Family Concert – Brooklyn Rider. Post concert repast, 6:00 Lulu’s at the Thompson House
  • May 10 – 2:00 p.m.: Free Concert in Amelia Park – Classic and folk
  • May 13 – 1:00 p.m.: Beth Newdome Fellowship Artists
  • May 17 – 1:00 p.m.: Beth Newdome Fellowship Artists

When you hear something you like, tickets for paid concerts are available on the festival’s website.

So what exactly is chamber music?

Simply put, chamber music is very polite conversation among instruments, usually very small ensembles (3-8 players) of woodwinds (flute, clarinet, etc.) and strings (violin, viola, cello).

Musical questions are asked and answered, jokes told, witty asides applauded, etc.

With the exception of certain “big” pieces like Hadyn’s ‘Surprise’ symphony (No. 94 in G), which is in itself a joke about art farts with short attention spans, chamber music isn’t meant to the center of attention.

Usually written to be an accompaniment to conversation over drinks and dinner or as ambience at fashionable parties, the really lovely thing about most chamber music is that it’s soft, lyrical and very relaxing to listen to.

In fact, you’ve already heard so much, that you know many pieces by heart.

Because chamber music works so well in the background, it’s used very often in movies and on television to illustrate scenes and plot points.

In fact, some of the most famous chamber music ever written, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (part of Lecter’s soundrtrack in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’) and Mozart’s ‘A Little Night Music’ have been used in soundtracks so often that you’ve whistled them without thinking about.

Don’t believe it?

Check out copies from your local library and give a listen. You’ll be amazed at how much chamber music you already know.

Enter the conversation

The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival works to promote public appreciation of and education about chamber music.

Festival organizers strive to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes – from traditional string quartets to larger chamber ensembles and even American folk music.

There are even special discounts on ticket packages:

  • 20% off on tickets for six or more concerts
  • 50% off tickets when you book an overnight stay on Amelia Island.

2014 Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

  • Fri., May 2-Sun., June 1
  • Admission: $25-$50 per paid concert. Check schedule.
  • Contact: Christopher Rex, General & Artistic Director
    Phone: 904-261-1779
  • Fax: 904-261-1995


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