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World-Class Chamber Music Festival Started 41 Years Ago as an Idea Among Friends

Cuarteto Latinamericano_Atencion

Por Frederic Dannen

It began in the late 1970s when a small group of friends, some of whom played string instruments as a hobby, decided that San Miguel de Allende was a fitting place for an annual chamber music festival. Today, 41 consecutive seasons later, the Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende is a magnet for some of the best classical musicians in the world.

The 2019 festival season, August 2–31, includes a number of firsts, along with the return of some past traditions: Two-time Grammy winners Cuarteto Latinoamericano—called “superb” by the New York Times—will appear with soprano Sivan Rotem, one of Israel’s best known and most lauded classical singers, and Russian pianist Nargiza Kamilova. The Dover Quartet, “the young string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker) who have been courted by every major festival on the planet, will perform, as will the Gryphon Trio, acknowledged as the premier piano trio ensemble in Canada. The Symphonie Atlantique of the Hague, Netherlands, will perform as both a chamber ensemble and an orchestra.

The programs for the weekend concerts will include not only string quartet works from J.S. Bach to George Gershwin but also Mozart and Handel arias, Catalan folk songs, and Argentinean tangos.

The following weekend, Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10, brings the Dover Quartet. Ever since sweeping the awards at the 2013 Banff Competition, the Dover Quartet’s members have been international stars. In their two San Miguel concerts, the Dover will present works of Beethoven, Dvořák, Shostakovich, Britten, and Webern.

The Gryphon Trio’s two concerts are scheduled for Friday, August 16, and Saturday, August 17. The Symphonie Atlantique of The Hague will give a total of five concerts, three at the Peralta. At the first two, the group will present a collection of Baroque and Classical works on period instruments, on Friday, August 23, and Saturday, August 24, respectively. The full orchestra will also perform at the Peralta on Friday, August 30, in a program that includes the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor.

Finally, the Symphonie will perform in two special events as the festival extends its reach and musical influence to neighboring communities. On Wednesday, August 21, at 7:30pm, it will perform in a concert of Baroque works at the Auditorio Renaciamiento in Léon, Guanajuato. A reception in the auditorium’s lobby follows the concert. On August 31, the orchestra will perform again, this time in a closing night celebration with student musicians at the Hacienda Santa Clara near San Miguel. “Fiesta at the Hacienda” will celebrate the festival’s notable Education Week music program, in which select students receive expert instruction from some of the best performers in the world.

All nine Peralta Theater concerts are at 7pm. Ticket cost ranges from 150 to 725 pesos and may be purchased online at or at the Boleto City ticket kiosk in the Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, every day but Sunday between 11am and 5pm. Tickets for the León concert are 900 pesos, available for online purchase only. Tickets for the “Fiesta at the Hacienda” are US$150. Ticket purchases help support the festival’s education program for Mexican music students. For more information about the festival, visit


Concert Series

Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende

August 2–31

Teatro Ángela Peralta and other venues

Concert times vary




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