About the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society

Instruments from the Smithsonian Chamber Music SocietyThe mission of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society (SCMS) is to use the priceless treasures of the Smithsonian’s collection of musical instruments to offer the public unique experiences and insights into the Western classical music of the past 400 years. SCMS’s founding vision was, in the words of then-Smithsonian Secretary Dillon Ripley, to "take the instruments out of their cases and make them sing.”

Since 1976, the Society’s interactive exhibitions and concerts (performed by world-renowned artists using historically informed performance practices) have brought the instruments to life for hundreds of thousands in the Washington area, while tours, broadcasts, and recordings have brought SCMS performances to millions of people all over the world. SCMS education programs, publications and research support professional development for young performers and offer learners of all ages thought-provoking explorations of the cultural contexts in which the composers and instrument makers presented worked.