It was in 1966 that James Bolle brought musicians from the big cities to make recordings and play a few concerts in the quiet Nelson Meeting House. People who happened to hear a concert dragged their friends to the next one or one the next year. No one could quite believe that musical performance of such high caliber was flourishing in this rural corner of New Hampshire. Astonishingly it did, and these days nearly 100 musicians from all over the US and abroad perform in over 30 concerts in eighteen towns all around the Monadnock region.
A strong commitment to the performance of contemporary music, particularly by young American composers, met at first with resistance from audiences but has won ever-increasing acceptance. Composers Aaron Copland, Frederic Rzewski, Tobias Picker, Sheree Clement, Joan Tower, John Adams, Roger Sessions, Marilyn Ziffrin, Louise Talma, Elliott Carter, and Charles Wuorinen are among those who have been on hand to hear, play, coach and/or conduct their works.
In 1986, Monadnock Music embarked on "Lend an Ear!”, an innovative project of bringing chamber music to young people. A pilot program, funded in part by the Putnam Foundation and the Merrill Foundation, was the first stage in a plan to bring small ensembles of brass, string and woodwind players to as many schools in the region as possible. Twenty one schools were able to take advantage of the program in the 2012-13 school year.
Monadnock Music is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Gil Rose.
Monadnock Music continues to develop and expand its artistic and educational programs in keeping with its dedication to the region and the many communities that it serves. Now in its 51st season, Monadnock Music has been a stable and integral part of the cultural life of the New Hampshire and the Monadnock region and has remained firmly attached to its original goal of combining music of the highest quality with community service.