The Belfast Music Society was founded in 1921 to promote the performance and enjoyment of classical chamber music. Initially a branch of the British Music Society, from 1921 to 1983 the society brought some of the most eminent musicians in Europe to entertain Belfast audiences. The name changed to Belfast Music Society in 1983. The Society’s programme of concerts has been one of the mainstays of Belfast’s musical and cultural life, providing access to an extensive repertoire of quality chamber music.
Since 2005 BMS has hosted an annual International Festival of Chamber Music, giving Belfast audiences the opportunity to experience world-class artists in the beautiful setting of Queen’s University’s Great Hall, with its intimate atmosphere and warm acoustic. The Festival also presents concerts in the Harty Room, in QUB’s Music building.
BMS has always been an active champion of local musicians, offering recital opportunities to soloists and ensembles from NI including those at the very beginning of their professional careers. To mark its 90th anniversary year in 2010/11, the Society established the ‘Northern Lights Mini-Fest to showcase outstanding local artists, both young and established.
Belfast Music Society is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and has successfully forged links with key partners including the BBC and Queen’s University, as well as with other music promoters in the city. Partnership is an important part of the BMS ethos, one of the reasons for the Society’s longevity in changing times.