A brief history

From Modest Beginnings

Kathleen Ferrier

At the close of World War II a few like-minded chamber music enthusiasts met for occasional recitals in each others’ houses. In 1948 these enthusiasts decided to formalise their meetings by creating Perth Chamber Music Society.

Famous Names

Benjamin Grosvenor

From these modest beginnings, the Society blossomed and began to attract many well-known names: the composer Sir Edmund Rubbra, Sandor Vegh leading the Vegh Quartet, the legendary Kathleen Ferrier and Dame Janet Baker. Recently in the present era, BBC Young Musician of the Year Jennifer Pike has performed for Perth Chamber Music and pianists who have given excellent recitals include Steven Osborne, Sam Haywood, Murray McLachlan and Benjamin Grosvenor.

An International Dimension

Belcea Quartet

We have looked far and wide to attract international artists to Perth. Amongst Quartets, the Vogler, the Kodaly, the Wihan, the Emperor and the Royal Quartet of Warsaw have played for us. The Belcea Quartet made their Perth debut with us at the outset of their international career.

An Eye to the Future

From the very first we have had education as a primary aim. Each year, complimentary season tickets for a large number of pupils were provided to the music departments of all High Schools in the Perth area. This has now been expanded to free entry to the concerts for anyone of school age.

Bursary Finalists 2009-10

A further aim of the Society is to support the careers of young, and particularly Scottish, artists at the outset of their careers. Amongst the concerts involving local artists have been performances by the Crieff-born flautist, Kimberley Boyle and the Alba Quartet. To the same end we have had long-term links with the John Tunnell Trust which has done so much to foster young professional talent.

Other exciting expansions of the Society's work have been to establish a Diamond Jubilee Bursary to give grants to local school-leavers who plan to continue their music-making at college or university, and a programme of schools workshops taking professional musicians into local schools.

Venue

For many years the Society's concerts were held in Perth Museum and Art Gallery. In 2012 the venue was moved to the 800-year-old St. John's Kirk in the heart of Perth. This magnificent historic building provides the perfect setting for the great music performed each season in the Perth Chamber Music programme.

In Conclusion

In the past there were four concerts per season, which has now extended to six. This points to a growing public appreciation of the worth of chamber music and increasing support from local trusts and Enterprise Music Scotland. In closing this brief history of the Perth Chamber Music Society we must express our sincere appreciation of the generosity of our sponsors past and present. Without their support we could not enjoy the world-class music that we do and Perth would be poorer without it.