Our Story

Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble, Inc., "delivered a meticulous, absolutely chilling, transcendent performance" (NY Music Daily, 2017). Described as “concert bliss” & “exhilaration” (SI Advance 3/09), “sonic perfection” (AWE, SI Advance, 8/30/07) and “breaking the rules to bring the love of classical music to the next generation” (Ben Johnson, SI Advance, 10/4/07), has been contributing to the classical music landscape with concerts that have brought audiences closer to the beauty of chamber music since 2004. MCCE’s community-based approach to arts includes The Roaring Chorus, a free choral program for seniors in partnership with the NYPL; afterschool music instruction for elementary and intermediate school children; and a free concert series for the developmentally disabled individuals at Lifestyles for the Disabled and Heartshare Human Services of NY. 

MCCE is Staten Island’s only intact classical chamber music ensemble, and is the only local organization dedicated to cultivating audiences across Staten Island through residency projects, season long concert series, recording activities, and composer-in-residence initiatives. MCCE believes in making a connection with our listeners even before a single note is played. Known for eclectic, genre-bending programs that stand classical alongside jazz & Broadway together with world music and rock, MCCE’s repertoire includes both classical and contemporary chamber music and regularly features premieres by local and international composers.

Signature performances to date include concerts featuring MCCE’s American commissions and premieres; “Precious Metals” - a Russian music and poetry event; “Art of the Fugue” by J.S. Bach and “Even This is Paradise” by Andrew Sterman which is based on an 8th century Tibetan text of the same name; amongst others. MCCE’s annual concert season series on Saturday evenings is a collaborative effort with the Staten Island Museum, where MCCE has been the chamber ensemble-in-residence since 2004.

Contemporary music is an important element in MCCE’s culture and philosophy. MCCE has been responsible for the creation of multiple commissions and premieres including from Laura Kaminsky (Symphony Space), Andrew Sterman (Philip Glass Ensemble), Mick Rossi (Carly Simon & Paul Simon), Randall Bauer, Matt McBane, Sanchie Bobrow, J. Brunka and Andrew Rosciszewski. MCCE strives for the public to experience the very best of the classical art form - its past, present and future. Presenting the works of living composers alongside the great masters and those who are less known allows MCCE to showcase how we envision chamber music and exhibit the potential the classical form has to expand.

Since our inception, MCCE has presented over 75 concerts; created an educational curriculum for children and teens that highlights the intersection between chamber music, literature & visual art; hosted masterclasses for pre-professional students; participated in multiple residencies with organizations across the tri-state area; and impacted over 12,000 audience members. In addition to MCCE’s community-based concert programming, MCCE also instructs The Roaring Chorus, a free, instructional choral program for seniors in partnership with the New York Public Library and Lifetime Arts, teaches educational music programs via the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Cultural After School Adventures Program, cultivates a concert series for the developmentally disabled individuals at On Your Mark, Lifestyles for the Disabled and Heartshare Human Services of NY and has branched off Staten Island to give performances in Manhattan and beyond.

MCCE's awards include the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant (2012 & 2010); New Music USA Cary New Music Fund (2012 & 2011); Chamber Music America Residency Partnership (2009); Excellence in the Arts Award from COAHSI (2009), AWE Reader’s Poll for “Best Classical Music Act” (2007); inclusion in WNYC's Salute the ARTs initiative (2006); and Chamber Music America’s Artist Member Spotlights (2005), among others. MCCE has performed at locations across Staten Island and Manhattan, including Symphony Space, St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, Flushing Public Library, the Solar 1 Music Festival, multiple branches of the New York Public Library, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, Holy Child Church, SI Jewish Community Center and the Staten Island Museum.

MCCE's 2017-18 Concert Season and related programs are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; additional support provided, in part, by NYC Councilmember Deborah Rose, Northfield Bank Foundation, Con Edison, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the Staten Island Museum, and through donations of generous individuals.