The Adam Chamber Music Festival began in 1992 with an enthusiastic group of professional musical friends performing five concerts over five days in Nelson. Their inspiration was to utilise the intimate, smaller venues of the region to recapture the essence of chamber music performance. Performed in the height of summer, the relaxed and friendly atmosphere offered a satisfying alternative to the more usual formal concert setting.
The Nelson Music Festival Trust was founded to run the 1994 Festival, secure its future, and administer its affairs. In 1995 the Festival became a biennial event, with the 2021 Festival being the 16th Adam Chamber Music Festival.
Guest artists included: The Jerusalem Quartet, the New Zealand String Quartet, Dénes Varjon, Izabella Simon, Anthony Marwood, Nikki Chooi, James Crabb, Wilma Smith, Ian Munro, Anna Pokorny, Anna Fraser, Thomas Hutchinson, Jian Liu, Samuel Jacobs, Douglas Mews, Joan Perarnau Garriga, Rob Thorne, Naoto Segawa and the 2019 Adam Troubadours Claudio Tarrant-Mathews, Sofia Tarrant-Mathews, Grant Baker and Olivia Wilding.
Guest artists included: The New Zealand String Quartet, the Goldner Quartet, Dénes Varjon, Matthew Barley, James Campbell, Ian Rosenbaum, Andrew Goodwin, Izabella Simon, NZTrio, Joanne Roughton-Arnold, Edward Ware, Jenny Wollerman, Naoto Segawa, Jeff Henderson, Joan Perarnau Garriga, Douglas Mews, Bob Bickerton, Elizabeth Kerr, Heleen du Plessis, Ken Ichinose, Andrew Joyce, Inbal Megiddo, Eliah Sakakushev von Bismarck, Edith Salzmann and James Tennant.
Guest artists included: The New Zealand String Quartet with the Ying Quartet (USA), Kathryn Stott (UK), The Song Company (Australia), David Griffiths (Australia), David Guerin, Jian Lui, Catherine Mackintosh, Nicola Melville, Douglas Mews, Euan Murdoch, Robert Orr, Joan Perarnau Garriga, Stephen de Pledge, Rowena Simpson, Sarah Watkins, Helen Webby, Bob Bickerton, Elizabeth Kerr and the Troubadour Quartet.
Guest artists included: The New Zealand String Quartet with The Penderecki String Quartet (Canada/Poland), Colin Carr (UK), Péter Nagy (Hungary), NZTrio, the Minguet Quartet (Germany), New Zealand Guitar Quartet, BonaNZa, Robert Johnson (Australia), Jenny Wollerman, Diedre Irons, Whirimako Black, Richard Nunns, Michael Joel, Erin Helyard, Martin Jaenecke, Victoria Jaenecke, Richard Apperley, Bob Bickerton, Hiroshi Ikematsu, Bridget Douglas, Robert Orr, Philip Green, Robert Weeks, Lenny Sarkovsky, Bruce McKinnon, Justine Cormack, Rebecca Struthers, Euan Murdoch and the Troubadour Quartet.
Guest artists included: New Zealand String Quartet with Mary Ayre, Gillian Ansell, Douglas Beilman, James Campbell, Justine Cormack, Rolf Gjelsten, Denis Goldfeld, Leonid Gorokhov, Michael Houstoun, Hiroshi Ikematsu, Victoria Jaenecke, Hermitage String Trio, Keith Lewis, Kugeltov Klezmer Band, Richard Mapp, Douglas Mews, Euan Murdoch, NZSO Soloists, Richard Nunns, Helene Pohl, Martin Riseley, Martin Roscoe, Rebecca Struthers, Robert Weeks and the Zephyr Wind Quintet.
Guest artists included: NZSQ with the Pražák Quartet, Piers Lane, Catrin Johnsson, David Tanenbaum, Richard Nunns, Jenny Wollerman, Michael Houstoun, Diedre Irons, Richard Mapp, Emma Sayers, Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Flight, Bonanza trombone ensemble, Rachel Fuller, Philip Green, Bob Bickerton, Martin and Victoria Jaenecke, Douglas Mews and Hiroshi Ikematsu.
Guest artists included: NZSQ joined by the Michelangelo String Quartet, James Campbell, Peter Nagy, Diedre Irons, New Zealand Trio, Deborah Wai Kapohe, The Musical Island Boys, Bob Bickerton, Richard Nunns, Martin & Victoria Jaenecke and Saxcess. The Adam Chamber Music Festival headed the "BEST OF 2007" list of classical music events in the NZ Listener magazine.
Guest artists included: NZSQ joined by Anton Kuerti, Robert Ingliss, Nobuko Imai, Christoph Richter, Tim Deighton, Douglas Mews, Euan Murdoch, Patricia Wright, Victoria Jaenecke, Martin Jaenecke, Diedre Irons and Bob Bickerton.
The Festival received national recognition by the nomination as 'The Best Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand' by Lindis Taylor (Evening Post) for Best - A New Zealand Compendium, released May 2004. Guest artists included: NZSQ accompanied by Piers Lane, Atar Arad, Colin Carr, Caroline Wolff, Diedre Irons, Helen Medlyn, Penny Dodd, Bridget Douglas, Richard Nunns, Rachel Thomson, Nevine String Quartet and Bob Bickerton.
Guest artists included: NZSQ accompanied by Goldner String Quartet, Anton Kuerti, Thomas Hecht, Dan Poynton, Richard Nunns, Dale Gold, Deborah Wai Kapohe, Kirsten MacKenzie/Leight Jackson Quartet, Roger Sellers, Tim Robertson and Bob Bickerton.
Guest artists included: NZSQ accompanied by Edward Allen, Donald Armstrong, Dimitri Atanassov, Katherine Austin, Ashley Brown, Maria Grenfell, Lara Hall, Joanna Hood, Sam Konise, Douglas Mews, Euan Murdoch, Nairobi Trio, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Ogen Trio, Rowan Prior, Arthur Rowe, Mary Scott, Wilma Smith, James Tennant, Patricia Wright and Vyvyan Yendoll.
The Adam Foundation was welcomed as the Principal Sponsor. The first time artists had been invited from overseas. Guest artists included: NZSQ accompanied by Margaret Medlyn, Michael Houstoun, Dene Olding, Irina Morozova, Alexa Still, James Tennant, Ellen Jewett, Uri Wassertzug and Richard Mapp.
Guest artists included: NZSQ accompanied by James Tennant, Philip Rose, Terence Dennis, Maire Ni Chathasaigh, Chris Newman, Jeroen Speak, Douglas Mews, Shelly Wilkinson, Bernard Wells, Peter Barber, Alexa Still, Jackie Clarke, Nick Bollinger, Callie Blood, Janet Roddick, Ian Morris, Donald Armstrong, Peter Scholes and Carolyn Mills.
The Nelson Music Festival Trust was founded by Douglas Beilman, James Tennant & Stephen Managh.
The Chamber Music Festival was founded by a group of friends Alexa Still, Gillian Ansell, Susan DeWitt Smith Douglas Beilman and James Tennant who performed five concerts in five days in Nelson.