Welcome to Chamber Music Hamilton

Experience fine music as you never heard it before — by the great players of the world and up close in the Art Gallery of Hamilton. All concerts at 2pm, generally on Sundays.

Abigail and I will host our annual fundraiser on Sunday, September 8th, starting at 1pm. Abigail will cook, Leslie Kinton and I will play Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert (Arpeggione sonata on piccolo cello). Please RSVP ~Michael


It's a pleasure to welcome you to another season of great music with players brought to Hamilton from around the world. It's also my tenth year curating the series and I've invited a few of my favorite quartets, and a chamber production of a Canadian classic by my composer wife Abigail.

Michael Schulte Artistic Director

On Sunday, October 6th, 2pm at the AGH we begin with our annual Special Feature production and a dozen CMH outrun performers — violinists Michael Schulte and Adam Despinic, violist Caitlin Boyle, cellist Orsi Lengyel, bassist Brian Baty, flutist Liesel Deppe, clarinetist Dominic Desautels, percussionist Rich Burrows, and pianists Shoshana Telner and Brett Kingsbury. With these players you can have the beloved Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns in its original orchestration for eleven instruments – ok, swapping out the glass harmonica. Who has one of those? Its use was a party trick in 1886. Our party trick for 2019 is mime artist Trevor Copp and narrator R.H.Thomson (Canadian actor with all imaginable decorations including the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Lifetime Achievement Award). Our party gets even more boisterous with  Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s famous “The Hockey Sweater” in an arrangement commissioned for these forces. The musical incarnation of the classic story was written in 2012 and has been a big hit and an annual staple among Canada’s major orchestras.

On Sunday, November 10th, 2pm at the AGH, we have the legendary Fine Arts Quartet on the 50th anniversary of their first visit to this series. The Washington Post referred to this quartet as a “gold plated label” of the chamber music world. As this season marks another anniversary, the 250th of Beethoven’s birth, we start the concert with the iconic composer’s remarkable first quartet. The abrupt, cataclysmic power in the second movement inspired much of Schubert’s great work. Then, with my help, the quartet performs Bruckner’s Romantic and unique F major quintet. It’s a surprising and effective work by the large scale symphonist. A professor of mine considered it a desert island piece.

L. v. Beethoven: String Quartet Opus 18, No.1
A. Bruckner: String Quintet in F major

On Sunday, February 9th, 2pm at the AGH, we’ll hear the Pacifica Quartet, another iconic American group with a storied history of world tours, decorations, commissions, projects, discography, and performances and recordings of numerous substantial quartet cycles. For the Beethoven year, they will play for us the mid period Op.74, when he could still hear, and then the exalted Op.130 with the Grand Fugue – no small offering.  This original final movement, later published separately as Op.133, didn’t end up published with the quartet as its statement was thought too intense.

L. v. Beethoven: String Quartet in E flat major, Op.74

L. v. Beethoven: String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, with the Grand Fuge finale (Op. 133)

On March 8th, 2pm at the AGH, we’ll hear a fan favorite of ours, The New Orford String Quartet, which is always received by a big and excited audience when they visit us. Somehow, they find time while leading orchestras as Concertmasters of the Toronto and Montreal Symphonies, Principal Cellist of the Montreal Symphony and Principal Violist of the Detroit Symphony. The CBC concert recording of the Op.88 Brahms quintet I played with them can be heard on the CMH website. This time we will take on the soaring second string quintet by Brahms.

L. v. Beethoven: String Quartet Op.59, No.3

J. Brahms: String Quintet, Op.111


On Sunday, April 12th at 2pm at the AGH, we feature the Ying Quartet, the long-time resident quartet at the great Eastman School of Music in Rochester. They are a standout in music education and philanthropy initiatives and have brought over 200 new pieces of music to the world, many by future leaders in American composition. They play from Carnegie Hall to The White House to juvenile prisons. For us they will play compositions from two musical giants most directly affected by Beethoven. The impossibly precoscious Felix Mendelssohn studied Beethoven’s quartets extensively, and within months of Beethoven’s final quartet, wrote his own first on this wisdom – the Op.13. Beethoven’s contemporary, Franz Schubert, paid generous musical tribute to Beethoven and broke very special new ground.

F. Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op.13

F. Schubert: String Quartet in G major, D.887


Chamber Music Hamilton

Hear a selection of the Chamber Music Hamilton Special Feature recorded in front of a live audience in February of 2017 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.