Artistic Director
David Deveau

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History of the Festival

Inspired by Rockport’s rich artistic heritage and spectacular seaside setting, the Festival was founded in 1981 by two musicians, pianist-composer David Alpher and soprano Lila Deis, and Paul Sylva, a Rockport businessman. The founders’ goal was to create an exciting chamber music series in one of the nation’s oldest and most vital art colonies—home to many well-known contemporary artists and a favorite haunt, in the early part of the 20th century, of renowned painters such as Winslow Homer, Harrison Cady, and Childe Hassam.

Since its inception, the Festival has presented soloists and chamber ensembles of international reputation, performing a repertoire from the standard to the little known, from the 17th century to recently commissioned works, including several world premieres.

Appropriately, the Rockport Art Association, which was formed in the 1920s to give artists an opportunity to support and exhibit one another’s work, has been the setting and gracious host of the Festival’s concerts since its premiere season in 1982. The Art Association’s Hibbard Gallery, chosen for its relaxed ambiance and connection with Rockport’s long artistic heritage, has proven to be an ideal site for presenting chamber music—acoustically as well as visually.

In October 1995, the Festival welcomed the acclaimed concert pianist and chamber musician David Deveau as its Artistic Director. Building on the Festival’s tradition of quality musicianship and innovative programming, Mr. Deveau has continued to expand the list of outstanding artists that have performed in Rockport.

In the 1997 Season, Mr. Deveau inaugurated the Rockport Chamber Music Festival Emerging Artists program, presenting talented young musicians at the very beginning of their professional careers.

Festival concerts have been broadcast in the greater Boston area on WBUR, WGBH, and WCRB; nationally on National Public Radio’s “Performances Today”; and on commercial stations on the nationally syndicated program “Traditions.” Internationally, the Festival has been featured on Voice of America.