News from RICE University

Chamber Music America taps Rice’s Shepherd School as host of 2025 national conference

Shepherd School & skyline

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University will serve as the official sponsoring partner of Chamber Music America’s (CMA) 2025 National Conference, hosting several of its performances in its renowned facilities Feb. 13-16.

While most general sessions will take place at InterContinenal Houston, organizers plan to incorporate Shepherd School faculty and students into performance activities throughout the conference, while also drawing on the student population as a volunteer base.

“Chamber music is a critical component of our training at the Shepherd School, and we are proud to be the hub where so many will connect and engage in meaningful dialogue to advance the field, all while enjoying the vibrant arts scene in America’s most diverse city,” said Shepherd School Dean Matthew Loden.

The move to Houston is a historic one for CMA, which has traditionally held its conference in New York City. The network of ensemble music professionals identifies as a national service organization, mandating expansion beyond New York.

“A move to our nation’s fourth-largest city not only opens doors to those who have faced geographic constraints, it also empowers us to cultivate essential national discussions in regions we haven’t fully embraced,” said CMA chief executive officer Kevin Kwan Loucks. “It is our duty to extend our platform of support to our entire national community, and we’ve selected a university partner that shares in our mission of challenging convention, championing innovation and promoting passionate and curious minds.”

“We’re honored to be the new destination for so many important leaders in the chamber music world,” Loden said. “It will undoubtedly raise the Shepherd School’s profile in the broader musical community.”

Loden thanked Rice and its support through the Office of Research and the Creative Ventures Funds. He also credited professor of viola and chamber music James Dunham’s long-standing connection with CMA in opening the door for the Shepherd School’s involvement in the conference.

“This wouldn’t be possible without his foresight and leadership,” Loden said.

In addition to working with the Shepherd School, CMA has tapped Houston-based DACAMERA as a presenting organization along with the University of North Texas.

Conference programming, including sessions, speakers and performers, will be released later this year. Registration will open in the fall.