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World class classical at only $10 a pop?

“Buffalo’s Best Bargain” (with the other “3 Bees” - Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, too!)

On Monday night, as previewed herethe youthful Dover String Quartet presented an all-Beethoven concert at UB’s Slee Hall, and the ensemble playing, the smoothness of sound, the energy and musicianship had me wondering “how long before we can hear them again in Buffalo?” How about next December? We found that out Tuesday night when the long-established Buffalo Chamber Music Society (BCMS) in residence at Kleinhans Music Hall revealed plans for their 94th season (2017-2018).

Starting next October, there will be eight (8) evenings of string trios, piano trios (my favorite!), and string quartets performed by seven different established groups plus three (3) FREE “gift to the community” concerts by rising stars on Sunday afternoons. (including the Zorá Quartet shown in lead image)

Do the math. With a season subscription price of $110 (before July 1, 2017) if you just went to the eight evening concerts, that would be only $13.75 per ticket. Add in the three free Sunday afternoon recitals and it works out to eleven events at only $10.00 each. Ten bucks? In NYC you’d regularly pay $60 or more per ticket for the exact same concert, by the exact same groups, often played the night before or the night after they are in Buffalo.

Ten bucks? In NYC you’d regularly pay $60 or more per ticket for the exact same concert, by the exact same groups, often played the night before or the night after they are in Buffalo.

Throughout the year, the BCMS maintains a content-rich website regarding each concert, and right now you can lock in your ticket(s) for next season at

So, after a stellar concert at UB on Monday, the following night, on Tuesday, at the final concert of the current BCMS season, the overflow audience was thrilled with players associated with the “Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center” whose long-time director, David Shifrin, played his clarinet(s) in a variety of musical forms along with six younger (30-something) players who had gotten their start with the “CMS Two” program initiated years ago by Mr. Shifrin. At 67, he can still wail on that licorice stick, never more apparent than when playing a work by Bela Bartók commissioned by legendary “King of Swing” Benny Goodman. The first half of the concert also included a stunning performance of the bitter-sweet elegiac Piano Trio No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich. And the evening concluded on a serene high with one of Mozart’s most sublime works (and with Mozart that’s saying something), the Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet.

So what’s up for next season? In October we’ll get the long-standing Takács String Quartet (and also the Zorá String Quartet in a “gift” concert). November brings something different, the Díaz string trio (only one violin as opposed to the two in a string quartet), and, as mentioned, the Dover Quartet returns to Buffalo, in December, with music by Tchaikovsky, Bartók, and living composer Richard Danielpour.

Starting in the new year, 2018, the young Calidore String Quartet (in residence with Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program) arrives in January, and in February we’ll hear two youthful concerts: from Britain the Doric String Quartet and the young French pianist Rémi Geniet at the second “gift” concert. March also has a “gift” concert with Xavier Foley, double bass, along with the two back-to-back events, a collaboration with the UB Department of Music, featuring the Gryphon (piano) Trio.

The Gryphon Trio, which was called down last minute from Toronto to Buffalo a few seasons ago to fill in wowed everyone. Those “back to back” events will be two concerts, on Tuesday March 13, 2018 at Kleinhans and Wednesday, March 14 at Slee Hall on the UB campus. Each night will have a different “sandwich” (piano trios by Beethoven with a Shostakovich filling).

And the season ends with yet another youthful group, the Danish String Quartet. Again, it’s a bargain, and you can lock in your ticket(s) before July 1 at

Full disclosure: The author is employed by the BCMS to conduct the Tuesday night “Pre-concert chats with the artists” which take place on the stage of the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall 45 minutes prior to concerts.

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For 20 years, as program host on Classical 94.5 WNED and continuing on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists as he asks them to explain, in layman's terms, "what's the big picture here?"

As mentioned recently in Buffalo Spree magazine, Peter's "Buffalo Rising reviews are the no-holds barred 'everyman's' take." And, on “Theater Talk” (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM and Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED) his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?"

A member of Buffalo's Artie Awards Committee, Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

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