About Us

Our Mission

For more than seventy years we have continued to provide accessible and affordable chamber music programs of the highest caliber for the Hudson Valley community. We strive to promote and support our concert performers and to educate, entertain and expand our audiences.

Our History

In 1950, Helen Huntington Hull joined with her two Staatsburg friends, Mrs. Lydig Hoyt and Mrs. Jonas Borak, as well as Emil Hauser (original first violinist of the Budapest Quartet and member of the Bard College faculty) to bring the best classical musicians of the time to the Hudson Valley to play chamber music for a group of appreciative friends and neighbors. This was the inception of the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle (HVCMC).

In 1979, the Circle began its formal association with Bard College as an independent program affiliated with the Bard Center.  Since then, the audience has expanded to include music lovers from all over the Hudson Valley, as well as neighboring states.  In 2000, the distinguished musicians Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson became Artistic Directors for the Circle and have maintained the early reputation for showcasing the finest performances of works from a wide-ranging repertory. 

The June Concert Series

Our signature event is our June Concert Series — three early summer performances held on Saturday evenings in Bard’s lovely and acoustically exceptional Olin Hall with internationally acclaimed musicians. World-class ensembles have included the Emerson and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as the Daedalus, Tokyo and Miami String Quartets. More recent programs have featured ensembles such as the Calidore String Quartet, recipients of the inaugural, prestigious M-Prize for chamber music; Trio Con Brio of Copenhagen; Sō Percussion; and classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. You can purchase tickets to single events, buy a discounted subscription to all three, or buy “Donation Tickets” which include a $100 tax deductible contribution that allows HVCMC to continue bringing you exceptional musical events.

HVCMC Community Initiative

The year 2024 marks the inauguration of the HVCMC Community Initiative, which seeks to bring music, specifically chamber music, to expanded and underserved audiences.  Long-term goals include bringing live musical performances into Dutchess County schools; introducing highly motivated young musicians from local high schools and their teachers to our chamber music concerts each June; and making live chamber music more accessible to older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers in the local community.

Annual Events

HVCMC also holds two special events every year. We host an Annual Benefit featuring a reception, refreshments, and a short concert and, in conjunction with the Bard College Conservatory Preparatory Division, we present a free family concert on the Bard campus.  The music is performed by students ranging in age from seven to sixteen to an audience of young children and the young at heart.

The Margaret Creal Shafer Prize

In 1999 the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle established an annual prize of $1,000 for an outstanding music major at Bard College. In 2012 it was renamed the Margaret Creal Shafer Prize, in memory of her many years of devotion to the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle, the Bard College community, and the training and encouragement of young musicians. In 2010 for the first time, two prizes, each $1,000, were awarded to an instrumentalist and a composer, and these awards have continued to be made each year to outstanding conservatory students.

Commissioned Works

HVCMC is also proud to regularly commission works from contemporary composers. For example, HVCMC joined the Linton Chamber Music Series of Cincinnati, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund of the Kennedy Center, and the Summer Fest of La Jolla to co-commission Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Pas de Trois (2016), written for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.

Directors & Officers

Artistic Directors

Jaime Laredo
Sharon Robinson

Officers and Board of Directors

Christopher Scholz, President
Marianne Wurlitzer, Vice President
Leslie Gershon, Secretary
William “Chip” Holman, Treasurer

Vern Bergelin
Véronique Firkusny
Christopher Gibbs
Susan Hinkle Lindner
Robert Osborne
Zachary Snow

Advisory Director

Joan Tower


Advisory Board

Deborah Barrow
Terence “Boona” Boylan
Dennis Giauque
Alison Lankenau
Gary Lachmund
lliana van Meeteren
Tara Shafer
Janet Stetson