Union College Concert Series gets new name, new independent nonprofit status

Publication Date

The Union College Concert Series, which attracts the world’s finest classical music performers to Memorial Chapel, will begin operating as an independent nonprofit organization – Capital Region Classical Inc. – overseen by a board of directors for the first time in its storied history.

The series will also get a new name: Capital Region Classical at Union College. Performances will continue to be held in Memorial Chapel, and Artistic Director Derek Delaney will remain as its leader.

“We have grown enormously since our transition from a volunteer organization over five years ago, and Union College is largely responsible for this success,” said Delaney, who took over as artistic director of the series from Dan Berkenblit in 2011. “As a result of this growth, this next chapter in our history will allow the series and the College to better serve the greater community and to provide for the long-term sustainability of the program.”

College President David R. Harris said, “Union is proud of its longstanding history with the series and its growing prominence in the region under the leadership of Derek Delaney. We are confident that this transition will position the series to enjoy continued growth. We look forward to continuing to welcome audiences from across the region to Memorial Chapel for outstanding classical music performances.”

Founded in 1971 and administered by the College since 2001, the series is a regular stop for internationally renowned classical musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Ian Bostridge, the Emerson String Quartet, and others. Oftentimes, these artists perform the identical program at venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for more than triple the ticket price.

Under the new arrangement, the College will continue to provide Memorial Chapel at no cost, and concert series operations will reside off campus.

The series will continue to rely upon revenue from individual and organizational contributions and ticket sales to support its more than $425,000 annual operating budget.

The popularity of the series has grown significantly in the last five years. Total attendance has increased nearly 25 percent with more than a third of its audience members coming from beyond Schenectady and Albany counties. Almost 50 of its concerts have aired nationally and regionally on public radio’s Performance Today.

“We are excited about the changes moving forward,” Delaney said. “Audiences in the Capital Region have experienced some of the finest classical music performers in the world at our home in Memorial Chapel. We are pleased to continue to partner with Union College in providing this vital cultural programming to the community, and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”

The concert series continues its 48th season Saturday, Dec. 14, with a performance by the Boston Camerata.

For more information, visit the website.