Friends of Chamber Music
Our musicians. Your classroom.
Each year, Friends of Chamber Music sponsors school assembly performances by professional chamber music ensembles. These concerts combine age-appropriate music theory with accessible classical music. Groups such as The Playground, the Ivy String Ensemble, Ivalas Quartet, and Altius Quartet have performed, offering the first live classical music experience for some students. In any given year, Friends of Chamber Music’s educational outreach program reaches more than 3,500 students.
We are able to offer up to two 45-minute assembly performances (back-to-back) for Denver Public Schools, free of charge, thanks to support from the SCFD and Bowen Family Performing Arts Fund. All programs feature fun and interactive classical music programs. For a description of the ensembles and programs available, see below. A list of repertoire for each is available upon request.
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With members are from both the black and Latinx communities, the Ivalas Quartet was formed with the intent to play a part in bringing greater visibility to musicians of color. They love to bring the amazing world of classical students to student audiences. Programs include instrument demonstrations and excerpts from various classical works, including String Quartet No. 1 by George Walker, the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Click here for a video excerpt of the Ivalas Quartet performing Piazzolla’s Four for Tango.
The Altius Quartet presents a unique and engaging program to give students a fun context to learn about chamber music. During the program, the students will be introduced to many styles of music including Classical, Ragtime, 20th century, and even pop music. By the end of the program, students will have a better understanding of chamber music and the versatility of the string quartet.
Program is designed for audiences 3rd grade and older (minimum of 125 students/performance). A microphone and projection screen is required. Click here for a video excerpt of the Altius Quartet performing an arrangement of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
Ivy Street Ensemble
With its program, Can You Hear the Difference?, the Ivy Street Ensemble (violin, viola, and flute) presents a classical music program with music from many periods and styles. The ensemble showcases the different sounds of string instruments and several flutes. Ivy Street reinforces basic science as they demonstrate the correlation between the size of the instrument and the sound of the instrument. They also highlight the idea of theme and variation (useful in teaching writing) with words, music, and audience participation. Program is designed for all elementary school audiences (minimum of 125 per performance). Click here to hear a performance excerpt from the Ivy Street Ensemble.
The Bartels Brass is a dynamic ensemble of orchestral brass players (2 trumpets, trombone, french horn, tuba) all currently performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Delivering an unmatched caliber of brass playing, these musicians have extensive performing and teaching experience. The Bartels Brass offers students a detailed educational program featuring individual instrument demonstrations mixed with lively brass music from a wide variety of periods and styles.
The Playground’s performances help inspire students to create music. In addition to winds and string instruments, their instrumentation includes percussion, piano, and voice.
Soundpainting: Designed for elementary school audiences, students create music in a spontaneous and improvisatory way using this unique hand gesture language. Playground musicians teach students hand gestures and then make music together. By the end of the session, students will be performing, composing, conducting, and laughing! This system works regardless of training, skill level or genre preference and meets Colorado State Standards for composition, performance, and improvisation.
Got questions? we have answers!
How long does each performance last?
How many students can attend one performance?
Up to 300, depending on the size of your performance space
Do your in-school concerts support Colorado Academic Standards in Music?
Yes, various ensembles focus on different standards. Please see ensemble descriptions above.
Can I request a particular instrument(s), style/period of music or specific musical works?
Yes, please make this request when calling to schedule your performance.
What kind of audience etiquette will my students be expected to follow?
We ask that students treat the musicians with respect. However, the nature of a musical performance is to inspire and “move” the audience, so swaying along, toe tapping and clapping to the beat might all be appropriate behavior for various musical works.
Do you have any bilingual musicians?
Yes, bilingual presentations are offered by the Ivalas Quartet. If you would like a bilingual presentation, please make this request when you book your performance.
What is the best way to prepare my students prior to the concert?
Friends of Chamber Music has prepared a study guide with a variety of pre- and post-concert activities. Once a program is scheduled in your school, a guide will be mailed.
How does my school receive consideration to receive a free performance or residency?
Please complete our online form and a representative from FCM will contact you with more details.
Are these performances only for music students?
No, they are designed to provide engaging musical experiences for all students.