About Us

Based in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, the Ferrara Chamber Music Festival offers an opportunity for committed young artists to dedicate themselves to a week of rigorous study in order to further develop their chamber music skills. The festival organizes young participating artists into chamber groups with great care in order to facilitate the best experience of chamber repertoire exploration. Each group receives instruction from the internationally-renowned Guest Teaching Artists of the year and performs in 2 concerts on the Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the end of the festival.

FCMF is aware of our responsibility not only to educate our young artists in the ability of performing chamber music, but ultimately to help them to become advocates of their art. In this way, we encourage the young artists to absorb as much information about the pieces they are working on and in turn, educate the audience in small pre-performance talks.

We are unique in that the festival takes place in a very private, supportive, warm family-oriented atmosphere. We pride ourselves in knowing that our young artists attending the festival will become part of something very special and hope the cultivation of long lasting friendships will blossom in years to come.

Good Friends, Good Food,
Good Music

Mission Statement

  • To provide artistic and academic preparation for the most gifted graduate-level performers from around the world under the tutelage of internationally renowned guest Teaching Artists

  • To continue the education of young artists after their formal education is over. Many young artists seem to not have a place for rigorous study after they have completed their education. We seek to inspire, cultivate, and help keep the spark of learning alive within the emerging performing artists of today.

  • To build a broad array of audiences and invite them to discover, explore, and appreciate chamber music through concerts, open rehearsals, and creative outreach activities.

  • To present the finest in chamber music performed by exceptionally talented young emerging artists in order to enhance the cultural environment surrounding the Tidewater area of Virginia, especially Norfolk.

  • To provide educational activities and programs which encourage, broaden and deepen appreciation of the chamber music art form.

Why Chamber Music?

Chamber music was traditionally a small group of instrumentalists who could fit into a small chamber of a palace. It is considered one of the most cherished forms of classical music and is described by many as “the music of friends.” While most of our young performing artists spend their time as soloists or part of a symphony, chamber music allows them to collaborate in the most intimate medium of music making possible.

Performing in itself is a somewhat vulnerable or naked experience to an artist; a sort of glimpse into the composers and artists soul. When a group of friends and colleagues gets together to make the compositions of the great composers come alive, the intimate nature of what is unfolding is revealed in concert to the audience. The ensembles develop a closeness of shared musical experience that is unmatched in any other musical medium.

Festival History

FCMF started with violinist and Artistic Director, Christopher Ferrara, wanting to have a small get together of friends over a summer break to read some music and put on a small concert for friends and family. Through the encouragement and inspiration of his colleagues, teachers, and family, the minor get together became a festival with over fourteen invitees from all over the world. Through the great assistance of Jeff Phelps, Director of the Governors School of the Arts, a rehearsal space was provided and the Virginia Arts Festival’s Robin Hixon Theatre was offered as a concert venue.

Dora Mullins, Mr. Ferrara’s violin teacher in his developing younger years, offered to give chamber music coachings to the chamber groups and everything else fell into place. First seen as a small chamber music workshop or symposium, the event has turned into rather large festival and is now an event much looked forward to by participating young artists and audiences alike.