About us

Founded by pianists Willa and William Doppmann in Tacoma, Washington in 1977, the Second City Chamber Series is dedicated to the performance of chamber music masterworks, both old and new. Each year, the Series brings together many of the Northwest’s finest musicians to perform interesting, challenging and entertaining chamber music in an artfully assembled series of programs for an ever-expanding Puget Sound audience. Through the music, thoughtful program notes, and gracious and intimate settings, Second City Chamber Series seeks both to enrich and delight music lovers of all ages.

Led by Artistic Director Svend Rønning, Second City Chamber Series concerts often combine well-known works of the classical masters with the lesser-known works of modern composers. This deliberate, artistic combination of the old and the new creates a unique and stimulating musical experience.

What is Chamber Music?

The history and tradition of chamber music reaches back over 300 years, beginning with early Baroque composers such as Rameau, Telemann and Bach. It flourished in the 18th-19th centuries, while the 20th century brought growing experimentation with more unusual combinations of instruments.

The usual definition of chamber music is music performed in an intimate setting and written for a small instrumental ensemble, one player per part. Chamber music stresses personal expression and conversation among players, rather than virtuosic display or leadership by a conductor. Each member is responsible for a close musical dialogue with the rest of the ensemble. It is the ultimate in collaboration.

Chamber music is frequently the last musical genre to be “discovered” by performers and listeners alike. However, with experience, players and audience members begin to revel in the subtleties and refinements of chamber music, finding joy in its very smallness and intimacy, and in its unique powers of expression. Some of history’s greatest composers chose chamber music as the medium in which to express their most profound and intimate musical thoughts.

Our Concerts

Second City Chamber Series performs concerts throughout the year in various intimate settings around Tacoma and Pierce County. Listeners appreciate the social atmosphere of our concerts that allows the audience to mix and mingle before concerts and to meet the performers after the concerts. Performers often provide the backstory for each of the pieces they perform, and program notes are included for even greater context.

Our historical home is The Great Hall of Annie Wright School in North Tacoma, where Second City Chamber Series concerts have been taking place continuously since 1977.

During the summer, the Series relocates to the beautiful Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood, where the music has continued on two starlit and magical evenings every summer since 2001.

In addition, we have an annual concert by our Young Chamber Players; talented young high school musicians who are selected and coached by Second City Chamber Series artists.

Special events include an annual Second City Chamber Series Fundraiser, where the chamber music is always experienced in unique settings. Additionally, concerts can take place in other venues and in private homes around the South Sound, so be sure to check our website to confirm the location of each of exciting concerts!

By promoting awareness and appreciation of chamber music for its listeners and providing a convenient and ready forum for its performers, Second City has truly become first for chamber music in Tacoma.

Welcome to the Second City Chamber Series and to this website. We hope you will enjoy exploring the site and attending our concerts!

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