Artistic Director
David Deveau

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A Permanent Home for the Festival

Rockport Chamber Music Festival is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished chamber music festivals in the United States. Praised for its exhilarating performances and imaginative programming, the Festival presents a series of 16 concerts each June often sold out in advance by internationally known ensembles and soloists. Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Deveau since 1995, the Festival has grown steadily in quality, attendance, and national reputation.

While the Festival has been fortunate to present concerts in the Hibbard Gallery at the Rockport Art Association for the past 25 years, the need for additional seating, full air conditioning, handicap accessibility, and modern concert amenities has been apparent to audiences and musicians for some time.

A year-round, permanent home at the Festival Center will allow the Festival to expand the current chamber music season, repeat popular concerts, host larger musical ensembles, and present a wider variety of musical events, including:

  • Jazz series
  • World music performances
  • Young Performers Series
  • Children's concerts

The new venue will also allow greater focus on educational outreach programs, a core component of the Festival mission. Plans include an expanded music lecture series, workshops, master classes with visiting artists, and an artist-in-residence program. The very popular annual Family Concert series can also be expanded.

An Extraordinary Setting...
An Extraordinary Opportunity

In the summer of 2005, the Haskins building unique on Cape Ann because of its size, location and historic setting was put up for sale. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Main Street in Rockport, this property lies at the heart of one of the country's oldest art colonies, an area steeped in the rich past of coastal New England village life. Since the late 19th century, when its third floor was used for public "sociables" and musical evenings, the Haskins building has played an important role in Rockport's cultural, economic, and civic life.

The Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which has been seeking a permanent home for more than seven years, explored the possibilities of the Haskins site, and soon a wider vision took shape. Here was an extraordinary opportunity to create not only a permanent venue for Festival concerts, but a performance center with an exceptional small concert hall that would draw the finest musicians from around the world. The center would be a cultural resource for the greater Boston community, hosting a variety of performances, educational programs, and civic and social events year round in short, it would become a destination venue.

Our Vision for the Festival Center

The design of the new Festival Center will honor the optimism and energy of the original Haskins building and its historic Main Street context. The architects' goal is to preserve the best of the ambiance for which the Festival is known, in a setting that reflects the character and roots of the community. At its heart will be a superb small concert hall, acoustically engineered to meet the highest expectations of the musicians who perform there and the audiences who come to hear them.

The design for the Center includes:

  • An intimate concert hall, with a balcony and comfortable seating for approximately 325 people
  • A modular stage to accommodate ensembles and performances of various sizes
  • Multi-purpose space for classes, rehearsals, meetings, lectures
  • Ocean-front reception space for social, civic, and corporate gatherings
  • Musicians' green room and practice space
  • Catering kitchen
  • Full air-conditioning and heating system
  • ADA handicap accessibility, with an elevator

A Community Resource

An essential part of our vision for the Festival Center is its role as a lively, year-round community resource and as an unusually inviting arts destination an invigorating force for the cultural and business life of Cape Ann. As a unique regional venue, the Center will offer opportunities to local arts, business, social, and civic groups. Community partnerships and events we envision are:

  • Performance, rehearsal, and educational programs for local public schools
  • Public meetings and lectures
  • Small-scale choral, theatrical and dance performances
  • Rehearsals and recitals by community music groups
  • Children's theater productions
  • A film series
  • Social and business events
  • Exhibitions featuring area artists and photographers

The Design Team

Alan Joslin, of Epstein Joslin Architects of Cambridge will be Principal-in-Charge of the conversion of the building. R. Lawrence Kirkegaard of Chicago, an internationally known acoustician for concert hall and performance spaces, will oversee the acoustic design. Joslin and Kirkegaard, collaborators on music venues for over 17 years, both played key roles in the design of Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox. Also contributing to the design of the building will be project management, civil engineering, interior design, and theater design consultants.


All Watercolor Images:           Architectural Illustrator: F.M. Constantino           Architect: Epstein Joslin Architects