75th Season Commission

Click here donate $75 to support the 75th Season Commission 


Samuel Barber and Karl Haas, 1955Back in 1954, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit was fast approaching its first big milestone anniversary: its Tenth Season.  In one of the greatest stories of its long history, the CMSD chose to celebrate the occasion by commissioning a new work from the great American composer Samuel Barber.  To fund the commission, founding CMSD President Karl Haas came up with the creative idea of a public subscription, inviting the Chamber Music Society’s audience to contribute what they could to raise the money to pay Mr. Barber’s fee.

The project was a huge success.  Karl Haas recalled, “My joy was being stopped in the street by people who had given me two bucks. ‘When am I going to hear my piece?’ they’d ask.”  In March 1956 an ensemble of Detroit Symphony principal musicians premiered Barber’s new “Summer Music” to a packed house in the Lecture Hall at the Detroit Institute of Arts, filled with the subscribers who had supported the 10th Anniversary Composer Commission and gathered to hear the first-ever performance of “their piece.”  


Fast-forward to 2019: in honor of our 75th Season, the Chamber Music Society is commissioning "Trading Fours" a new work by composer and violinist Jessie Montgomery for her own Catalyst Quartet, along with the Dover, Harlem and Attacca Quartets, all of whom will join pianist Leon Fleischer for the season finale concert at Orchestra Hall on May 12, 2019.

Like our 10th Anniversary Commission, we will make Jessie’s new work “our piece” by inviting special contributions of $75 to the Chamber Music Society of Detroit from our audience members and contributors to support the commission.  If desired, one or more additional $75 contributions may honor past members of the CSMD audience, but please note that only one name (or couple) can be listed in the program per $75 contribution. 

Please help us make this special 75th Anniversary Commission as big a success as our first one!