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Southwest Chamber Music
Frequently Asked Questions

What is chamber music?
Chamber music is defined as one player per part - in other words, one first violin, one second violin, one viola, one cello, etc., in any number of combinations, such as duos, trios, quartets, quintets, etc. Occasionally chamber music ensembles are conducted, but most ensembles do not use a conductor.

How does chamber music differ from an orchestra?
Orchestras have multiple players per part, and are always conducted. In a chamber orchestra, “chamber” refers to a smaller orchestra than a symphony orchestra, but it is an orchestra and not a chamber music ensemble.

What kinds of ensembles perform chamber music?
Ensembles are designated by the number of players, with Duo for 2 players, Trio for 3 players, Quartet for 4 players, Quintet for 5 players, Sextet for 6 players, Octet for 8 players, Nonet for 9 players. These ensembles can be all string instruments (such as a String Quartet), all wind instruments (Wind Quintet) or a combination of any instruments.

What kind of ensemble is Southwest Chamber Music?
We are a mixed ensemble of 16 players, including 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, voice, percussion and wind instruments. Depending on the program, we form smaller ensembles (such as Duos, Trios, Quartets) from the larger group of musicians, so rarely are all of us performing together on the same program. The largest ensemble we have formed has been 14 players, and the smallest are solo or duo recitals.


How can I learn about the music before the concert?
Southwest Chamber Music presents pre-concert talks thirty minutes prior to the concert to discuss composers or musical works featured in that day's concert. Program notes are provided in the program book you receive from the ushers upon arriving at the concert. Program notes for many performances are also available online. You also can sign up to receive e-mail notifications about Southwest Chamber Music’s performances. You can also watch a Preview Video of upcoming programs.

Where do you perform?
Please refer to our current season or summer festival for information on our partner venues.

Can I bring children?
Our full-length concerts are not appropriate for children under the age of 8. However, children of all ages are welcome at our Music Unwrapped Free Family series. Please see Music Unwrapped for more information.

What should I wear?
Our performances are in an intimate, casual setting. Some people may choose to dress up more than others, but we encourage you to be casually elegant and comfortable.

When should I arrive?
Southwest Chamber Music concerts have open seating, so it is best to arrive early to choose your seat and review the program notes. Please arrive thirty minutes before each concert for our Pre-concert Talk.

What are the Pre-concert Talks?
Join us thirty minutes before each winter season concert for an informative pre-concert talk with Artistic Director Jeff von der Schmidt and featured composers whenever possible. These talks are a perfect way to prepare for each concert’s interesting perspective.

If I arrive late to a concert, will I be seated immediately?
Southwest Chamber Music makes every attempt to begin concerts on time. Latecomers will not be seated until after the conclusion of the first movement when it is appropriate or after the first work on the program. Patrons who leave the hall before or during a work will not be reseated until after the work is completed. Your usher will alert you as soon as it is possible to be seated.

How long is a typical concert?
A typical concert is less than two hours long, with a brief intermission.

When should I applaud during a classical concert?
Traditionally, applause is held until the end of a piece of music. Composers create a work as a whole, which is often made up of several movements. It is best not to disrupt the continuity of the music by applauding between movements. If you are unsure, wait for others to clap and then join in!


Can I exchange my ticket for another ticket to a different concert?
Subject to availability, it may be possible to exchange your ticket by calling our office at 626-685-4455 at least 24 hours before the concert you would like to attend. You may not exchange tickets for a concert date that has already passed.

Do you provide discounted tickets to groups?
We provide discounts for groups of ten or more.

What should I do if I lost my tickets?
We keep a record of all ticket purchases. Please call us at 626-685-4455 if you have lost your tickets and we will be happy to replace your tickets at no additional charge.

Can I donate my unused ticket(s)?
All ticket sales are final. You may donate unused tickets as a tax deductible contribution to support free student attendance at the concerts.


How can I donate?
You can donate online, or call our office at 626.685.4455 to find out about becoming a supporter of Southwest Chamber Music.

How can I place an ad in your program book?
To advertise in the Southwest Chamber Music’s program book, please call email our office at mail@swmusic.org or read more here.

How can I get involved?
Southwest Chamber Music has many ways for you to become involved. Our Community Advisors and Events committees always need members, and special events require many helpers. Please email us at mail@swmusic.org to discuss ways to become more involved.

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