The Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM) was founded in 1986 by a group of prominent musicians and chamber music devotees for the purpose of building an internationally-recognized Chicago institution devoted to the study and performance of chamber music. CCM reaches more than 500,000 people annually through its 75-plus performance season.
Based on the principles of the Marlboro Music Festival, the Artistic Development Program emphasizes weekly study and rehearsal, and is the cornerstone of the organization. The ensemble of 13 artists together with various internationally known guests explore selections from the entire chamber music literature, culminating in public performances.
CCM began as the resident ensemble of WFMT (Chicago’s fine arts station) in 1986. Along with these first public performances on WFMT, CCM inaugurated its year-round free First Monday Series presented each month at noon at The Chicago Cultural Center to help people better understand and experience music, and to provide free access to world-class music-making for a broad segment of society. Through its exposure on WFMT, CCM received repeated requests from listeners for a traditional concert series, resulting in the creation of an annual Subscription Series in 1988. This series grew from three concerts in one location to the current 12 concerts in two locations (Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston and Gottlieb Concert Hall in Chicago), and has been critically acclaimed for its artistic excellence, program diversity and distinguished guest artist roster.
Since 1987, CCM has gained national and international exposure through its touring program, with appearances at the Ravinia Festival and the Barns at Wolf Trap, on NPR, in live concerts on WFMT radio, and in performance and short-term residencies across the United States and in Tokyo, Salzburg, Berlin, and Giverny, France.
A national leader and advocate of new music, CCM demonstrates a strong commitment to contemporary chamber music performance and the commissioning of new works for the ensemble. Over the past 19 years, CCM has commissioned sixteen new works by different composers, for its subscription, Music at the Millennium, Family Concert, and Composer Perspectives series. CCM has recorded nine of these with the ensemble.