Questa Chamber Music Series

Questa Chamber Music Series (QCMS) gives a venue in Questa to talented classically trained local musicians while honoring the history of musical gatherings as a way to build community.  

The term “chamber music” was coined in the late 1700s to indicate live musical performance in a chamber, or a room, with a small number of performers (3-5) and a limited number of persons in attendance, and usually as part of a longer gathering that might have involved a meal and lively discussions. It also implied that acoustic instruments were to be used with no amplification required. We now think of it as a place to hear historic music performed in an intimate setting, where interaction between audience and performer is somewhat less formal than a large concert hall with full orchestras.


We aim to make Questa a music destination with its innovative “salon” format: concert pairings with a yoga class, local meal, and informal discussion/presentations. Our new home is La Sala Questa, at 2331 Hwy 522.


This kind of innovative pairing will diversify audience members and build community. Rural Questa will benefit as audience members, and local / regional classical musicians will have a venue to play that is not as far away as Alamosa, CO (80 miles) or Taos (25 miles). One of the three concerts every season will provide exposure to the artform of classical music to local students with musical performances and demonstrations of instruments in schools. 


Live Classical Music Continues During the Pandemic

Quetave Quartet, Dancers, Poetry, and Reflection – a Hybrid Concert… We’ve cooked up virtual / online ways to bring you live music experiences in the wake of our changed world where no large gatherings are permitted. This past September 18 at 11 am, the Quetave Quartet: Andrea Gore (viola and violin), Rebecca Caron (cello), Suzie Schwartz (violin and viola), and Martha Shepp (piano), performed for a hybrid event – with a few in-person attendees, and a recording for future listening/watching.

The notion of essential work and essential workers that has been defined in government health orders during the pandemic leaves out inclusion of the healing and natural uplifting elixir qualities of the arts, we believe. The direct experience of art, creativity, and imagination in times when most activities are virtual and individualized is truly essential. To quote another local performing group, Puppet Theatre los Titiriteros, “…we believe in the necessity of finding new ways to reach out, to be active, inspire…” and encourage reflection, grieving for what is lost, and re-creating through creative response, in a beautiful setting. (Your caring practice of your own emotional health is a good way to take care of others, too.)

For this hybrid presentation, we provided ten socially distanced seats set up in the garden outside La Sala. From there, through open windows, the performance was easily heard and enjoyed, even seen, somewhat! There were four pieces of live music, a dance interpretation of Mahler’s only piano quartet from La Sala ballet teacher Tuesday Faust and fellow dancer Amber Vasquez, poetic interludes between pieces, and the option to write and reflect with your own meditative tools (journal, writing or drawing implements) which were provided. Tea was provided, too.

On the music menu: Faure Piano Quartet #1, Mahler Piano Quartet, duos for strings, and a short Mendelssohn selection for cello and piano.

A recording was made of this concert and it appears on the Questa Creative Council YouTube channel. We are grateful for funding from NMArts and Taos Community Foundation.

Contact Martha for more information at (575) 776-7579; sheppmartha@gmail.com

2018/19

Three concerts took place for the inaugural season: Sept 2018’s concert in the Yellow Room at La Sala Questa featured violinist Andrea Gore (Taos resident), cellist Rebecca Caron (Valle Escondido resident) and pianist Martha Shepp (Questa resident). November 2018’s concert in the main room at La Sala featured local violin/viola player Suzanne Schwartz (El Prado resident) and visiting violinist Odin Rathnam and cellist Morag Northey. April 2019’s concert was held at Red River Charter School with local cellist Mark Dudrow (Jaroso CO resident), Suzanne Schwartz, and Martha Shepp.


2019

The first concert was at noon on Saturday Aug. 31 at La Sala, in the Yellow Room, with Ms. Gore, Ms. Caron, and Ms. Shepp, performing works by Mozart, Turina, and Piazzolla. A repeat performance took place at the First Presbyterian Church in Taos on Sept. 1 at 1:30 pm.

andrea, martha, and rebecca perform in the yellow room at la sala