Nevada Chamber Music Festival in Reno is Dec. 27-Jan.1

WHEN IT COMES TO EXCEPTIONAL ORCHESTRAL MUSIC, Reno is truly “the biggest little city in the world.” It is home to the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the Reno Philharmonic, and the Reno Jazz Orchestra, offering remarkable depth for a city of Reno’s size.

The Reno Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1974 by talented musicians who earned their living playing in the casino showrooms. The orchestra’s origins date back to the “Rat Pack” era in the ’60 and ’70s, when casinos such as Harrah’s hired world-class musicians for their “house” orchestras for headliners such as Sammy Davis Jr. (Harrah’s is still home to “Sammy’s Showroom”).

Since then, the Reno Chamber Orchestra has become a renowned performing arts group, appearing with Itzhak Perlman, among others.

Along with its regular season, each December the Chamber Orchestra presents the Nevada Chamber Music Festival, featuring some of the world’s finest musicians performing chamber music.

This year, the 14th annual Festival is December 27-January 1. The Nevada Chamber Music Festival begins with a special “Bach by Candlelight” concert at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral — a sellout last year. The Festival week includes music of Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok, Rachmaninov and Strauss. It concludes with a New Year’s Day brunch and an all Mozart performance.

Among the 22 acclaimed musicians featured in the Festival’s 10 afternoon and evening performances are:

■ Festival artistic director and violist Theodore Kuchar
■ Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
■ Josef Špacek, concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic
■ Pianist, award-winning recording artist, and Harvard professor Robert Levin
■ Trumpet player for the Canadian Brass, Caleb Hudson
■ Cellist Clive Greensmith of the recently retired Tokyo String Quartet
■ Several musicians from the Reno area, including violinist Ruth Lenz and pianist James Winn.

Performances are at South Reno United Methodist Church, Nightingale Concert Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno campus and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. For tickets and more information, visit or call 775-348-9413.

The Reno Chamber Orchestra presents five concerts with featured soloists. The 2017-2018 season includes:

Oct. 7-8 Tanya Bannister (piano)
Nov. 11-12 Michael Sachs (trumpet)
Feb. 17-18 Clive Greensmith (cello)
March 17-18 Josef Špacek (violin)
April 7-8 UNR Symphonic Choir and Chamber Singers

(Photo: Stuart Murtland)

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