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Ellis Finger, director of cultural programs at Lafayette College, has been invited to become a member of the board of directors of Chamber Music America (CMA), joining a panel of nationally and internationally influential figures in the classical music world.

Among CMA’s directors are violincellist Yo-Yo Ma; composer and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; Linda Hoeschler, executive director of American Composers Forum; Marc J. Baylin, president of Baylin Artists Management; Ruth Felt, executive director of San Francisco Performances; and Michael Ross, executive director of Krannert Performing Arts Center at University of Illinois.

CMA is a national service organization that encompasses professional and amateur players, presenting organizations – including Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts — and chamber music educators. It awards nearly $1 million annually to chamber music organizations.

Dean K. Stein, CMA’s executive director, says, “I want to thank Ellis Finger for accepting the nominating committee’s invitation to join Chamber Music America’s board. We’re honored that he is interested and willing to help CMA with its work.” Finger’s three-year term begins in July 2000.

Finger says, “My appointment to the board really is a tribute, in national recognition, to the record of concert sponsorship that Lafayette has had with such groups as Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; American Brass Quintet; the Emerson, Orion, and Tokyo String Quartets; and various baroque and early music groups.

“Our work as a chamber music presenter and educator has benefited particularly from the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence program, which has brought to Lafayette such distinguished artists as violinist Diane Monroe and the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo, both of whom have been recipients of CMA commissioning grants,” he continues.

In addition to funding short-term residencies designed to help create new audiences for chamber music and foster the development of emerging ensembles, CMA grants support attendance at conferences, workshops, seminars, and training opportunities; hiring of consultants to address specific issues and challenges of ensembles; creation and performance of new music; and rural residencies in which ensembles learn repertoire and hone performance, teaching, management, and interpersonal skills.

Lafayette has received CMA grants supporting community residencies by the St. Lawrence String Quartet in 1994 and the New Century Saxophone Quartet in 1998. Last summer, through CMA, Finger attended the week-long Classical Connections seminar at the Aspen Music Festival as a Fellow of Performing Arts Presenters.

“This experience strengthened Lafayette’s position in developing new, younger audiences for chamber music through college-based educational and presenting programs,” Finger says. He has been invited to attend CMA’s next board meeting during the organization’s national conference January 14-16 in New York.

CMA was founded in 1978 response to a growing need for unification and institutional representation within the national music community. Its other services include technical assistance from program staff; professional development through conferences, workshops and a wide range of publications; advocacy on the national and local level; health and instrument insurance; and long-distance telephone service.

CMA has grown from 35 founding members to over 6,000 members. Its primary constituents are its 540 professional chamber ensemble members and 320 concert presenters, festivals, and training institutions. Membership also includes 330 allied business members and 4,713 individual members, including independent professional, student, and amateur musicians.

Categorized in: Academic News