Founded in the 1970's by Norman Nunamaker and Dorothy Jarvinen (then of the Gettysburg College faculty), the Gettysburg Chamber Music Workshop is now run by Middle Creek Chamber Music, LLC, with Robert Battey as Music Director and Eric Jarvinen as Administrative Director.
The Workshop commences on Friday at 6:00 p.m., and ends at noon on Tuesday.*
All Workshop activities take place in Haaland Hall, a modern, air-conditioned dormitory on the College campus. For resident participants, once you arrive you will have no further need for money or transportation; all meals are included and any off-campus travel is purely optional. Each resident has a private bedroom in a suite with shared bath, each suite with a microwave and refrigerator. We also offer a commuter rate for participants who live locally, and there are several nearby motels for those who come with a companion or wish for more privacy. Participants coming by air should discuss travel details with the Administrative Director.
Meals are taken at the College dining hall, which offers good variety. The dining hall is a longish walk from our building, which may be a consideration for persons with mobility issues.
Nearby College gym and tennis facilities are available. Most years, we have a professional masseuse on-site to help ease aching backs. We provide solid, institutional music stands for all.
* If absolutely necessary, a participant may leave on Monday night, with advance notice.
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The Workshop is a player-focused program. Our superb faculty are there to work and play with you, not to rehearse and perform with one another.
Each musician is placed in two different string quartets, with carefully-assigned repertoire (usually a single movement). Assignments are sent out by early May, and players are expected to arrive with their music well-prepared (see "Preparation" tab above). Each quartet works daily with a faculty coach and rehearses by itself as well. The emphasis is on developing overall listening and problem-solving skills rather than achieving a performance, but those groups who unanimously wish to share the fruits of their work do so at the end of the Workshop.
In between their assigned groups, players also take part each day in organized sight-reading sessions overseen by a faculty member. In these "round-robin" groups, tips are shared and tactics employed in how to navigate unfamiliar music, so that participants can increase their confidence in such settings.
In the middle of each day we have downtime, for rest, recreation, or remedial practicing. A sample schedule can be seen here.
After dinner, players match up as they please in repertoire of their own choice, often in larger ensembles (quintets and sextets). The Workshop has an extensive music library, and players bring their own favorites. All faculty are available to play in these pick-up groups. Some players post sign-up sheets, others just assemble themselves on an ad-hoc basis. The faculty work to ensure that everyone who wishes to play gets to do so. In some suites, the music goes on into the wee hours.
Participants return to their normal lives exhausted and inspired!
The Workshop is also one of the best values on the adult chamber music circuit. Notwithstanding top-tier faculty and modern facilities, our all-inclusive fees for 2019 were only $650 for resident musicians and $425 for commuting musicians (new fees might have a nominal adjustment).