Moonlighting by Candlelight
Twenty Years of Chamber Music at Second Presbyterian
Ivan Stefanović, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director, Chamber Music by Candlelight
Many of you know that most BSO musicians, in addition to teaching at various fine institutions in and around Baltimore, also play in a number of concert series and ensembles. One such series is Chamber Music by Candlelight, which features exclusively BSO members, regular substitutes, as well as a few guest musicians. Here is an insider’s look at how a season of this series gets created. Chamber music is often cited as a favorite outlet for musicians. In a beautiful way, it combines our love of collective music making with an opportunity to show our musical individuality, an opportunity which is stronger than the one offered to us in a symphonic setting. One often doesn’t realize that playing in an orchestra is really playing chamber music on a larger scale. Therefore, playing in these smaller ensembles lets us get to know each other as individuals, both personally and musically, at a level which will then allow us to make the minute and numerous adjustments required for the high level of music making present at the BSO. In this way chamber music simply makes us much better symphonic musicians. In addition, the repertoire is as vast as it is beautiful and varied, and audiences are presented with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the wonders of live music making. They can observe every gesture, body movement and facial expression that are used to create a moving and entertaining performance.
Chamber Music by Candlelight (CMC) is a branch of Community Concerts at Second (CCS), a series of concerts that takes place in the visually and acoustically beautiful Second Presbyterian Church, just north of the Johns Hopkins’ Homewoood Campus. It was started over twenty years ago, when the church’s then-organist and music director, Margaret Budd, wisely and generously suggested to BSO violinist Ellen Pendleton Troyer that BSO members might like to have a place to play chamber music in town. BSO violist and fellow Co-Founder Peter Minkler and I started the wheels moving soon thereafter, and the series quickly established itself as a premier chamber music venue in the Baltimore and Washington region, lauded for the high quality of playing and diverse programming. Clarinetist Eddie Palanker took over for Peter after a while, and since his retirement I have been joined by BSO flutist Marcia Kämper in my duties as Co-Artistic Director of the series.