About the Center for Chamber Music

The Center for Chamber Music at 601 Union in downtown Seattle.

Seattle Chamber Music Society opened the new Center for Chamber Music in March 2020 at the corner of Sixth and Union in the heart of downtown Seattle. This first-of-its-kind space was the visionary project of Artistic Director James Ehnes. In partnership with our community of donors and patrons, we completed our $5M campaign, ensuring SCMS has a beautiful new space to call home.

Seattle Chamber Music Society has always been a special place. There is a comradery that grows out of the rehearsal process, sharing social time and meals together, and connecting with the dedicated and knowledgeable Seattle audience on-stage and in the lobby. The new Center for Chamber Music brings all of this together in a space that allows us to expand programming from our current Festivals to offer events year-round that will deepen this connection, as well as encourage new audiences to discover this captivating form of classical music.

James Ehnes, Gilbert Omenn and Martha Darling Artistic Director

PURPOSE BUILT

When we were informed that the building housing our administrative offices would be torn down, we took the opportunity to expand into a space that brought together the artistic and administrative functions of the organization for the very first time. The Center was a studs-out remodel to transform what was formerly Marco’s Hair Salon into a purpose-built facility that houses three rehearsal spaces, our administrative offices, and an accessible box office.

THE HEART OF THE CENTER

Within the Center, the Dr. Kennan Hollingsworth Living Room is the central hub of the musical activity for the musicians and patrons. With a superb acoustic, the largest room in the Center is perfect for rehearsals, as well as a 60-seat concert hall for recitals, lectures, master classes, films, and watch parties.

Dr. Kennan Hollingsworth Living Room

This past summer, the Living Room served as our studio for the Virtual Summer Festival. With strict testing and health protocols, we were able to ensure the safety of our musicians and staff. Working closely with a sound technician and a videography team, we filmed 12 concerts that had more than 15,000 views from patrons in Seattle and around the world, making ours one of the only Festivals to continue uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside the Living Room is the Toby Saks Memorial Sheet Music Library. This resource for the musicians allows them to review different versions of scores, compare markings from past performances, and serve as a study library with over 1,250 unique scores available.

A view of the Toby Saks Music Library

A SPACE FOR MUSIC

The Center features two other rehearsal rooms that allow multiple groups to prepare for a concert simultaneously. Looking out over the corner of Sixth and Union, the Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs Rehearsal Room is a light-filled, airy space large enough for a piano quartet or string quartet to rehearse. Currently the piano of Toby Saks, our founder, is housed in the space. This piano has been used in Festival rehearsals since 1982 and will become the main piano for use in the Center once our concert piano can return to Benaroya Hall.

Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs Rehearsal Room

The doors of this rehearsal room open wide, connecting with the Diana K. Carey Gallery, where patrons will enter the building, and the James F. Roark, Jr. MD Lobby offering generous room for patrons in the space before events or during intermissions.

A panorama view showing the Diana K. Carey Gallery (left) and the James F. Roark, Jr. MD Lobby (right)

The third rehearsal space, the James Ehnes Rehearsal Room a gift of James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young, can comfortably hold a string trio, serve as a green room before performances, act as a score study space for musicians, or function as Artistic Director James Ehnes’ office while in Seattle.

James Ehnes Rehearsal Room a gift of James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young

OUR BOX OFFICE

The Center, situated in the heart of the busy downtown corridor, offers patrons a new walk-up box office. This provides working professionals, residents, and tourists with convenient access to purchase subscriptions and single tickets for upcoming Festivals and the year-round programming that will take place in the Center.

Box Office entrance

CENTER FOR CHAMBER MUSIC FACTS:

  • Opened in March 2020
  • Designed by Bassetti Architects
  • 3,800 sq. ft.
  • Rehearsal and performance spaces:
    • Kennan Hollingsworth Living Room (60-person seating capacity)
    • Patricia Tall-Takacs and Gary Takacs Rehearsal Room (also serves as lobby overflow)
    • James Ehnes Rehearsal Room (multi-purpose space)
  • Diana K. Carey Gallery, public event entrance that will feature a rotating collection of artworks
  • James F. Roark Jr., MD Lobby, home of the Center’s Donor Wall recognizing donors of $5,000+ that supported the Capital Campaign and Endowment to build the Center
  • Toby Saks Memorial Sheet Music Library a resource containing more than 1,250 scores
  • Catering Kitchen to provide musician meals and food/drinks for public events
  • 2 non-gendered restrooms
  • Extensive storage space for tables, chairs, and other administrative needs
  • 8 staff workstations for full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff members
  • A walk-up Box Office to sell tickets for SCMS events at the Center and Festivals located in Benaroya Hall’s Nordstrom Recital Hall

View our press release announcing the completion of our campaign for the Center for Chamber Music.