The Festival’s mission is to become an integral part of the culture and life of Newburyport and the surrounding area by providing a series of high caliber and stimulating musical events designed to encourage a sense of involvement and ownership on the part of the community.
A live concert is fundamentally different from a recording. By fostering an awareness of the music-making process and an appreciation of the exceptional architectural spaces available in Newburyport and by providing ample opportunities for casual interaction between artists and residents, we seek to nurture a community of music lovers of all ages while exploring the unique possibilities of live classical chamber music.
Founded in 2002 by Artistic Director David Yang and Newburyport resident Jane Niebling, this August weeklong series of classical chamber music events has grown from three musicians and three concerts to, this summer, twelve artists, thirteen events and six venues. Originally sponsored by St. Paul’s Church in Newburyport the Festival now functions as an independent not-for-profit organization.
Our first venue was the 1863 granite Neo-Gothic St. Anna’s Chapel on the grounds of St. Paul’s church. With no stage and with seating in the round the 90-seat chapel provided the degree of intimacy for which chamber music was originally intended. Since then we have moved to the larger St. Paul’s Church as our principle venue, but we continue to take advantage an eclectic collection of spaces, both public and private, indoors and out, historic and modern, which are available in our community.
St. Paul’s Church
Founded in 1711, St. Paul’s is the oldest continuing Episcopal Parish in Massachusetts. This Rockport granite structure was built in 1922 after a similar wooden structure burned.
The Custom House Maritime Museum
Designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument, the all-granite Custom House was built in 1835.
The Carriage House
This 1850 carriage house with hung barn construction was rescued from a condo construction by its current owners and redesigned with the aid of Andrew Sidford Architects. Sympathetic acoustics for chamber music was one of the primary design goals of the project.
The Newburyport Public Library
The Nathaniel Tracy Mansion, built in 1777, was purchased by eight citizens and given to the city for its library in 1865. Renovated and expanded in 2001, the Library has lent its spaces to NCMF since 2002.
Union Congregational Church of Amesbury
Union Church was built in the autumn of 1835 at The Point on land bounded by the Powow River and overlooking the Merrimack River. At that time the area known as Point Shore was part of Salisbury, Massachusetts. The church exhibits a number of Greek Revival details, combined with forms carried over from the Federal period. In 1873 the original pews were replaced by curved pews, so advantages for the enjoyment of chamber music.
Inn Street, Downtown Newburyport
During the downtown restoration of the 1970’s Inn Street was redesigned to be a public pedestrian walkway with places for play, relaxation and performance.