Christopher MillardJennifer MontoneKajsa William-OlssonLucy SheltonMark KosowerPaolo BordignonPaul GrovesRan DankShai WosnerSoovin Kim



The world of chamber music comes to sparkling life through the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s many enriching and engaging education and outreach programs for children and adults. Through these activities the Festival increases the community’s access to chamber music, provides children with a chance to hear and learn from live performances, and expands opportunities for talented young musicians. For more information, contact Deborah Ungar, Director of Education and Outreach.

Music in Our Schools

For countless children, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s Music in Our Schools program is their first exposure to live classical music. And for many this is life-changing. Throughout the year, the Festival provides Santa Fe and Pecos public school students as well as students at Santa Clara Pueblo Day School with live musical performances they would otherwise have limited or no opportunity to experience.

Music in Our Schools is a series of three fun and informative performances by a variety of chamber ensembles at selected Santa Fe, Pecos, and Santa Clara Pueblo elementary schools and pre-kindergarten programs. This program introduces young listeners to all the types of music that Festival ensembles perform, including traditional and contemporary chamber music, jazz, and world music. Music and classroom teachers attend workshops where they receive lesson plans and materials to prepare students before each of the concerts.

Ten Santa Fe public pre-kindergarten, elementary, and community schools, as well as Pecos Elementary and Santa Clara Pueblo Day schools, enjoy this Festival education program. In Santa Fe, participating schools include El Camino Real Academy, El Dorado and Nina Otero community schools, Nye Early Childhood Center, and E.J. Martinez, Kearney, Piñon, Ramirez-Thomas, Salazar, and Wood-Gormley elementary schools. During the 2015-16 school year, Music in Our Schools reached more than 4,000 students.

Now in its second year, the bilingual pre-kindergarten program has expanded from 150 students at two schools to 22 teachers and more than 400 students between the ages of three and five at El Camino Real Academy, Nina Otero Community School, Nye Early Childhood Center, Kearney, Pecos, and Piñon elementary schools. This popular program provides a unique opportunity for ongoing professional development for pre-kindergarten teachers as well as the resources to be able to provide high-quality music instruction. All students receive interactive lessons from their classroom teachers, meet with musicians in advance of each concert, and attend concerts three times each school year—bringing the music to life.

Strings in Our Schools

Through Strings in Our Schools, the Festival provides weekly violin lessons to 65 students who do not have these musical opportunities at their schools. Participating students at Pecos, Ramirez-Thomas, Tesuque, and Sweeney elementary schools are given the use of violins for the school year and enjoy the rewards and excitement of performing in one or more concerts annually. Provided at no cost, this program introduces students to hands-on music-making—an experience they might not otherwise have. Strings in Our Schools shares the joy of music, builds students’ confidence and self-esteem, gives them a sense of responsibility and self-discipline, and aids their overall academic achievement.

Youth Concerts

For kids and their families there’s nothing like hearing great live music! The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s interactive, fun Youth Concerts never fail to delight and inspire our youngest audiences, building their knowledge and curiosity about the world of music. This summer’s four concerts provide a variety of experiences, with Festival artists engaging children (and their accompanying adults!) through fascinating storytelling about music, musical instruments and styles, composers—even a bit of history—and, of course, performing repertoire drawn directly from the Festival’s regular programming. In 2015, in conjunction with Partners in Education, the Festival was able to provide buses for more than 1,000 students attending summer school at public schools and camps throughout the region to come to our Youth Concert. Click here for the current schedule.

Young Composers String Quartet Project

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s Young Composers String Quartet Project, a program that Artistic Director Marc Neikrug holds very near to his heart, is celebrating its fourth year in 2016.

Aspiring composers spend a week in Santa Fe with Marc Neikrug —a composer of five string quartets himself – serving as mentor and advisor and the FLUX Quartet being the “sounding board” providing feedback from the performers’ point of view and turning the notes on the manuscript paper into actual music. Another valuable aspect of the experience is the opportunity for the composers to meet with music publishers who share insights into how the music business works—from publishing to performances to recordings.

The culminating event of the week is the public performance of the brand-new string quartets by the FLUX Quartet at St. Francis Auditorium.

Though there are a few other programs for young composers around the country, the fundamental Santa Fe difference is that the project here is spearheaded by a composer. Performances of commissioned works and other new music by living composers are vital parts of the Festival’s repertoire. Participants from previous years have said that they loved being in a place that respected them as composers.

Offering a respite from the rigors of the project, Marc spends a relaxing day with the composers showing them the beauty and cultural amenities of Santa Fe. He says that “by end of their week, they feel as if they’ve had a fantastic experience. They have composed and heard their piece; they have recordings of it; they worked with great musicians; and they got paid! Now they can go back to the real-world challenge of being young composers; but over the course of their week with us they’ve at least had a glimpse of what the profession CAN be.”

The Young Composers String Quartet Project was one of the most artistically rewarding experiences of my life. The FLUX Quartet interpreted my music skillfully and sensitively and created a positive environment for exploration and constructive feedback. The Festival was extremely welcoming and supportive. This was an incredible opportunity to listen to and engage with chamber music performance at the highest level. Alongside its emphasis on the great repertoire of the Western canon, the Festival is extremely hospitable to contemporary music and young, new voices.
~ Katherine Balch, 2015 participant