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Arts & Life

Kansas City's Friends of Chamber Music Founder Steps Down After More Than Four Decades

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courtesy: Friends of Chamber Music
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Friends of Chamber Music launched a series of online programming, called Chamber Music Now, with performances, including one featuring 'Virtuoso Violins.'

Friends of Chamber Music started in 1975 as a series of house concerts, including performances by pianist Cynthia Siebert. Now, Siebert has resigned from the organization she founded.

Cynthia Siebert, the president and artistic director of Friends of Chamber Music who founded the organization more than four decades ago, has stepped down.

The board of directors on Tuesday announced Siebert's departure from the organization in a statement.

"We are grateful to Cynthia for her vision and dedication in creating the Friends of Chamber Music in 1976 and for her stewardship over more than four decades," said the statement. It included the names of all the board members and was signed by chair Nancy Lee Kemper.

"She turned an intimate series of concerts in private homes into an internationally acclaimed chamber music series," the statement said.

Under Siebert's leadership, Friends of Chamber Music has introduced some of the world's finest musicians to Kansas City with its bookings of quartets and small ensembles. An accomplished pianist and teacher, Siebert often performed with the series in its early years.

The Folly Theater in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, hosted many of the organization's performances.

"On their tenth Anniversary, they moved to the Folly Theater and have continued to present a world-class Chamber Music Series in our theater – for 36 years!," said the Folly's executive director Gale Tallis in an email. "Cynthia created and nurtured this amazing series through the years, and the Folly has been proud to be part of its growth."

The board had been working with Siebert, according to the statement, to plan the 45th anniversary season, "charting our future and developing a plan for leadership succession."

But, the statement went on to say that the "challenges of COVID-19 over the past year have seriously impacted arts organizations and accelerated the need to define our post-pandemic future."

It adds, "We wish Cynthia the very best and are confident the Friends of Chamber Music is well poised to honor her legacy."

Siebert and board members were not available Wednesday for comment.

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