For over a quarter century, CityMusic has worked to bring live chamber and world music to Columbus, creating unique experiences in uncommon settings and sharing the joy of live music with audiences.
CityMusic got its start in 1983 when Artistic Director and Founder Steve Rosenberg, in collaboration with community members, performed an informal concert with the Quantz Trio in the Short North Tavern on High Street. The non-traditional venue offered a uniquely casual, friendly environment and the concert was a standing-room-only success. Live chamber music became a regular occurrence at the Tavern and from there evolved into the CityMusic Chamber Music Series which was presented in the space for seventeen years. From the Short North Tavern, the Series moved to the historic Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus and recently has taken up residence in the Grand Ballroom of the Athletic Club of Columbus
The series has received national recognition, including a feature article in Chamber Music magazine, for its innovative approach to presenting chamber music. Artists who have appeared in the Chamber Music Series include Paul Galbraith, the Jacque Thibaud String Trio, Cavani String Quartet, Stas Venglevski, and the Polonsky family.
CityMusic (formerly the Short North Performing Arts Association, Inc.) received non-profit status in 1987 and two years later expanded its offerings to include the World Music Series, designed to be a musical celebration of ethnic and cultural diversity. The World Music Series is the only Central Ohio series devoted exclusively to presenting the best in traditional and contemporary world and folk music.
The Columbus Dispatch lauded the series for “consistently presenting the finest in folk music spanning the world.” In 1995 the Greater Columbus Arts Council nominated the series for its Artistic Excellence Award, citing CityMusic’s “innovation and risk….as well as artistic merit.” Artists who have appeared in the World Music Series include Odetta, Jay Unger & Molly Mason, Tarika, Cherish the Ladies, Altan, the Klezmatics, Catie Curtis, Vusi Mahlasela, Lila Downs, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Natalie MacMaster.