Rembrandt Chamber Musicians perpetuates chamber music as an accessible, engaging, and deeply personal living art form by:
- Presenting world-class performances of well-known masterworks and hidden gems from the Baroque period to the present
- Collaborating with renowned guest artists
- Commissioning living composers to create new musical works
- Supporting young musicians through an annual high school chamber music competition and educational outreach initiatives
Founded in the fall of 1990, Rembrandt Chamber Musicians features six of the most highly accomplished musicians in the Chicago area, including principal members of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The ensemble’s expansive repertoire, ranging from historically informed performances of baroque classics to contemporary works by local composers, has consistently garnered high praise and recognition.
Since its inception, Rembrandt has actively commissioned fourteen new works and six arrangements by renowned composers from the Chicago area and beyond. In 2012 Rembrandt presented the only Chicago performance of Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale, pairing it with Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. In 2008 Rembrandt began The Mahler Project, a three-year retrospective of Schoenberg’s chamber arrangements of Mahler’s large symphonic works, receiving excellent reviews from the Chicago Tribune. In 2014 Rembrandt commissioned and premiered a new sonata for oboe and piano by GRAMMY Award winner and multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy as well as new works and arrangements by David Schrader, Sebastian Huydts, and Peter Labella. In 2017 Rembrandt presented the Midwest premiere of Dana Wilson’s Gold Mosaic and the world premiere of Sebastian Huydts’ Trio for oboe, viola, and piano.
Deeply committed to fostering chamber music education and appreciation, Rembrandt founded its highly acclaimed Annual High School Chamber Music Competition in 1995, an event that continues to draw participants from the Music Institute of Chicago, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Midwest Young Artists, Merit School of Music, and a variety of public and private schools throughout the state. Winning ensembles receive cash prizes, coaching sessions from Rembrandt musicians, and performance opportunities and participate in educational outreach projects for Chicago-area schools that lack an established music program.
In June 2015 John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune hailed Rembrandt as “one of the more notable success stories in Chicago chamber music,” going on to say that “regular appearances by guest artists help keep Rembrandt’s repertory fresh and varied.” In his review of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, von Rhein praised the ensemble for its “infectious verve, spontaneity, and abundance of feeling.” Rembrandt’s concerts are regularly selected as the Chicago Tribune’s top classical music pick of the week and are rebroadcast on WFMT classical radio throughout the year.