The second-oldest chamber music organization in the United States began modestly in the basement of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Three women attended an informal concert at the church by a quartet of off-duty theater musicians and came away impressed with the quality of the music-making. Emily Gray Hamlin, Evelyn Choate and Mrs. Carlos Alden resolved to create an organization devoted to symphonic and chamber concerts. They formed the Buffalo Symphony Society, drew up a plan, raised funds and began organizing concerts.

The first chamber performance took place March 12, 1924 in the ballroom of the newly built Hotel Statler. First- chair players from the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra performed quartets by Mozart and Schubert. A soprano and contralto sang duets of Schumann and Brahms. Although the first concerts presented local musicians, the new chamber organization soon brought in its first world-class group, the famous Flonzaley Quartet, an ensemble that dramatically raised the level of professionalism of the string quartet, serving as a forerunner of today's full-time chamber ensembles.

flonzaley quartet
Flonzaley Quartet 1924
flonzaley quartet
Jacques Thibaud & Harold Bauer 1926


  • Ansie Baird, president
  • Paul Homer, vice-president
  • Morton Abramson, treasurer
  • Jill Buerk
  • Peter Curtis
  • Jonathan Golove
  • Richard Gordon
  • Katka Hammond
  • Robert Hausmann
  • Marjorie Lord
  • Rebecca Torres
  • Robert Prokes