Communication is Key in Chamber Music Madness | CWU Public Affairs

Photo courtesy John Michel, Skyline Studio

By: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell
Posted: July 18, 2011

“String quartets are a very special genre in music,” said Tim Betts, violist for the Kairos Quartet and artistic director for Chamber Music Madness. “The quartet is a democratic entity—there is no conductor—and each player shares an equal role in interpreting a composition. For the performers to play well together, clear, non-verbal communication is essential.”

Hence the visit to CWU’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, where the musicians will be able to experience chimpanzees with sign language skills communicating with their human caretakers. In addition, students will take an acting workshop with opera singer Tor Blaisdell and learn folk dancing from the Irish step dance performers, the Gothard Sisters.

“Musicians tend to get focused on music, so we throw in other artistic endeavors or activities to put the creative process in perspective,” continued Betts.

But make no mistake, the students, mostly high school and college students, will be immersed in music. The Lyceum includes 25 hours of faculty-led rehearsal and coaching, 16 hours of unsupervised student-led rehearsals, up to15 hours of individual practice, three student concerts and two festival concerts. Students also receive unmatched, one-on-one instruction from the quartet members and guest artists.

The general public will be able to enjoy some chamber music madness at the Faculty Concert, which features the Kairos Quartet with guest artists Nikolas Caoile, Melanie Conly, Rebecca Darnall, Peter Longworth and Melissa Scheil at 7 p.m., July 19. On July 22, a concert will feature the Chamber Music Madness/Kairos Lyceum Chamber Orchestra, Kairos Quartet, and guest pianist Longworth at 7 p.m. On July 23, there will be a Lyceum Student Finale Concert, which will feature all the Chamber Music Madness/Kairos Lyceum student quartets at 2 p.m. All concerts are free and will be performed in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building Recital Hall on Central’s Ellensburg campus.

“I hope our students will enjoy a lifelong appreciation of music, something that will always enrich their lives, whether they continue in music professionally or not,” said Betts. “And since there’s a perception that classical music is somehow not relevant, I’d like the audience to come away realizing there’s something very special about this music.”

Click here for more information about the Chamber Music Madness/Kairos Lyceum.

About the Kairos Quartet

Comprised of violinists Carrie Rehkopf and Heather Netz, violist Tim Betts, and cellist John Michel, the Kairos String Quartet is recognized as one of the premier chamber ensembles in the Pacific Northwest. The quartet holds an endowed residency at Central Washington University—where all four members also teach—affording the group a degree of stability that is unusual in the chamber music world.


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