In the early 1960s – in the mountain community of Taos, New Mexico – a group of musicians gathered to pursue their passion for chamber music.
Through these musical liaisons, the musicians were able to share communally their love of classical music. From this unassuming seed a now preeminent summer chamber music festival was born.
Chilton Anderson, one of the TSoM founders and the organization’s first Executive Director, never imagined the School would blossom into one of the leading chamber music institutions in the country. Certainly he never anticipated the TSoM would flourish for over a half-century. Chilton’s passion was assisting young musicians at the cusp of their musical careers. He wanted a place where students could immerse themselves solely in chamber music. As he said in a Today Show segment, “I can get very emotional about the way the kids play sometimes and the youthful vitality that goes with it. It’s gratifying to know you were successful in a small way.”
For many years, the TSoM was supported by the generosity of Jean Mayer, the proprietor of the Hotel St. Bernard. Jean cared for the Young Artists and provided them gourmet meals and a unique, memorable stay in the Taos Ski Valley. was integral to the operation of the School’s first 57 years — housing, rehearsals, teaching, concerts, seminars, and his renowned patron dinners all took place in the Hotel.
In 2007 Kathleen Anderson took over for her father as Executive Director, continuing the mission in which he believed so strongly. Spending time with the students and getting to know them on a personal level was one of the highlights of her year.
Today, the organization is helmed by Executive Director Erik Christian Peterson, who was appointed in 2022.
In 1989, producers with NBC’s Today Show came to Taos to create a program about the founder, Chilton Anderson, and Taos School of Music. They spent countless hours filming and interviewing culminating in this six-minute segment which highlights the essence of the school and its founder. Nearly 30 years later the heart, focus and mission of the festival remains the same.