The mission of the South Beach Chamber Ensemble is to promote and perform chamber music in all its diverse forms, from its origins in the distant past, to the varied cultural creations being produced today, bringing together performers, composers and audiences to experience the beauty and intimacy of the human spirit. We envision a world where music inspires and energizes all people, creating peace, harmony, joy and unprecedented satisfaction in being alive.
The South Beach Chamber Ensemble started in 1997 with a free concert of Haydn and Dvorak Piano Trios at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach. Since then we have played at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Coral Gables Museum, Barry University, Jewish Museum of Florida, Wolfsonian Museum, Miami Beach Community Church, and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. The ensemble is one of the only arts organizations in south Florida dedicated to offering affordable chamber music programs to new audiences while showcasing local musical talent.
The Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council has given us grants since 1999 for Music in Beautiful Spaces. In addition to our first-rate soloists we also encourage and collaborate with students and faculty from the New World School of the Arts, FIU, University of Miami, Barry University, and the New World Symphony. In the past seventeen years the ensemble has performed works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Golijov, Hummel, Dvorak, Schubert, Saint-Saens, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Onslow, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Couperin, Copland, Turina, Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos and Vaughan Williams.
In February 2004 we were delighted that Executive Artistic Director, Michael Andrews, was invited to Budapest, Hungary where he met the brilliant, young, blind pianist Tamas Erdi. We played the spectacular Schumann Piano Quintet in Eb major with Mr. Erdi in March 2004 in Miami Beach and Miami.
Music in Motion: Miami to Rio, August and September 2005, was a great success. Our performances of Villa-Lobos, Copland and Mendelssohn at the Villa-Lobos Museum, Rio de Janeiro and Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, were well received in both countries. Music in Motion: Miami-Argentina-Brazil, September 2007, included concerts and student programs in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Buenos Aires, Miami Beach and Miami Shores. Audience and student attendance increased by 63% and 300% respectively. We performed a worldwide radio broadcast of Music in Motion on Arts Beat with Ed Bell, WLRN.
In June 2006 the inaugural South Beach Up North (SBUN), a summer chamber music festival in Wausau, Wisconsin, Mr. Andrews’ hometown, was a great accomplishment. Over two hundred people attended the free outdoor concert on the Square to listen to string quartets by Haydn, Barber and Dvorak. Following SBUN, Thomas Moore and Michael Andrews helped inaugurate the Wausau Conservatory of Music’s String Camp for students in the central Wisconsin area. SBUN on August 1-2, 2009 was a great success, with standing room only at the Woodson Art Museum concert with Miami poet Carlos Pintado and Boston composer Pamela Marshall.
We have appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Rt. 51 with Glen Moberg every year since SBUN started. The hour-long live broadcast gives the players a chance to perform for a much broader audience and chat informally about their life and music making. In December 2008 Mr. Moberg chose our June 2008 performance as one of the highlights of the year in central Wisconsin. In 2012 WPR hosted and recorded our piano chamber music concert for broadcast on WPR.
We were invited to perform the Miami premiere of Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasion segun San Marco in January 2007 at the Arsht Center. Others included in the performance were Venezuela’s world-renowned choir La Schola Cantorum, directed by Maria Guinard, a salsa and percussion band and Mr. Golijov himself.
We were excited to be named ensemble-in-residence at Barry University, Miami Shores in 2008. Our 2009 Sleepless Night collaboration in Miami Beach with Miami hip hop artist La Guardia, Nigerian dancer-drummer and Cuban poet was a huge success, with several thousand people attending what Miami New Times declared a “Best Bet.”
Our strategy to develop musically includes application for funding from the Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and other national organizations, foundations, corporations and individuals, giving us the opportunity to play more challenging and collaborative repertoire. We were a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Miami 2011 finalist for Mozart on the Move.
The world premiere of Mozart Meets Gaga took place on September 30, 2012 at the Miami Beach Senior High School Auditorium, with over 400 people attending. In collaboration with Jim Hammond, Puppet Designer & Managing Director/CEO of Puppet Network, we created a multi-dimensional musical-visual experience for modern families. Using our expertise from our breakthrough project Mozart on the Move, we developed an interactive experience about the mythical time when Mozart met Gaga. Using Hammond's modern interpretations of ancient European and Asian Shadow Puppetry, the walls around the Chamber Ensemble came alive to spark the audience’s imagination.
Over 700 people listened to our free Mozart on the Move program in April 2013 at the 1100 Block Outdoor Stage, Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Steve Gladstone, MiamiArtzine, gave our May 2012 concerts, Scandinavia Explored, a glowing review.
Fantasma debuted on Sunday, September 22, 2013, at the 1100 Block Outdoor Stage. Over 300 people attended this free dynamic performance art event filled with immense puppetry and spooky tunes. It was our second successful collaboration with Jim Hammond and Puppet Network. Gary Farmer, Miami Beach Cultural Affairs Program Manager deemed it a “rousing success.”