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.

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

Michael Schulte Artistic Director

On Sunday, October 6th, 2pm at the AGH we begin with our annual Special Feature production by 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 Ethan Lacey. The troop will perform 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? It’s 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 award). Our party gets even more boisterous with my wife Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s famous “The Hockey Sweater” in an arrangement commissioned for these forces. The piece 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 fiftieth anniversary of their first visit to the series. The Washington Post referred to this quartet as a “gold plated label” of the chamber music world. As this season marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, 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 desert island piece for a professor of mine.

Beethoven: String Quartet Opus 18, #1
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 its many complete quartet cycle performances and recordings. For the Beethoven year, they will play his exalted Op.130 with the Grand Fugue for us.  This original final movement, later published separately as Op.133, was thought too shocking to publish with the quartet.

Shostakovich: String Quartet No.1
Ligeti 1
Beethoven:   Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, with the Grand Fuge, Op. 133


On March 8th, 2pm at the AGH, we’ll hear a fan favorite of ours, The New Orford String Quartet, which plays to a big and enthusiastic audience when they visit us. The CBC concert recording of the Op.88 Brahms quintet I joined them for can be heard on the CMH website. This time we will take on the soaring second string quintet by Brahms.


Beethoven Op.59, No.3
Brahms String Quintet, Op.111



Classics from the African American, Latin American, French/Louisiana, Old Time, Great American Songbook and American composition school; Quartet movements and short signature pieces by MacDowell, Dvořák, Ives, Antheil, Copland, Elmer Bernstein, John Adams, Joplin through Ellington, Gershwin, Leroy Anderson, Cole Porter, Henry Mancini, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein.

On June 23, 2pm at the AGH, we do our annual production, the Special Feature. This time, with fine violinist Patrick Goodwin — past Concertmaster with the Cape Town Philharmonic of South Africa, Caitlin Boyle — violist of the Banff International Competition winning and ten year touring Cecilia String Quartet, Cameron Crozman — Revelation Artist of 2019/2020, “Canada’s next cello star” –CBC/Radio Canada, and myself, CMH Artistic Director, on violin. The theme is one I have wanted to undertake for a while: The American Sound. We will sample music from the different cultures that represent the American sound. We explore it from beginnings to the particular sophistication of the Great American Songbook in wonderful pieces and arrangements for string quartet.

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.