Guarneri Hall welcomes NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival

Guarneri Hall

An opportunity for lovers of chamber music is coming soon. Guarneri Hall, a recently established, state-of-the-art, intimate music venue located in the loop, is pleased to announce the second annual NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival, three concerts at the hall on Aug. 28, Aug. 30, and Sept. 4, and one in the Chicago College of the Performing Arts’ Ganz Hall on Sept. 6. NEXUS is a collective of highly acclaimed young musicians committed to stimulating interest in chamber music in new audiences through immersive performances, utilizing social media to promote music, and showcasing emerging talent. In a combined effort to increase access to classical music, concerts at Guarneri Hall will be live-streamed on the Guarneri Hall website,, at no charge. Guarneri Hall is located at 11 East Adams, 3rd floor, and Ganz Hall is located at 430 S. Michigan Ave. 

Brian Hong & Alexander Hersh – photo credit Lauren Desberg

Tickets are available for purchase here at $40 per person and $10 for students for the first three concerts of the series (Aug. 28, Aug. 30, Sept. 4), while admission to the fourth (Sept. 6) is free. 

Learn more about the participating musicians here.

Allison Lovera

Stefan Hersh, Artistic Director of Guarneri Hall generously answered some questions about this unique performance space as follows:

1.  What was the impetus for a hall of this type?

Having worked throughout my career in recording rooms that didn’t sound ideal and in concert spaces that were awkward to record in I had the idea to try to make a great sounding recording room with enough space to allow for a small audience. The concept that was developed with my business partners at Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins who sponsored construction was to create the equivalent of a “chef’s kitchen table” at a great restaurant: a place to experience detail that is is too far away to be readily observed in large concert venues. To achieve this, we needed an aesthetically pleasing room both acoustically and visually, with a lot of unobtrusive technological and audiophile capability. We wanted to be able to capture audiophile recording quality and HD video streaming without interfering with the performance experience. I didn’t know of a space anywhere that exactly fit the description so we had to plan it from scratch. The team at Threshold Acoustics were incredible partners in the development of the concept and the space. Carl Giegold and Marcus Mayell embraced the challenges as they would for a 100 million dollar concert hall.

2.  How long did it take to put this together?

We originally  tried in early 2008 in another building but that effort was abandoned for technical challenges and lack of funding. When the chance to try again in the 11 E Adams building came up in 2016 we started again, this time with a lot more information and experience under our belts. Still, planning, design, and construction took us over two years to complete. The planning and development of the board and not-for-profit entity and staffing is an ongoing long-term project.

3.  To what extent is the hall currently being used and what are future plans for the hall?

We presented about a dozen events last year, from the NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago Festival launched in August to a concert celebrating recently deceased composer Oliver Knussen, and a birthday concert for the very much living composer Bernard Rands. Pianist Bill Wolfram played the Goldberg Variations in May and Tamas Varga, principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic played a recital featuring premiers of several important new works for solo cello. Eminent cellist Lynn Harrell gave a master class that was a high point. We’ve also produced a number of audio and video projects, most notably a video of Alex Hersh (who happens to be my son and an co-artistic director of NEXUS) playing Giovanni Sollima’s Lamentatio, and several others soon to be released. 

Guarneri Hall is conceived of as a hub and an incubator for classical music and music education. In the fall we will begin to realize that mission in some new ways such as a project with master conductor and arranger Cliff Colnot, who will lead a group in the creation of a series of videos entitled Under the Hood: The Arrangers Toolkit, which will detail challenges and solutions in arranging symphonic works for large chamber ensemble. The organization is also using the space as a community hub for the implementation of a Music Literacy Project, designed to provide access to applied music instructions in communities where access is limited by socio-economic conditions and/or under-funded school systems.

Gabriela Lara

4.  Are there any unusual events that took place as the hall was being built?

The technical challenge of building the space made every day seem like an unusual adventure. By design the technical capabilities of the room are all but invisible to attendees. Achieving that has meant overcoming a succession of vexing obstacles. With the biggest of those obstacles behind us, and Guarneri Hall now fully functional, we are having a lot of fun learning how to use the capabilities of the space to full advantage.

About NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago

NEXUS Chamber Music is a collective of international artists committed to stimulating interest in chamber music. The unique programming combines access to on-demand content and live performances in both conventional and unconventional venues to deliver classical music that meets the demands of the 21st century listener. With a goal to make classical music accessible and relevant to new audiences, NEXUS brings today’s best performers together with fresh, diverse audiences, in unique, personalized modern venues. Learn more about NEXUS and the performing musicians here

About Guarneri Hall

Established in October 2018, the new Guarneri Hall is a Chicago based not-for-profit organization committed to fostering interest and accessibility to classical music across demographic boundaries through a range of local, national, and international programs. The state-of-the-art hall operates as a performance venue and recording studio located in the heart of the Chicago Loop and runs, a website offering streamed and archived musical events as well as resources for performers music educators and music enthusiasts. 

NEXUS in rehearsals – photo credit Avie Schneider

Photos: Courtesy of NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago

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