Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous in their home in Carmel.

The Story of Carmel Music Society

In our 93 seasons, Carmel Music Society has presented more than 500 major international solo artists and ensembles.

You can view our entire performance history by clicking here.

It began in the early 1920s, when Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous, two women who had recently moved to Carmel and established themselves as architects and decorators, decided to enhance the cultural life of the Monterey Peninsula by creating a local concert series.

At that time in Carmel, local amateurs and professionals gave occasional classical music concerts in small private and public venues. Less frequently there were concerts by touring professionals, often sponsored by metropolitan booking agents and underwritten by wealthy patrons. Although several groups had tried, no one yet had established a concert series of dependable schedule, venue, or artistry.

Dene and Hazel experimented by booking a few of their own concerts and events in 1925 and 1926 in their home and studio on North Dolores Street in Carmel, and also in Carmel's original Golden Bough Theatre on the southeast corner of Ocean Avenue and Monte Verde. With these early events, the two visionary women laid the path for a rich tradition of classical music in Carmel.

Their initial concerts were so successful that in the fall of 1927 Hazel and Dene helped organize a group of local music lovers to establish a Carmel Music Society - a non-profit organization devoted to bringing the finest talent in the classical music world to Carmel.

Carmel Music Society is the oldest non-profit arts organization in California.

In 1935, Carmel Music Society was the co-sponsor of the first Carmel Bach Festival.

View our 93-Season performance history here.

In 2014, musician and author David Gordon published a major biography of the Denny-Watrous partnership, Carmel Impresarios. The 400-page book covers a century of history and contains nearly 300 vintage illustrations. Follow this link for more information.


By subscribing to our season of concerts, you can help us ensure the future of our fine musical tradition.

If you are a Carmel visitor, single tickets are available for any concert. Call the office for details at 831.625.9938. Click here to go to our contact page.

On concert days come directly to the box office one hour before the performance to purchase single tickets. Click here for ticket details.

Our concerts are presented in Carmel's beautiful Sunset Center, just two block from Ocean Avenue. Tickets are almost always available, and there is not an acoustically bad seat at Sunset Center.

Board of Directors and Officers

Peter Thorp, President

Victoria Davis, 1st Vice President

Rudolf Schroeter, 2nd Vice President

Elizabeth Bates, 3rd Vice President

James Neiman, Secretary

Tim Brown, Treasurer

Beverly Dekker Davidson

Erik Dyar

Lisa Prochazka

Barbara Ruzicka
 

Sunset Center

Staff

Advisors and Consultants


Sunset Center

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