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Unbeatable Music Education and Performances for Youth and Adults at Austin Chamber Music Center

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

The arts help students become more well-rounded individuals who tend to do better in school than those not engaged in arts-rich curricula. According to Peter Helf, Executive Director at the Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC), "Research shows that arts education, specifically chamber music, creates a different kind of reaction in the brain than typical academia."

That's where the Austin Chamber Music Center comes into play, inspiring youth and adults with knowledge, understanding and appreciation of this art form. Many professional musicians or music teachers have graduated from ACMC programs and are dispersed throughout the United States and beyond.

Founded in 1981, the Center's performance season lasts for five weekends from October through April with a free February tribute to African American chamber music composers and performers. Featured artists include local up-and-coming performers and touring stars.

"Artistic Director Michelle Schumann produces the season in a thematic way and gives live program notes to accompany each performance," says Helf. Schumann ensures ACMC presents a blend of traditional classical chamber music and more contemporary alt-classical styles for the best turnout. This mix is popular, as concerts can be sold out. ACMC also curates a chamber music festival in July that runs in conjunction with its music workshop. The festival is an Austin summer staple, with 2016 marking its 20th birthday.

Aside from ticketed performances, Austin Chamber Music Center artists do numerous annual outreach concerts at retirement homes, community centers, churches, and even schools, at no charge, allowing everyone to enjoy their music. Music instructional programs for youth and adults run all year. Helf tell us, "During the school year we offer a Saturday Academy and programs within Austin schools. We also produce over seventy concerts in schools annually."

Junior (ages 10-18) and collegiate (ages 19-26) performers compete for cash prizes in the national chamber music match known as the Coltman Competition- named after the ACMC's founder Felicity Coltman. Musicians are judged and expert commentary provided, along with a live broadcast. Further performance opportunities are also possible for winners.

Austin Chamber Music Center is on a mission to infuse Central Texas with chamber music, while students of various ages are taught to play its soothing sounds to a wide variety of audiences. Financial aid and merit-based scholarships are available to make each program inclusive of students from all walks of life.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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