Staunton Music Festival: Why You Should Re-Think Classical Music

Staunton Music Festival 2019

Photo courtesy of Staunton Music Festival


Twenty-two years ago, Carsen Schmidt asked several musician friends to get together with him and organize two chamber music concerts over a weekend. That weekend was the nucleus for Staunton Music Festival.

Now, two decades later, that lone weekend of chamber music has grown into a six-event summer concert series. What’s more, SMF is now recognized as one of the most innovative and accomplished chamber music organizations in the region.

With a committed and supportive local audience, support from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, SMF makes it possible for the public to hear daily free noontime concerts with their summer festival, as well as offering paid performances.

Staunton Music Festival’s Summer Line up

This year, the esteemed organization will present 32 concerts in 10 days! And, it will bring together over 100 incredible works of music such as:

  • Handel’s Theodora
  • Nightcap #1: La Folia
  • Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires
  • Bach’s St. Matthew Passion—on period instruments!
  • Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony
  • Bernstein’s West Side Story

You will also hear music from other great composers from Hildegard to John Hilliard with all works performed by 80 world-class artists.

Most days will include 1-2 free daytime shows followed by a longer paid evening show. You can buy tickets individually or as part of a discounted package. Get more ticket information and the schedule here.

There will also be the “Concert for Young People (of all ages),” Sunday Morning Services at Trinity Episcopal Church, a “Magic & Mischief” performance at Blackfriars Playhouse, and a “Darkness & Light” performance which showcases “moments of both great joy and crushing despair,” according to the website description. And so much more!

The 2019 festival will run from August 16-25th.

Staunton Music Festival’s Fall Concert

In addition to SMF’s summer festival, there is also a fall concert. Presented at Central United Methodist Church on November 2ndand 3rd, you can hear special guests Anna Steinhoff on gamba and Meg Owens on oboe.

They will join SMF founder and harpsichordist, Carsten Schmidt, on Bach’s chamber music for gamba and oboe. Both concerts will be performed on period instruments in an intimate setting.

Why You Should Go

The organization’s mission is to present programs that are not only innovative but also seek a balance between old and new music. “We believe in the power of live classical music to transform the region and all of its residents,” says the organization literature. And it shows!

Whether you’re an ardent fan of chamber music or you have no idea what to expect, the summer and fall concerts will give you plenty of reasons to re-think what you think you know about period music.

Once you hear the passion of this music beautifully played by extraordinary musicians, your world will be forever transformed!

Book your reservation with the Iris Inn and join us as we all celebrate classical music.