The December 7, 2010 concert by the Mason Chamber Orchestra marked the ensemble’s debut concert performance in its recently re-established form as a full-fledged chamber orchestra, capable of performing even the most demanding chamber orchestral works
Over the many years since the founding of the Department of Music, and now the School of Music, the presentation of a fully-constituted Chamber Orchestra has been a goal that has been difficult to achieve, given the many conflicting ensemble demands and the difficulties of scheduling our instrumentalists amongst the many and varied ensembles throughout the School’s diverse disciplines.
All this changed in the Fall semester of 2010, thanks to a grant from the McCarthy Family Foundation, which created the first credited ensemble to be completely underwritten by a dedicated scholarship fund. As part of the regular Symphony Orchestra audition process in September, every member of the Chamber Orchestra was also nominated as a McCarthy Foundation Scholar and thus awarded a scholarship for their participation in the Chamber Orchestra.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Chamber Orchestra performed a wide variety of music: for the dedication of the Donald and Nancy de Laski Performing Arts Building in September; for the October performances of “A Tribute to the Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber” with the Mason Opera company; for the December Mason Opera production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and closed out the Fall semester with a December concert performance of two of the masterpieces of the chamber orchestra repertoire: Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13, featuring graduate pianist Jihae Lim.
Founded in 1999 by Debra and Kevin McCarthy, the McCarthy Family Foundation has adopted as its primarily goals the support of youth and student music programs, locally in the Fairfax and Burke communities principally through church music programs, and now through the GMU Foundation and the Friends of Music for the benefit of the School of Music. The Foundation also supports programs for the benefit of wounded warriors through the Wounded Warrior Project.