What is Chamber Music?
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments to perform to an audience that can fit into an intimate space. Originally, the music was performed in a palace chamber for kings and queens. Later, in the 19th century, chamber music acted as a radio or TV; it was a gathering place for families to hear music from other places.
Today, chamber music is performed very similarly in terms of the size of the venue and is presented to everyone. Typically, a chamber orchestra is composed of 40 or fewer musicians, (but you can expect to see between 2 and 6 musicians at a Portland Chamber Music concert). Because of the limited number of instruments, each instrument plays an equally important role. Chamber music differs from a symphony because it is performed by only one player per part.
Because of its intimate nature, chamber music has been described as “the music of friends.” For more than 200 years, chamber music was played primarily by
amateur musicians in their homes, and even today, when most chamber music performance has migrated from the home to the concert hall, there are still many musicians, amateur and professional, who continue to play chamber music for their own pleasure.
Click here to hear a few recordings of the Portland Chamber Music to get a feel for what chamber music sounds like.