Introduction to Yellow Barn

Yellow Barn, an international center for chamber music, encourages discovery in the studio, classroom, and concert hall; explores the craft of musical interpretation; and illuminates our world through the unique experience of music. Twice awarded the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, Yellow Barn’s approach to lifelong education for musicians and audiences, commitment to quality and a unique philosophy, and programs that focus listeners in new ways, set it apart from any other chamber music center in this country.

Based in Putney, Vermont with a national agenda and an international presence, Yellow Barn draws young professional musicians from the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Seth Knopp, participants in Yellow Barn’s summer festival explore music spanning a wide range of eras and genres alongside faculty members who are among the most highly regarded performers and pedagogues of our time. One of those faculty members spoke for the entire community when he said, “Yellow Barn is an artistic center of gravity for me.”

In addition, Yellow Barn has created and established:

  • the Artist Residencies, which is the first retreat program in the country for performing musicians;
  • the Young Artists Program for performers and composers ages 13-20, known for the collaborative creation and performance of 12 new works each session;
  • collaborations with “Yellow Barns” in other fields, notably Music From Yellow Barn perfomances at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas;
  • and partnerships that transform typical business practices, including a relationship with the Greenwood School for boys ages 12-18 with learning differences.

Yellow Barn Music Haul is the broadest interpretation of Yellow Barn’s mission. The first self-contained traveling stage of its kind, Yellow Barn Music Haul redefines what a concert hall can be. It brings music to grammar schools and conservatories, urban neighborhoods and arts districts, city lots and open fields. It plays for people regardless of their experience with or knowledge of music, their attention captured in the unexpected moment. With Yellow Barn Music Haul we realize music’s fundamental purpose, and inherent ability, to communicate in ways that defy definition and move us without explanation.

In 1969, cellist David Wells and pianist Janet Wells founded Yellow Barn as an informal summer retreat for David's students at the Manhattan School of Music. The Wellses' neighbors embraced this vibrant addition to their community, which was named by a participant for the color of the Wellses' farm house, cooking meals for the musicians and organizing concerts for the town. Over the ensuing decades Yellow Barn has evolved into one of the finest chamber music training and performance centers in the world.

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