Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

  • Arts & Culture
  • 1973

Featuring cellist Pablo Casals as honorary president, the inaugural Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival launched in 1973, with 14 artists performing a handful of Sunday concerts. Today, its six-week season in July and August brings thousands of people to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to partake of more than 80 musical events staged in auditoriums around the city. Since 1980 the festival has also commissioned more than 50 works from contemporary composers, adding significantly to the modern chamber-music repertoire. And the festival supports a strong year-round music-education series for K–8 school children in the Santa Fe area.

Americans all across the country who’ve never had a chance to attend the festival have also been soothed and aroused by music from Santa Fe. Since 1981, hundreds of festival performances have been broadcast nationally by the WFMT radio network. From its inception, the festival has relied heavily on hundreds of private donors. In a typical recent year, ticket sales brought in $538,000, while voluntary contributions totaled $1,150,000.