In 1978, a group of ten musicians holding principal positions with such prestigious ensembles as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, New York City Ballet and Opera Orchestras, and New York’s Speculum Musicae joined artistic forces in northern New Hampshire to present four chamber music concerts over two summer weekends. Now in their 43rd season, the North Country Chamber Players, through their unwavering commitment to the area and, having successfully built an audience for classical music in northern New Hampshire, now present their ever-popular six-week-long White Mountains Music Festival and additional year-round chamber music concerts. During the past four decades, the Chamber Players have designed and presented concerts, multi-media presentations, lectures and seminars of the highest artistic and intellectual standards including collaborations with internationally renowned figures like jazz great Branford Marsalis, tango master Pablo Ziegler, conductor, author and educator, Leon Botstein, and architect and visionary Paolo Soleri. In addition, they have frequently partnered with regional artists, celebrities and organizations like Ballet New England, Ben & Jerry, the Starbird Puppet Theater, the Weathervane Theater, the Papermill Playhouse, Bread and Puppet Theater, the Frost Place, Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN), the Jefferson Chorus, the Summerfare Chorus and many others. As ambassadors for the arts, representing New Hampshire, the Chamber Players performed in a national tribute to the great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos at New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall, presented a nine-concert series, “An American Chamber Music Retrospective,” under the auspices of the MacDowell Colony’s Centennial Anniversary celebration, and have been the subject of feature articles in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and Ski Magazine.
Serving as a national model for resident ensembles, the Chamber Players have presented countless education and outreach programs in New Hampshire public and private schools (from a one-room schoolhouse in Stark to the campus’ of Dartmouth and Keene State Colleges), at town halls, meeting houses, opera houses, radio stations, movie theaters, libraries, factory floors, supermarkets, community centers, senior facilities, hospitals, rehab centers, churches, synagogues, ski lodges, grand resorts and summer camps, among others. In recognition of their groundbreaking Rural Arts Program, which, in partnership with the NH State Council on the Arts, provided interactive in-school programs for more than 80,000 New Hampshire students, the Chamber Players were invited by Carnegie Hall to participate in their Link-Up educational program in New York City. Their work with New Hampshire school children also led to an invitation to present a showcase performance about the Rural Arts Initiative on the floor of the New Hampshire State Legislature where they received a standing ovation from more than 300 state lawmakers who voted, the next day, to continue funding the program.