Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
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In 1973, Joseph E. Fischoff and fellow members of the South Bend Chamber Music Society sought an innovative way of encouraging young people to pursue chamber music study and performance. The idea of a competition arose, and that first year, six ensembles participated.
Today, still at home in South Bend, Indiana, USA, the Fischoff Competition is the largest chamber music competition in the nation and the world. Each year, an average of 125 ensembles, representing 22 nationalities, enter in either the wind or string categories. Fischoff is the only national chamber music competition with both senior divisions (ages 18–35) and a junior division (age 18 and younger). Since its founding, more than 6,600 musicians have participated, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education. The Fischoff attracts the finest and most talented young musicians from around the globe & winning a prize at the Fischoff is a coveted honor.
The 41st annual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition takes place May 9–11, 2014 at the University of Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. It is open to ensembles with 3-6 members. The senior division is separated into string and wind categories. The primary focus of the competition has always been education. In this way, it is quite different from most competitions. Written comments and personal critiques from jurors help young emerging chamber musicians better their interpretation and performance. Master classes are also offered to junior division (age 18 & younger) quarterfinalist ensembles. A total of $34,000 in prize money is awarded and the winners of the Senior Division Gold Medals also participate in the Double Gold Tour.
Beyond the Competition
Also committed to music education, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association uniquely partners with competition alumni to bring free, innovative music programs directly to children. Known as the Fischoff Arts-in-Education Residency, these programs have served more than 58,000 community children since 1995 and reach more than 6,000 underserved and at-risk young people every year. Fischoff’s educational programs enrich the musical and cultural life of the community through personal interaction with musicians of the highest caliber. Artists perform for and interact with children, creating an open educational environment for those who may have limited experience in classical music. The programs are taken directly to audiences in familiar environments – in schools, libraries and community centers. For many, the programs are their first exposure to a live performance of classical music by professional musicians. All of Fischoff’s educational programs are offered at no cost to participants. Additionally, Fischoff offers programs to support and encourage area high school-aged musicians.
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