2020-21 Season

This summer, our board has been carefully monitoring COVID19 to determine if it is possible to still hold our 84th Season safely. After discussions with our 20/21 artists (Emerson String Quartet, Danish String Quartet & Eighth Blackbird) and the University of Louisville, we have come to the conclusion that we will be postponing our 84th Season from 20/21 to next year, 21/22. While we will miss our world class, live chamber music concerts this year, our patrons’ safety and experience comes first. These artists are working with us now on rescheduled dates and they are looking forward to playing for us in 21/22.

If you have already purchased your tickets for any or all concerts for the 20/21 Season, they are automatically transferred to the 21/22 Postponed Season. Refunds can be issued by request only. You also have the option to convert your purchased tickets to a donation by request. Your patronage and support is vital to the continued success of the series.

Regarding activities outside of our main series, the Macauley Chamber Music Competition is tentatively scheduled for March 2021 and possible outreach events TBD. If you would still like to attend in-person chamber music performances this season, we would encourage you to support the other wonderful chamber music organizations in our city: Atonal, Bourbon Baroque, Ceruti Chamber Players, Louisville Orchestra Musicians Association, Orchestra Enigmatic, and NouLou Chamber Players.


Eugene Drucker 01 “We’re frustrated and sad that our Beethoven quartet cycle in Louisville has been interrupted, but we look forward to the continuation of this musical journey with you as soon as possible. These have been extremely difficult times for the United States, where the pandemic has accentuated the inequities of our society. In our microcosm—the world of chamber music—beyond economic hardship and personal tragedies, there is also a great sense of cultural loss: we can no longer come together in a shared space to perform and listen to great music. However, if any music in the Western tradition can offer solace, inspiration, and a measure of hope for the future, it is the entire body of Beethoven quartets, particularly his middle and late works in this genre. We hope that when we all see each other next, science and reason will have pointed the way forward; there will be no better way to salve the wounds of this turbulent period than with the Heiliger Dankgesang from opus 132, the alternately mystical and earthy trajectory of the theme and variations of opus 127, the hushed, stammering intimacy of the Cavatina from opus 130, and the valedictory resignation and serenity of the Lento assai of opus 135, one of the last utterances of this tormented genius.”

— Eugene Drucker, Emerson String Quartet


The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth on December 16, 1770. We are celebrating this milestone with a year-long Beethoven Festival, the centerpiece of which is the Emerson String Quartet’s performance of all sixteen Beethoven String Quartets over six concerts from February 2020 through November 2020. The first three of these concerts will take place during our 19-20 season, with the remaining three to take place in our 20-21 season. Beyond the quartet cycle, other events will make up our Beethoven celebration—receptions, concerts, read-throughs and talks, including collaborations with other Louisville arts groups. We welcome your participation to make the Beethoven Festival a milestone event to be celebrated and savored throughout the year. This festival is dedicated in loving memory of Ben Franklin.

CMS Beethoven Festival Program Book

The Emerson String Quartet has been one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than 40 years. Its DG recording of the Beethoven quartet cycle has earned acclaim for being “technically flawless” and giving 19/20 the impression of being “forged in white heat.”

Sunday, October 25, 2020 | 3:00pm


BEETHOVEN: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 “Harp”
BEETHOVEN: Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso”
BEETHOVEN: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127

Saturday, November 21, 2020 | 3:00pm


BEETHOVEN: Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132
BEETHOVEN: Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130
BEETHOVEN: Große Fuge in B-flat Major, Op. 133

Sunday, November 22, 2020 | 3:00pm


BEETHOVEN: Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131
BEETHOVEN: Quartet in F Major, Op. 135
BEETHOVEN: Alternate Finale to Op. 130

LCMS Beethoven Emerson Program Notes 3_1_20

Sunday February 14, 2021 | 3:00pm



Photo by Nikolaj Lund

MOZART: Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 428
SHOSTAKOVICH: Quartet No. 10 in A-flat Major, Op. 118
Folk Music from the Nordic Countries

Embodying the quintessential elements of a fine chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for their integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance. With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy” (The New Yorker), the quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike.

Sunday, March 28, 2021 | 3:00pm



Eighth Blackbird, hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students and continues today under the leadership of founding members Lisa Kaplan (executive director) and Matthew Duvall (artistic director). Eighth Blackbird has won four Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance over its 23-year history and has become “a brand-name defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality” (Detroit Free Press). 

TBC: Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 10:00am – 5:00pm


Macauley Pic Banner

Each year, the Macauley Chamber Music Competition is organized and sponsored by the Society to cultivate young musicians’ interest in performing and appreciating chamber music. Next year’s Macauley Competition takes place on March 20, 2021, and is open for public viewing.

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