Dear Friends of AFCM,

As a teenager, I started learning about classical music through recordings and
the radio. Much of it was enthralling, but aside from the irresistible Schubert
piano trios, somehow I just couldn’t develop much interest in chamber music
simply by listening to records. Only when I started attending student and
faculty recitals at the University of Arizona did I begin to understand why
anybody should care – and care deeply – about chamber music. And when I
began attending AFCM concerts, I became a true believer.

The music didn’t change; all along, I recognized that it was carefully
crafted work for small ensembles, written by expert composers who were
communicating at a more person-to-person level than in their large-scale
orchestral works. What changed was the effect of that music when heard and
seen live. The intimacy and intensity of only three or four committed
musicians sitting just a few feet away conveyed greater passion, humor, joy,
and ingenuity than any recording.

For 68 years, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music has brought the highest
level of small-ensemble music-making to Tucson, presenting the most
distinguished artists at the lowest possible admission price, so we can share
this music with anyone willing to arrive with open ears. We have entertained,
enlightened, and sometimes even provoked our audiences with old favorites
and brand-new commissions, expertly performed by musicians who make
chamber concerts not some arcane ritual but an essential, often thrilling part
of daily life.

As much as the musicians, you and I are a critical part of this chamber-music
life. Please join me in making it possible to share the music with each other
and with newcomers. Bring friends to concerts. Offer whatever financial
support you can, whether a modest donation or a full concert or commission
sponsorship. Most of all, keep your ears open. Your heart and mind will follow.



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AFCM Welcomes New President

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music is very pleased to announce that James Reel has been elected president of the AFCM Board of Directors.

james-reel-617x347James Reel is Arizona Public Media’s classical music director, and the weekday morning announcer for KUAT-FM, where he also blogs about the arts. He also serves as executive director of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. In print, he has been a contributing editor to Strings magazine, and appears in the online All Classical Guide, among other venues. He has also covered border issues for Salon.com, the National Catholic Reporter and Sojourners, and frequently gives pre-performance talks for various arts organizations.

For most of the first decade of this century, he was the Tucson Weekly’s arts editor and theater critic, before which he also served as the Weekly’s general editor. At the Arizona Daily Star, he was the arts and entertainment editor from 1995 to 1999; previously, he was that newspaper’s classical music critic. Before that, he toiled at KUAT radio from 1976 to 1988, ending up as music director. He is the author of the guidebook CitySmart: Tucson, blessedly out of print, and The Timid Soul’s Guide to Classical Music, which has recently been reissued as an e-book.

He currently serves on the board of the Tucson Desert Song Festival. During the past 15 years, he has also been a member of the boards of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music (vice-president), Winding Road Theater Ensemble (president) and Chamber Music Plus (president).

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Supper Club “Summer” Newsletter


The perfect evening! 

Wonderful Food – Great Companions – Superb Music

The Chamber Music Concerts are extraordinary.  AFCM wanted everything surrounding them to be memorable.  To that end, we inaugurated a wonderful new Chamber Music Supper Club last January.  The focus was to be on the members of the audience of our Wednesday Evening Concerts.  The format was simple.  Dinner together followed by the Concert.  We met with resounding success.

Pastiche” Restaurant is our Home.  It is an old favorite, has great food, a marvelous atmosphere and has been owned by Pat and Julie Connors for many years, themselves lovers of Chamber Music and supporters of AFCM.  It is like having dinner at the home of old friends.  We are seated together and the camaraderie between like-minded people flourishes.  Each person can select from the full, eclectic menu and Pastiche delivers speedy service and timely individual bills.  The Leo Rich Theater is a short drive from Pastiche.  We start at 5 PM and we are never late for the concert!

What makes this dinner special?  Nancy Monsman, Jay Rosenblatt and James Reel.  Nancy, musician and artist who writes the “Notes” for all the Concerts, Jay, our equally beloved musicologist and hero from the Humanities Seminars at the U of A and James, the popular announcer on KUAT-FM, the Executive Director of SASO and an AFCM Pre-Performance speaker. They have generously agreed to rotate and speak to us for about 10 minutes at each of our “Supper Club” gatherings. We now have a roster of the best prepared, knowledgeable and generous of Speakers in Tucson.  They will offer their comments and insights on the Evening’s Program and the excitement will rise as we happily anticipate the music that we are about to enjoy.  We are delightfully “primed” for the concert.

Please join us.  It will give all of us the opportunity to meet new friends and deepen the bonds of existing friendships.

It is so easy to assure yourself of a superb evening.  Simply call or email for information or a reservation.

Marianne Kaestle at 520-344-9023

Read the full newsletter here.

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Pepe Romero plays Boccherini’s Fandango

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music presents Pepe Romero playing Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D Major, Fandango, with Martin Beaver, violin, Sandy Yamamoto, violin, Paul Coletti, viola, Antonio Lysy, cello, and Carissa Romero, castanets.

Performed during the 21st Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, March 17, 2014 at the Leo Rich Theater, Tucson, Arizona.

And here again are his solo performances of Albeniz: “Leyenda” and Romero: “Fantasia”

Video and audio recording by Matthew Snyder.

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