The Harlem Chamber Players is an ethnically diverse collective of professional musicians dedicated to bringing affordable and accessible live classical music to people in the Harlem community and beyond. In addition, The Harlem Chamber Players seek to build an audience for classical music in general through community and educational outreach, as well as through collaborations with Harlem's other arts organizations, schools and cultural institutions. The Harlem Chamber Players not only bring live chamber music to underserved neighborhoods in the Harlem community, but also create opportunities for classically trained minority musicians.
Music at St. Mary's
Harlem’s acclaimed chamber music series Music at St. Mary's began in 2008 as a partnership between clarinetist Liz Player and violist Charles Dalton, who met while performing at a Black History Month gala concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Inspired and encouraged by Janet Wolfe, founder of the New York City Housing Authority Orchestra and long-time patron of minority classical musicians, Ms. Player and Mr. Dalton created a summer music festival in the neighborhood of Manhattanville/West Harlem that provided dynamic chamber music concerts. The Rev. Dr. Earl Kooperkamp of the historic St. Mary’s Episcopal Church welcomed and supported the creation of an ongoing series.
The Harlem Chamber Players
Our core group of musicians has actually been giving performances well before the creation of Harlem's regular concert series Music at St. Mary's. In 2004 clarinetist Liz Player founded West Harlem Winds. This wind quintet performed at St. Mary's Episcopal Church as well as in colleges, public schools, private functions and various other venues. With the addition of strings and the creation of the Music at St. Mary's series in 2008, the group became St. Mary's Chamber Players.
The name of the entire cast of musicians who perform regularly in the Music at St. Mary's series is The Harlem Chamber Players.
Our Home - St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Established in 1823, St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Manhattanville is among the oldest churches in Harlem. For over 180 years, St. Mary's Church has been an important part of the West Harlem community, inspiring and responding to the needs of its people. St. Mary's Church calls itself the "Do not be afraid" church, standing up as a community of faith to pursue justice and peace for the poor and oppressed, to pray for those at risk and to put into practice the message of the Gospel. Among the services the church provides are the St. Mary's Food Pantry, the Homeless Hunger Outreach, the Prison Ministry Outreach Program and an internship for young theological students. St. Mary's Church continues to be a vital hub in the West Harlem community. St. Mary's Church burned to the ground at the turn of the 20th century but was quickly replaced with the present Neo-Gothic structure built in 1909. In 1998, the New York City Landmarks Commission designated the church a New York State landmark. The Harlem Chamber Players are proud to to call St. Mary's Church its home.
St. Mary's Church is available to rent for concerts, rehearsals and other events. Click here for more information.
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