AKM Story

The origins of Alpenkammermusik can be traced back to 2005, during a winter holiday ski trip by co-founding members Daniel Swartz and Elena Levina. Whilst staying in the monastery in Maria Luggau in the Lesachtal, Daniel and Elena heard about a violin maker who lived in the small town of Liesing 20 minutes away. The violin maker had died 25 years earlier but his son Werner Lexer was very much an active member of the community. Daniel and Elena went to meet Werner Lexer, as well as Werner’s cousin, Stefan Lexer, and an idea for a festival was born to bring a more international music scene into the valley. The Lexer’s urged them to bring back more musicians to do a test concert and see the reaction in the valley. Daniel and Elena contacted Tanya Bannister and Stephen Buck, good friends with whom they had already discussed starting a festival without a location in mind.

In the summer of 2006, the first concert featured  Claudia Ajmone-Marsan on violin, Tanya Bannister and Stephen Buck on piano, and Trey Lee on cello.  The performance was met with immediate enthusiasm.

There was a great deal of discussion as to whether the festival should be only pre-professional students which would have been financially and logistically far more challenging. . Through Tanya’s relationship with Concert Artist Guild in New York, an idea was thrown out to start an amateur festival.

In 2007, with most of the faculty and founders still in their 20’s, a festival was born. Through hard networking and the support of the Amateur Chamber Music Association, 17 people from around the world came to study and perform alongside faculty.

In 2010, the festival extended it’s profile by adding a vocal chamber music component  led by baritone Randall Scarlata.

The festival now has a very competitive selection process with top young professional musicians starting their musical careers who want to work and play alongside our world class faculty as well as experienced and advanced amateurs.Group with mountains

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