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Classical 101

Columbus Favorites on Chamber Music Columbus Season

color photo of Calidore String Quartet
publicity photo
The award-winning Calidore String Quartet performs Feb. 29, 2020 on the Chamber Music Columbus series

You could travel the world and spend thousands of dollars and lots of time in airport lobbies to hear the world’s top chamber ensembles perform. Or you could stay right here in Columbus and go to the concerts on the Chamber Music Columbus series.

In its 72nd season, Chamber Music Columbus brings world-class chamber music ensembles to Columbus six times each year. This season features a mix of seasoned ensembles and new groups to watch, of performers with Columbus ties and those making their first appearances in the Cap City, of every instrument under the sun and a world-renowned soprano to boot.

color photo of cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han and violinist Philip Setzer
Credit / chambermusiccolumbus.org
Cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han and violinist Philip Setzer

The season kicks off Oct. 19 with a performance by the trio of violinist Philip Setzer, cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han. The artistic directors of both New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the California-based Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival, Finckel and Han are frequent Chamber Music Columbus performers and are making a return appearance with Setzer to play trios by Rachmaninoff and Mendelssohn, and also Dvorak’s beloved “Dumky” trio.

The Calidore String Quartet is becoming a Columbus favorite almost as quickly as the group is racking up international accolades. You might recall the quartet’s fiery performances as Quartet-in-Residence of last summer’s VIVO Music Festival – like this performance with violist John Stulz of a movement from Mozart’s Viola Quintet on VIVO’s wildly popular Beer & Beethoven event:

The Calidore’s first violinist, Jeffrey Myers, is a graduate of Upper Arlington High School and performs quartets by Prokofiev, Viktor Ullmann and Korngold with his group in Columbus on Feb. 29.

color photo of Anna Polonsky and Anthony McGill
Credit / chambermusiccolumbus.org
Pianist Anna Polonsky and clarinetist Antony McGill

Another Columbus-raised musician, pianist Anna Polonky, returns to Columbus March 28 for a duo recital with Anthony McGill, the world-renowned principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.

The daughter of noted piano pedagogue Nina Polonsky and Leonid Polonsky, associate concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Anna Polonsky has garnered international attention for what has been called “the tremendous beauty” and the “dazzling virtuosity” of her playing.

I had a chance to speak with McGill recently about the release of his recording Winged Creatures and Other Works for Flute, Clarinet & Orchestra, on which he performed with his brother Demarre McGill, principal flutist of the Seattle Symphony. Listen to what Anthony McGill had to say about growing up with a musical sibling and how playing with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra helped him become a world-class orchestral musician:

An Interview with NY Philharmonic Clarinetist Anthony McGill

McGill and Polonky will play Lutosławski’s energetic Dance Preludes, and works by Bernstein, Copland, Philippe Gaubert and Carlos Guastavino.

The Paris-based Modigliani Quartet has been hailed as “one of today’s best quartets in the world,” and on Nov. 16 the group pays a visit to Columbus in a program featuring quartets by Stravinsky, Haydn and Tchaikovsky.


On Jan. 25, 2020, the American Brass Quintet makes a stop in TBDBITL town. This award-winning brass ensemble celebrates its 60th anniversary season in 2020 as one of the world’s foremost brass ensembles.

color head shot of Dawn Upshaw
Credit Brooke Irish / colbertartists.com
Acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw performs with the Brentano String Quartet April 18, 2020 on Chamber Music Columbus' series.

Chamber Music Columbus’ 2019-20 season wraps up with a return performance of the Brentano String Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw. The Brentano turned heads in the chamber music world when, less than a year after its formation, the group won both the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the coveted Naumburg Chamber Music Award.

The Brentano String Quartet will bring to Columbus quartets by Ravel and Shostakovich, and will join Upshaw to perform Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 2 and Respighi’s glowing Il tramonto.

So pack your bags and gallivant around the world, or just head down to the Southern Theatre to hear chamber music truly at its finest.

Information about concert times and tickets at Chamber Music Columbus’ website.

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.