For the past half century, the Honolulu Chamber Music Series has brought top-flight international ensembles to perform on O‘ahu. From the Paganini Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio, to the Brentano Quartet and the Interpreti Veneziani, nearly every American and European ensemble of note has appeared on the series since its 1955 inception. Many favorite ensembles, including the Tokyo, Emerson, and Juilliard Quartets, have made multiple appearances over the years, building a lasting rapport with Honolulu audiences. Over the years, HCMS has consistently displayed an ability to discover unknown or emerging quartets who would later go on to great fame: Both the Tokyo and Takacs Quartets arrived in Honolulu long before their ascent to the apex of the chamber music world. HCMS continues to seek out some of the world’s most interesting and dynamic young ensembles.

Today, HCMS is doing more than ever before to offer adult audiences–and, through outreach programs, young people–the opportunity to hear, fall in love with, and savor the heights and depths of chamber music. The intimacy of the Mae Z. Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, coupled with lively pre-concert artist discussions, encourage a thoroughly personal experience with both music and musicians. HCMS also places increasing emphasis on bringing chamber music to new audiences. Ensembles undertake outreach activities including master classes and performances for high school and university students. And, seeking out groups who bring classical music values to music from non-Classical traditions, HCMS in recent seasons has included genres, including the tango, Klezmer music, and the music of Persia.

HCMS grew out of the activities of the Honolulu Chamber Music Group, a collection of chamber music players and enthusiasts who first formally met in 1955 at the home of Mrs. Louise Judd. Initially limiting itself to the organization of house concerts by local musicians, the group eventually made the decision to make the concerts public, resulting in an invitation to the Lasalle Quartet, who inaugurated the Series with a 1957 performance at the University of Hawaii’s Farrington Hall.

Prior to this, international ensembles had visited Hawaii on an irregular basis: the London String Quartet was stranded here during World War II, the Kolisch Quartet gave six concerts in 1936, and in 1937 the Coolidge Quartet put on a series of performances, accompanied on their trip by sponsor and noted chamber music patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. With the founding of HCMS, for the first time, a true chamber music season came into being.

Early seasons included a mix of local quartets, including the Honolulu String Quartet and the Honolulu Symphony String Quartet, with celebrity ensembles such as the Amadeus and Fine Arts Quartets and the Alma Trio. With the advent of jet travel in the 1960s, Hawaii was no longer a remote destination, and HCMS was able to attract many more international groups.

A complete listing of ensembles who have played on the Honolulu Chamber Music Series may be found below.

Honolulu Chamber Music Series Board of Directors

  • Jonathan Korth, President
  • John Love, Vice President
  • Alice Saul, Treasurer
  • Pamela Simon, Assistant Treasurer
  • James Di Giambattista, Secretary
  • Helen Chao-Casano
  • Craig DeSilva
  • Joan Martin Doike
  • Kristin Elgersma
  • George Hudes
  • Scott Kim
  • Amy Mitsuda
  • Thomas Osborne

Past Performers

    1955

  • 3 Local Ensembles’ Concerts
  • The homes of Mrs. J.R. Judd;
  • Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Gaylord
  • Mr. and Mrs. P.E. Spalding
    1956

  • Local Ensemble Concerts
  • The home of Mr. & Mrs. P.E. Spalding
    1957

  • Local Ensemble Concerts
  • LaSalle String Quartet (Farrington/UHM)
    1958

  • Honolulu String Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
  • Alma Trio
  • Amadeus String Quartet
    1959

  • Alma Trio
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
  • Honolulu String Quartet
  • Hollywood String Quartet
    1960

  • Paganini Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony Quartet
  • Claremont Quartet
  • Honolulu Chamber Ensemble
    1961

  • Juilliard String Quartet
  • Honolulu Chamber Ensemble
  • FIne Arts Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
  • Orvis Auditorium UHM
    1962

  • California Chamber Players
  • Honolulu Chamber Trio
  • Hungarian Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony Wind Ensemble
    1963

  • The Alard Quartet
  • Allegri String Quartet
    1964

  • Vlach Quartet
  • Beaux-Arts String Quartet
  • Hungarian Quartet (two concerts)
  • University String Quartet (debut concert)
    1965

  • Berkshire Quartet
  • University String Quartet
  • Borodin Quartet
  • Prague Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
  • LaSalle String Quartet
    1966

  • Die Kammermusiker
  • Cassenti Players
  • Kyndel Quartet
  • Vienna Trio
  • Juilliard String Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
    1967

  • Prague Quartet
  • Vegh Quartet
  • Camerata Bern
  • Berliner Camerata Musicale
    1968

  • Die Kammermusiker
  • Perrenian Quartet
  • Benthian Quartet
  • Adelaide Woodwind Quintet
  • Beaux-Arts Trio
    1969-70

  • Rejto Duo
  • Beaux-Arts String Quartet
  • Trio Bell Arte
  • Hungarian Quartet
  • Hawaii String Quartet
    1970-71

  • Czech String Quartet
  • New Cleveland Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
    1971-72

  • Philadelphia String Quartet
  • Honolulu Woodwind Quintet
  • Trio Victoria
  • Bucharest String Quartet
  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Louis Kaufman Recital
    1972-73

  • Ensemble Players Octet
  • Austral String Quartet
  • Adelaide Wind Quintet
  • Juilliard String Quartet
  • Tokyo String Quartet
    1973-74

  • Severance String Quartet
  • Bucharest String Quartet
  • Janos Starker Recital
  • Ensemble Players Guild
  • Rhenish Chamber Orchestra
  • Warsaw String Quartet
  • George Zuckerman Recital
    1974-75

  • Purcell String Quartet
  • Honolulu Baroque Ensemble
  • Japan Trio
  • Zsigmondy Duo
    1975-76

  • Gabrielli String Quartet
  • Austral String Quartet
  • Ermeler Duo
  • Honolulu Baroque Ensemble
  • Sofia Soloists
  • Philadelphia Strings Quartet
    1976-77

  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony Woodwind Quintet
  • Portland Symphony String Quartet
  • The Japan Trio
  • Chicago Symphony String Quartet
    1977-78

  • Philadelphia String Quartet
  • Canadian Brass
  • Moscow State Wind Quintet
  • Honolulu Baroque Ensemble
  • Quartet Canada
    1979-80

  • Portland String Quartet
  • Honolulu Symphony Trio
  • Aulos of Australia
  • Annapolis Brass Quintet
  • Sydney String Quartet
  • Dorian Wind Quintet
    1980-81

  • Sequoia String Quartet
  • Quartetto Beethoven di Roma
  • Orford String Quartet
  • Contrasts Trio
  • Little Consort Amsterdam
  • Honolulu Symphony String Quartet
    1981-82

  • American Brass Quintet
  • The Berlin Kreuzberg String Quartet
  • Europa Early Music Consort
  • Hayden Trio
  • International String Quartet
    1982-83

  • American Chamber Trio
  • Rogeri Trio
  • Sara Watkins and John Shirley-Quirk
  • Soni Ventorum
  • Tokyo String Quartet
    1983-84

  • Anapolis Brass Quintet
  • Kronos Quartet
  • New World String Quartet
  • Orford String Quartet
  • Philadelphia String Quartet
    1984-85

  • Kronos Quartet
  • Los Angeles Piano Quartet
  • Mendelssohn String Quartet
  • Muir String Quartet
  • Prague String Quartet
    1985-86

  • Calliope
  • Chester String Quartet
  • Colorado String Quartet
  • Mirecourt Trio
  • Prazak String Quartet
    1986-87

  • Boston Chamber Music Society
  • Chicago Brass Quintet
  • Concord Brass Quartet
  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Ridge String Quartet
    1987-88

  • American String Quartet
  • Ardeb Trio
  • Elly Ameling Recital
  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Takacs String Quartet
  • Waverly Consort
    1988-89

  • Buswell-Parnas-Luvisi Trio
  • Carmina Quartet
  • Fine Arts Quartet
  • Franciscan String Quartet
  • Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    1989-90

  • Cleveland Quartet
  • Guarneri String Quartet
  • Da Capo Chamber Players
  • Shostakovich String Quartet
  • Melos Quartet
    1990-91

  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Mendelssohn String Quartet
  • Musica Antiqua Koln
  • New World String Quartet
  • Nash Ensemble
    1991-92

  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Cuarteto Latinoamericano w/ Robert LaMarchina
  • Colorado Quartet
  • Beaux Arts Trio
    1992-93

  • Arcadian Academy
  • Lafayette String Quartet
  • Shanghai String Quartet
  • Juilliard String Quartet
  • Robert Holl, Bass-Baritone
    1993-94

  • Takacs Quartet
  • Vogler Quartet
  • Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio
  • Shostakovich String Quartet
  • American Brass Quintet
  • Alexander String Quartet
    1994-95

  • Skampa Quartet
  • Guarneri String Quartet
  • Orion String Quartet
  • Quartet Sine Nomine
  • Prazak Quartet
  • Borodin Piano Trio
    1995-96

  • Los Angeles Piano Quartet
  • Artis Quartet
  • St. Petersburg String Quartet
  • Shostakovich String Quartet
  • Angeles Quartet
    1996-97

  • Mendelssohn Quartet
  • Trio Fontenay
  • Keller Quartet
  • American Quartet
  • Vogler Quartet
  • Borodin Quartet
    1997-98

  • Shostakovich Quartet
  • Dorian Wind Quintet
  • Vermeer Quartet
  • Debussy Trio
    1998-99

  • Prazak Quartet
  • Ying Quartet
  • Eroica Trio
  • Palladian Ensemble
  • American String Quartet
    1999-00

  • Pacifica Quartet
  • David Finckel and Wu Han
  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Paris Piano Trio Plus Clarinet
  • Dunsmuir Piano Quartet
  • Stephen Salters
    2000-01

  • Orion String Quartet
  • Chanticleer
  • Juilliard String Quartet
  • St. Petersburg String Quartet
  • New York Chamber Soloists
    2001-02

  • New Zealand String Quartet
  • The Ying Quartet
  • Jacques Thibaud Trio
  • Borromeo String Quartet
  • The Peabody Trio
    2002-03

  • Amadeus Trio
  • Herold String Quartet
  • Aulos Ensemble
  • Takacs Quartet
  • St. Lawrence String Quartet
    2003-04

  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Mendelssohn String Quartet w/ Jonathan Biss, piano
  • Alcan String Quartet
  • Amsterdam Loeki Stardust
  • Colorado Quartet w/ Mary Hessigner, mezzo soprano
    2004-05

  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Concertante
  • Cypress String Quartet w/ Scott Anderson, clairenet
  • St. Petersburg String Quartet w/ Paul Galbraith, guitar
  • Beaux Arts Trio
    2005-06

  • Vogler Quartet with Ian Parker, piano
  • Osiris Piano Trio
  • Thomas Megliaranzo
  • Kronos Quartet
  • Belcea String Quartet
  • Brentano String Quartet w/ Mark Votapek, cello
    2006-07

  • L’ensemble Pennetier
  • Ying Quartet
  • Takács Quartet
  • Chanticleer
  • Richard Goode, pianist
  • Vermeer String Quartet
  • Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
    2007-08

  • Shanghai Quartet
  • Christopher O’Riley, pianist
  • Interpreti Venezia
  • Anonymous 4
  • Claremont Piano Trio
  • Parisii Quartet
    2008-09

  • Pacifica Quartet
  • Jupiter String Quartet
  • David Aaron Carpenter, violist
  • Leon Fleisher and Katherine Jacobsen Fleisher, pianists
  • The Peabody Trio and William Sharp, baritone
  • Zemlinsky String Quartet
    2009-10

  • Cavani String Quartet
  • Jonathan Korth & Friends
  • Tokyo String Quartet
  • Kalichstein, Laredo, Robinson Trio
  • Kuss String Quartet
    2010-11

  • Zemlinsky String Quartet
  • Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
  • Excelsior String Quartet
  • Takacs String Quartet w/ Joyce Yang, pianist
  • Iggy Jang and Friends–An Evening of Tango
    2011-12

  • Cavani String Quartet
  • Doric String Quartet
  • Carter Brey, cellist & Christopher O’Riley pianist
  • ATOS Piano Trio
  • Parker String Quartet
    2012-13

  • Trio Solisti
  • Brooklyn Rider Quartet with Kayhan Kalhor
  • Big Galut(e): Music of the Jewish Diaspora
  • Afiara String Quartet
  • Dawn Upshaw, Soprano and Gilbert Kalish, Piano
    2013-14

  • Escher String Quartet
  • Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
  • Ebene Quartet
  • Martin Beaver (Violin) and Kevin Fitz-Gerald (Piano)
  • Kyo-Shin-An Arts & the Cassatt Quartet
    2014-15

  • Morgenstern Trio
  • Zuill Bailey and Jonathan Korth
  • Big Galut(e)
  • eighth blackbird
  • Calder Quartet
  • New York Polyphony
    2015-16

  • Zemlinsky Quartet
  • San Francisco Conservatory Piano Trio
  • Kurt Muroki and Friends
  • Aizuri Quartet
  • Sarah Chang and Julio Elizalde
    2016-17

  • Time for Three
  • Dover String Quartet
  • Marc-André Hamelin
  • Eroica Trio
  • Camerata RCO