Barry Shiffman, Rockport Chamber Music Festival artistic director


We asked Rockport Chamber Music Festival Artistic Director Barry Shiffman to give us his favorite concert at the Hall. He couldn’t pick just one. Barry shares:

An ideal concert stops you in your tracks and so completely overwhelms you that all of the outside world disappears and you become one with the music.  The distance between performer and listener disappears and the power of the communal experience takes over. The following concerts fit that description:

War and Peace
with Attacca Quartet, Stephen Prutsman (piano), Danny Koo (violin)
June 22, 2018
The prayer-like response created by the Speigel im Speigel of Arvo Pärt performed by Danny Koo and Stephen Prutsman was just what was needed following the intensity of Shostakovich Quartet No. 3 and the staggering performance by the Attacca Quartet of Different Trains by Reich that included powerful video of Beatrice Carvaggio. At the end of the Arvo Pärt, the uncomfortably long extended silence before the applause was something that I won’t forget. Some audience members stayed in the hall for several minutes after the concert, reduced to tears and needing time to recover and embracing one another when they exited.

JCT (Junction) Trio
June 30, 2019
Listening to these young musicians burning through Dvořák Ives and Trapani trios with such searing intensity was just exhilarating.  Gone were any issues of ensemble playing or technical concerns. Conrad Tao, Stefan Jackiw and Jay Campbell were lost in the joy of making music and we in the audience felt like we were invited to their party. No surprise it earned best chamber concert of the year from the Boston Globe.


In thinking about all the special performances in the past ten years, we asked some of our long-time patrons and supporters to add a few of their favorites as well.

Interestingly, out of all the many dozens of concerts attended, two long- time supporters picked the same concert, a night (June 18, 2015) that featured the reunion of the Carnegie Mellon Trio featuring (then) Artistic Director David Deveau on piano, violinist Andrés Cárdenes, and cellist Anne Martindale Williams. “That concert was thrilling,” said Phil and Eve Cutter. “Beethoven’s ‘Archduke’ trio, especially the Andante movement, was brilliant and so heartfelt.” After referencing that very same concert, Dianne Anderson recalled the ease and intimacy shared between the trio.  “There are so many memorable moments for me, but it is always very special to hear these three musicians play together, as they like each other so much.  They truly love to make music together and it shows.”

For Pamela Bynum and Henry Ferrara, the most memorable concert was the Bravissimo David! program (July 9, 2017) that also featured David Deveau and his Carnegie Mellon mates, but also included incoming Artistic Director Barry Shiffman. “What made that concert special was the very public transfer of artistic leadership from David to Barry while, at the same time, honoring David’s legacy with his stalwart compatriots, Andrés and Anne,” said Pamela.  “It was an exceptionally beautiful afternoon and the hall shone with all of its glory.  The music was magnificent, especially the Dvořák.  We were present at the Rockport Art Association for David’s first performance oh so many years ago, so that July 9 concert was a milestone in our memories.”


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