Five Boroughs Music Festival Comes To Queens

Staff Writer

This month, a chamber music celebration will return to Queens, as part of a Citywide showcase.

The Five Boroughs Music Festival will feature chamber music performances in Queens during January and March. The festival is meant to bring affordable, world-class chamber music to every borough in the City, rather than sticking to Manhattan, where those types of performances are more widespread.

Five Boroughs Music Festival is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to showing performances of traditional and contemporary chamber music in the hopes of cultivating a new audience for the genre. Artistic director Jesse Blumberg founded the group in 2007, and it has put on more than 30 shows since then.

“The impetus was to break away from the Manhattan-centric attitude of classical music,” executive director Donna Breitzer said. “The mission is to encourage New Yorkers to explore their own City and to bring this music to underserved neighborhoods that don’t have as many cultural resources as Manhattan.”

The first featured artist for the festival this year will be Trio Cavatina, which will perform at Flushing Town Hall on Jan. 12 at 3 p.m. Pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, violinist Harumi Rhodes and cellist Priscilla Lee will perform pieces by Beethoven and Brahms, along with a New York premiere by Douglas Boyce.

Two months later, French baroque group Les Délices will perform in Jamaica, at King Manor Museum. The band will make its Five Boroughs Music Festival debut and will use the opportunity to play a new program, “Conversations galantes,” in New York City for the first time. That concert takes place on March 14 at 6:30 p.m.

“From the beginning, we were interested in exploring chamber music of all varieties,” Breitzer said. “It really comes down to the quality of the musicians, the artists and the music and the interest-aspect of the programming.”

Besides recruiting a variety of artists, Five Boroughs Music Festival likes to book their shows in many different venues that best showcase the music and the surrounding community. The festival has been at Flushing Town Hall a few times before, but the Jamaica show will be the first at King Manor Museum.

“They’re just fantastic, fantastic ensembles. We hope they enjoy meeting these artists,” Breitzer said. “We hope people explore new neighborhoods they haven’t seen before.”

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @Joey788.