Chamber Music Festival | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Chamber Music Festival

One reason for living in our Mexican city is superb access to the arts. For the last week, we have been attending concerts at the XXVIII Festival de Música de Cámara—The 27th Annual Chamber Music Festival of San Miguel de Allende. Every August, we get two weeks of nightly concerts in our intimate, 300-seat Angela Peralta Theater (not to be confused with the magnificent opera house of the same name in Mazatlan).

This year, the lineup includes: the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Vega Quartet, the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Olga Kern, Timothy Fain and Will Ransom. These are young musicians of significant international reputation and accomplishment. They are viewed by many as "risk takers," and I can attest to the excitement of their innovative performances.

My experience last night was typical. I ate an excellent dinner with my friend, Doug Lord, at fusion restaurant Nirvana. Two minutes before starting time, we walked across Mesones street to the Angela Peralta Theater and took our seats.

The program began promptly. The Vega Quartet played works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Shubert. Anyone who has been put off by "the anal-retentive sawing of a string quartet" would have been in for a surprise. The performance was lively and emphatic. No academic readings, these. The composers were young when they wrote them, and our performers captured the youthful exuberance in their music.

I was kept on the edge of my seat by a string quartet. Who woulda thought?

In San Francisco, our tickets would have cost three times as much, the crowds would have been annoying, we could not have purchased good seats, parking would have been impossible or expensive. Which is why we rarely attended concerts there. In our little town, we stroll downtown to the theater, no seat is more than thirty feet from the stage, and there are no crowds to deal with.

We are very fortunate.