There is something special about the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival. Although large orchestras are mighty, a unique kind of magic occurs when a small group of musicians performs together in a historical place like Kneisel Hall, surrounded by Maine wilderness. The sound reverberates between them, and the music takes on a life of its own. While you enjoy your stay with us this summer, we highly recommend taking a 10-minute walk down the road to enjoy one of Kneisel Hall’s concerts or stopping by and taking in the school’s history.
Known today as “the cradle of chamber music in America,” Kneisel Hall has been an educational hub for musicians since 1902, when Franz Kneisel’s vision first came to be. Franz emigrated from Berlin in 1885. Once here, he created the Kneisel Quartet, America’s first professional string quartet.
When he arrived in Blue Hill in 1899, the town had already attracted many vacationing musicians and became a blossoming musical hotspot. He began teaching out of his home overlooking Blue Hill Bay, and over time what had become a music school outgrew his home, and so a dear friend built him the beginning of what is now Kneisel Hall.
Kneisel Hall is a renowned chamber music school offering programs for music students, young professional artists, and adult learners. The Young Artist Chamber Music Program attracts some of the most gifted young musicians as they have the opportunity to engage in the deep study of chamber music with outstanding faculty. All this with the added bonus of being surrounded by the beauty of coastal Maine.
Laurie Smukler, an artistic director and violin faculty at Kneisel Hall, describes what it’s like to support these students. “We all get passionately absorbed. It’s exhilarating to pour your energy into these young people and have it flourish.” What’s more, the public gets to enjoy the benefits of these programs at the fantastic concerts the Hall presents each summer.
Every summer Kneisel Hall celebrates over 120 years of exceptional artistry with the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. From June to August, there are nine weeks of a variety of ongoing events. Including concerts, open rehearsals, masterclasses, the young artist concert series, and children’s concerts.
The shows feature Kneisel Hall faculty, young artists, and the composer-in-residence. You may also see guest artists such as Kneisel Hall alumni or even Grammy-Award-Winning groups like the Catalyst Quartet. These spectacular performances are wonderful to attend, not just for the timeless chamber music but also to witness how the students have passionately prepared during their studies.
If you’re lucky, they may come to you via Kneisel on Tour, a program that brings the performances to towns like Bangor and Southwest Harbor. Tickets sell out fast, so check for availability today. Subscriptions and passes are also available if you would like to see performances regularly.
We look forward to hosting you at our historic and luxury lodging in Blue Hill, ME. What better way to spend the summer than learning about history and enjoying the magic of music at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival?
Published May 2023