Austin Chamber Music Festival hosts musicians from around the world

Sara Neaves

From classical compositions to indie-rock songs, sounds of cellos, violins and drums echo throughout the city as world-class musicians take the stage at this year’s 19th Annual Austin Chamber Music Festival.

At the festival, Austinites of all ages can experience a variety of chamber music, attend workshops and masterclasses, and enjoy world class music from all over the globe. Through July 19, the festival will host artists at various venues around Austin each weekend.

The festival kicked off July 3 with a concert by local orchestral indie band Mother Falcon. The festival aims to gather a vast array of chamber music artists, ranging in genre from rock to classical. The festival’s executive director, Peter Helf, said Mother Falcon made for a memorable opening night.

“It was awesome,” Helf said. “[Mother Falcon’s] nontraditional concert shows what we do in the festival.”

Josh Gindele, cellist and founding member of the award-winning Miró Quartet, said the members look forward to the atmosphere of the summer concert.

“We play four public concerts each year at UT, but we don’t play in the summer all that often,” Gindele said. “The summer concert offers a slightly different audience. They’re younger and hippie-er, savvier. I love that.”

Miró Quartet has been performing at the summer music festival every few summers since the group’s residency at Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music began in 2003.

“Not many universities have [a quartet-in-residence],” Gindele said. “It’s a very special thing.”

The quartet’s performance Sunday at Bates Recital Hall will feature a piece by Austrian composer Franz Schubert, during which the group will make a special announcement about their upcoming activities this fall. Gindele said the festival as a whole is a reflection of the art community’s love of diversity.

“[The event] shows how the art community is thinking,” Gindele said. “Different types of people are showing up to all these events.”

Cello rock-band Break of Reality performed its popular cover of the “Game of Thrones” theme song Thursday. The group’s co-founder and percussionist, Ivan Trevino, said the quartet makes sure to engage the audience in every show.

“Our set is pretty diverse,” Trevino said. “We really consider ourselves a rock band, first and foremost. We don’t play with music stands, we memorize all of the music we play, and at every concert we will improvise a song on the spot.”

In addition to its many concerts, the festival hosts a series of masterclasses for people of all ages. Prior to their performance, the group held a workshop for their audience.

“The workshop and show were both great,” Trevino said. “We were able to jam out with the kids, working on improvisation. And the crowd was awesome, they were very enthusiastic and really appreciated the concert.”

The festival, Helf said, provides a perfect opportunity for the musicians to connect with the community.

“Whoever makes noise in the chamber music world,” Helf said, “They’ll be there.”