Fourteen years ago, the Columbia Museum of Art decided to offer a new way for Columbia to appreciate art in all its forms.
The result was Chamber on Main, now a critically acclaimed chamber concert series set in the museum’s DuBose-Poston Reception Hall. Since its inception, Chamber on Main has featured world-renowned chamber artists and, since its seventh season, has been led by artistic director and cellist Edward Arron.
“Since Eddie took the reigns in the fall of 2009, he has played with the repertoire a bit,” said museum deputy director Joelle Ryan-Cook. “He is well known for introducing new composers and new work into the series. He creates a great balance between familiar works and works from 20th- and 21st-century composers. Thanks to that alternative classic mix, Chamber on Main now draws a dedicated and diverse group of fans who know they will get something different at each performance.”
In fact, the series draws between 250 and 300 people to each performance. The series has seen so much success, in fact, that CMA introduced a new concert series – Jazz on Main – under the direction of internationally known band leader Noel Freidline.
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“Jazz on Main draws an interesting audience because there’s a little bit of crossover from the Chamber on Main audience, but mostly, it’s a different audience – it’s an audience that is hungry for a show like that but one that isn’t as formal as it would be at the Koger Center, but also isn’t as casual as a jazz performance at a bar,” said Ryan-Cook, noting that for Jazz on Main, the performance room transforms into more of a cafelike environment.
Tickets to both concert series are $35 per person ($28 for museum members).
To encourage attendance of younger music lovers, tickets for students of any age – preschool to college – are only $5.
On Friday, Jan. 29, Chamber on Main will feature Jeewon Park on piano, Romie de Guise-Langlois on clarinet and Arron on cello and will include performances of “Autumn” and “Spring” from Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires;” Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano; and Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat Major, Opus 11.
Happy hour and galleries open at 6 p.m., with the concert starting at 7. The Chamber on Main series will have two more shows this season:
▪ A Tuesday, March 8 performance featuring Christopher O’Riley on piano, Tessa Lark on violin and Arron on cello.
▪ A Tuesday, April 26 performance featuring Aaron Boyd and Jesse Mills on violin, Dimitri Murrath on viola and Arron on cello.
Jazz on Main will close out its second full season Friday, March 25, when Denver-based jazz saxophonist and flutist Nelson Rangell joins the Noel Freidline Trio for an evening of contemporary and straight jazz.
Both series have been a great complement to the overall mission of the museum, Ryan-Cook said.
“Rarely is one art form created in a vacuum; it is a product of its time and culture. By presenting live performances from world-renowned musicians, the CMA is able to provide additional context for the work in our collection and exhibitions,” Ryan-Cook said.
“The work we do every day is about creating connections, piquing curiosity and inspiring discussion for our visitors and community, and what better way to do that than to demonstrate what was happening in the larger art world during a particular time period or movement in the arts.”
A Tuesday night on Main
Chamber on Main events typically end around 9:30 p.m., according to Ryan-Cook, allowing attendees plenty of time to enjoy an evening on Main Street (Jazz on Main usually ends closer to 11 p.m.). Here’s where to head after the show for a full evening on Main Street.
Catch a late dinner at The Oak Table (open until 11 p.m. weeknights) at the corner of Main and Gervais streets, where you can catch a view of the Capitol building while enjoying American cuisine featuring locally sourced, seasonal products prepared by Chef Todd Wood. From starters like pimento cheese, fried oysters and a housemade charcuterie board, to entrees such as South Carolina sea bass, whole fried lobster and a certified Angus beef ribeye, you won’t leave hungry.
For a nightcap and some heavy appetizers, head to Bourbon whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant, just steps from the Capitol building at 1214 Main St. in the historic Brennen Building. The restaurant’s late-night menu (it is open until midnight Monday-Thursday) features a Bayou burger, pork belly tacos and a sloppy Joe unlike any other.
Hampton Street Vineyard is the place to head for late-night desserts and a glass of wine. Choose chocolate pots du creme, French vanilla bean creme brulee or deconstructed s’mores to complement a glass of one of the 650 bottles of wine featured on the menu (a list that has earned the establishment a Wine Spectator Magazine’s Best Award of Excellence since 1997).