History of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Hailed by the New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality”, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival has grown to become an established year-round presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its inception in 1979.

SamuelSandersThe late Samuel Sanders, well-known collaborative pianist, founded the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (formerly the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival) with the goal of establishing an ongoing festival of world-class quality chamber music on Cape Cod.

Now entering its 35th season, CCCMF presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in various Cape locations during July and August. Throughout the balance of the year, CCCMF presents an Autumn and Spring series, a community outreach program, and benefit concerts in New York, and on Cape Cod. Hoping to ignite the interest of a younger demographic, CCCMF welcomes all individuals 18 years or younger to attend any regular concert, free of charge.

Elaine Lipton is the Festival’s Executive Director. She brings a background in education and non-profit management as well as enthusiasm for chamber music and educational outreach to the Festival. Clarinetist Jon Manasse, and pianist Jon Nakamatsu are the current Artistic Directors. Jon and Jon succeeded Nicholas Kitchen, first violinist for the Borromeo String Quartet in this capacity. Founder Samuel Sanders served in this capacity for fourteen years, when he passed the baton to another great pianist, Brian Zeger, whose artistic vision shaped the Festival from 1993 to 2000.

The Festival’s Composer-in-Residence program, established in 1983, has featured such composers as John Corigliano, Earl Kim, Tison Street, William Bolcom, Bruce Adolphe, Ned Rorem, Steven Mackey, Osvaldo Golijov, Lowell Liebermann and others. The festival also features composers with Cape Cod connections, such as Amelia Rogers, Ezra Laderman, Ronald Perera, and Arthur Berger.

This summer, in celebration of the Festival’s 35th Anniversary Season we will present the WORLD PREMIERE of a new work for the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo: Four Views for Clarinet and Piano by the Grammy Award winning composer, Gordon Goodwin. And we are thrilled this summer to present the east coast première of the String Quartet No. 6 by Wellfleet’s own Elena Ruehr.

In addition to appearances by established artists, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival has made a special commitment to presenting young emerging artists early in their careers, including Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Dawn Upshaw, Peter Serkin, Paul Neubauer, and the Lark, Colorado, Borromeo, Parker and Jupiter Quartets, among others.

CCCMF is a private, non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors with financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations both local and nationwide.