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About CCMS

The Charleston Chamber Music Society was founded in 1942 by pianist/conductor John Hiersoux. Until 1948 our concerts were performed by leading local musicians, ranging from soloists, trios, and quartets to chamber orchestras. The Paganini Quartet was the first outside group engaged, after which international ensembles were interspersed with local artists. Since 1956 all CCMS performers have been drawn from the roster of leading national and international chamber music artists.

The mission of the Charleston Chamber Music Society is to enable the people of this community to enjoy some of the world’s finest chamber music ensembles in a series of concerts every year.

The string quartet is often considered the backbone of chamber music. Over the years the Charleston Chamber Music Society has presented concerts by some of the finest string quartets in the world, from the Cleveland and Daedalus Quartets to the groundbreaking Kronos. As the parameters of chamber music have expanded, so has our programming. A stunning, varied array of ensembles and performers fill our chamber. ‘Music from China’ gives way to the sonorous sounds of the Boston Brass and Pipe Organ. Robert Gruca and Paul Galbraith have elevated guitar playing to new heights in our hall. The heavenly harmonies of the Anonymous 4 are followed by the recorder pyrotechnics of Red Priest, the rock stars of Baroque from Great Britain (they wear leather).

The Charleston Chamber Music Society connects our community to a world of extraordinary music, talent and performance. All in a comfortable, intimate setting.

About Chamber Music

Some form of ‘Chamber music’ has been around since the Middle Ages, but it wasn’t until Franz Joseph Haydn invented the string quartet at the end of the 18th century that chamber music became a specific genre. As the name implies, it’s to be played in a chamber – the original chambers being in palaces. As the aristocracy declined chamber music continued to blossom, being played in an ever-increasing variety of venues and with much more variety in instrumentation (including flutes and tubas) and style (from classical to avant garde). Chamber music remains an intimate musical form involving a small number of performers. It is ‘music among friends’. Today you can find chamber music performances in concert halls, churches, living rooms and even in subway stations or your corner bar. Although chamber music is an 18th century construct, it is now very much a 21st century musical form.