The chamber music composer is like "the painter who shades and colors a picture destined to be viewed at close range much more delicately than, for example, a ceiling painting, which is far removed from the eye, and in which these details would not only be lost, but might even weaken the effect of the whole."
–Heinrich Christoph Koch (1749-1816) German theorist and violinist.
Founded on the belief that artworks are the principal recorded sources of humankind’s conscious awareness, Helicon's mission is to enrich the understanding of music's role in Western culture by exploring music in a historically informed context.
Helicon pursues this goal through
- original programs
- discussion, spoken word, and written materials exploring the subject matter
- development of a committed group of musicians and audience members
- exploration of historical interpretive techniques and instruments
- scholarship and education
- intimate setting that enhances the chamber music experience
Helicon's core activity is the production of an annual series of four pairs of chamber music Symposiums, each centering on a specific musical or cultural point of interest and addressing it with the finest musical performances in a historically informed context.
The experience of Helicon Symposiums is enhanced by discussion and social interaction. Over its 37 year history, Helicon has produced 134 Symposiums (and 8 Video Symposiums in 2020-2021), from which have arisen public concerts and commercial recordings to further disseminate the insights gained through the Symposiums.
Helicon Symposiums take place in the intimate, oak-lined music room of a 1917 Townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Centuries of chamber music was written to be performed in such a space where a performer's every musical nuance, every interpretive subtlety is communicated to the audience.
Helicon maintains the intimacy necessary for chamber music to speak its natural language by presenting its Symposiums to audiences of no more than 100. Our unique Membership structure allows Helicon to present its Symposiums on an intimate scale and with an international scope.