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Abiquiú home made for music

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Co-founders of chamber music group host summer concerts

Madeline Williamson and Birgitte Ginge are not only co-founders of Abiquiú Chamber Music but hosts at each of the summer season’s six concerts. Performances take place in the living room of their Abiquiú home.

“We had the house built with concerts in mind,” explained Williamson. “We started talking with the architects, Mark and Peter Anderson of San Francisco in 2003. The home was completed in 2006.”

A huge, gracious living room with walls of glass that open to decks that overlook the Chama River is the venue for Abiquiú Chamber Music, which is in its sixth season of operation. Taking place every other Sunday from June 9 through Aug. 18, the festival features contemporary music and classics from the chamber music repertoire.

“At first, I thought about presenting only contemporary music concerts but then decided to program classics and new music,” said Williamson, who was on the piano faculty at Arizona State University for 30 years and took early retirement to move to New Mexico. “I know a large network of players. My guest artists and I select repertoire together.”

If you go
WHAT: Abiquiú Chamber MusicWHEN: Today-Aug. 18 with an off-site production scheduled for Sept. 8, 2 p.m. every other Sunday

WHERE: Private home in Abiquiú. For detailed directions visit

HOW MUCH: $15 at or 505-685-0076

When Williamson and Ginge opened the doors to their first concert six years ago, they didn’t know what would happen. “I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up,” Williamson said. “As it turned out, 70 people showed up.”

Williamson and Ginge take reservations from up to 100 concert-goers, although they can accommodate additional audience members by opening up adjacent spaces.

Today’s concert features violinist Cármelo de los Santos and pianist Rúbia Santos in a performance of duo works by Claude Debussy, George Enescu, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Edmundo Villani-Cortes. De los Santos, who began his violin studies at the age of 9 in his native country of Brazil, came to the United States in 1997 to study with Sylvia Rosenberg at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is an associate professor of violin at the University of New Mexico.

Santos, who studied in Brazil, Germany and the United States, is a freelance musician who is a frequent soloist with orchestras and chamber music collaborator. She has taught master classes and workshops at universities around the world. Last season, she performed with singers Deborah Domanski and Javier Gonzales at Abiquiú Chamber Music.

“Occasionally we invite a musician to return to play during the next season, but most of the summer’s roster consists of musicians who are new to Abiquiú Chamber Music,” said Williamson. “At the close of last season we appointed Trio Arriba, which features violinist David Felberg, cellist Sally Guenther and pianist Conor Hanick, as the resident trio at Abiquiú Chamber Music. This means they will present one concert every summer.”

Trio Arriba performs works by Franz Schubert, Charles Ives and Ingrid Stozel on June 23. The July 7 concert, which features Guenther and pianist Robert McDonald, is already sold out.

For a complete listing of all concerts, visit the website at