Music's Recreation is devoted to exploring new concert formats that integrate professional performance of a wide range of music with intriguing and educational commentary in a very informal atmosphere. Our mission is to communicate our love of classical music to people of all ages. We especially wish to entice and enthrall newcomers to classical performance as well as to enrich the experience for seasoned listeners.

Our productions range widely. "Lullabies and Wake-up Calls", "Major Minor", "Musical Conversations", "Birds and Beasts" are the titles of a few of our programs of instrumental chamber music and commentary that illuminate the ways music is constructed to work its magic on our minds and emotions.

We produce programs that enhance music with dance, mime, poetry, and drama. Ruth Kahn's beloved children's story "My Father's Dragon" with actors and new musical accompaniment by Eric Feinstein, the Haitian folk tale "Red and Brown" told in mime and music arranged and composed by Mark Simon, and Prokofiev's  classic "Peter and the Wolf" played and narrated, are recent examples.

Music's Recreation has also commissioned and premiered several new works by esteemed Ithaca area composers, most recently the "Carnival of the Elementary Particles" by Mark Simon, and "Poetic Rejuvenations" by Christopher Morgan Loy.

We have recently initiated a collaboration with Women's Works to bring our audiences programs of music by women composers along with our entertaining commentary.

Music's Recreation is committed in all of our productions to making concert-going a pleasurable and fascinating family-friendly activity. 

  • The Musicians
  • Our History

Laura Campbell

Laura Campbell is currently Instructor of Flute at Colgate University and Principal Flutist of the Colgate Symphony. She is also Instructor of Chamber Music at Wells College in Aurora, New York. She has performed with the Springfield (Ill.) Symphony, the St. Louis Municipal Opera Orchestra, the Ithaca Opera Orchestra, the St. Louis Gateway Festival Orchestra, the Utica Symphony, the Orchestra of the Southern Fingerlakes, and several other orchestras in the midwest and in New York. She toured Latin America on a State Department tour performing in six different countries as a member of the University of Illinois Wind Ensemble.

A strong proponent of contemporary music, she has appeared as a soloist with the Composers' Forum in New York City, the Southeast Composers' Forum in Radford, Virginia, the New York Composers' Circle in NYC, American Composers Alliance "American Music Festival" in NYC, and with the Syracuse Society for New Music. Ms. Campbell has also performed at the "June in Buffalo New Music Festival" and has premiered many works as a member of SATI: A Group for Contemporary Music and Chiron New Music Ensemble.

Ms. Campbell can be heard on six CDs: Society of Composers, Inc. "Evocations," Innova's "Pinocchio" from the Society for New Music, "Morning Light" - music for flute and harp with Myra Kovary and  "Visions" - music for flute and harp by Laurie Conrad with harpist Myra Kovary, "Classical Music for Guitar" with Karl Wolff - guitarist, and "Baroque Music for Guitar" with Karl Wolff.

William Cowdery

William Cowdery is musical director and organist of the First Congregational Church, Ithaca. Bill served for three years as director of Cornell University's Sage Chapel Choir. He has been a guest conductor of the Elmira Cantata Singers and the Colgate University Chorus. He has taught on the faculties of Cornell University, Ithaca College, Colgate University, and Keuka College as performer, musicologist, and theorist. A frequent soloist, accompanist, and lecturer at Bach programs and festivals in the northeast, he has been a three-year fellow of the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook. Bill holds a Ph.D. from Cornell for a dissertation on the cantatas of J. S. Bach and has held a Fulbright Fellowship in England. He authored numerous articles in the New Harvard Dictionary of Music and the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1996). He co-edited The Compleat Mozart with Neal Zaslaw (Norton, 1990).

Elisa Evett

Elisa Evett has played with numerous regional chamber ensembles, including most recently Trio Anon, the Archus Trio, the Amity Quartet and the Evett/Feinstein Duo. She also plays the baritone violin and is a founding member of Octavivo! (formerly the Albert Consort) an ensemble which performs on the New Violin Family instruments made by local luthier, Robert J. Spear. She received a master’s degree in music from New Mexico Highlands University and has studied cello with John Hsu and Lynden Cranham. She teaches cello privately and is an outside instructor of cello at Cornell University. For the last 12 years, she has been the President of Music’s Recreation.

Rosalind Feinstein

Pianist Rosalind Feinstein trained at the Juilliard Preparatory Division for eight years, at the High School of Music & Art and at Sarah Lawrence College. Performing a range of music from  Bach to Klezmer to Pop, she has accompanied singers, instrumentalists, dancers and in theatre pieces. In recent years she has played with cellist Elisa Evett in the Evett/Feinstein Duo. Roz is a psychotherapist in practice for over three decades.

John Greenly

John Greenly is a clarinetist in chamber music, orchestras and wind ensembles in the Ithaca, NY area. He has played clarinet, bass clarinet and E flat clarinet with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. His principal teacher was Leon Lester of the Philadelphia Orchestra. John co-wrote and performed in the finale, "The Birds that Roar" of the 2007 Light in Winter Festival in Ithaca. John has performed with the piano trio Innisfree at SUNY New Paltz in February 2007, and again for the Newburgh chamber music series in May 2008. He is a founding member of Music on Monhegan, a summer chamber music festival on that island in Maine. John has been a research physicist at Cornell University for twenty-five years

Karen Melamed Smith

Karen Melamed Smith, pianist, is the Program Director at the Community School of Music & Arts (CSMA) in Ithaca, NY and Music Director of the Hector Presbyterian Church. She has over 20 years teaching experience, including piano, pre-school music and movement, various performance and appreciation classes, and classroom arts-in-education programs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Masters in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Philosophy and the Arts from The New School for Social Research (NYC), as well as NYS provisional certification in elementary education. Karen is a member of the piano trio, “Three” (with violinist, William Hurley and cellist, Elisa Evett) and juggles practicing Qigong and studying Indian and Greek philosophy in her spare time.

William Hurley

Violinist William Hurley is an Ithaca-based performer, teacher, and luthier. He works in those capacities through The Community School of Music and Arts (faculty), Cornell University (visiting lecturer), Music’s Recreation (secretary/violin), The Binghamton Philharmonic (violin), The Tri-Cities Opera Orchestra (violin), The Singing Woods Violin Shop (apprentice luthier/violinmaker), and maintains a private teaching studio. In the chamber arena, he is a member of Three (piano trio), and partners guitarist Matthew Ocone. Other areas of interest include traditional Irish fiddle/bodhran, poetry, and gardening. He lives in the woods outside of Danby.

Our name is drawn from the title of a compendium of works for the viol published by John Playford, an English publisher, in 1652. We feel that the name, a wonderful double-entendre, represents our joy in making music and our mission to re-create music of many time periods and genres.

Music's Recreation In recent years the organization has begun to engage in outreach programs. It has performed Casual Classics concerts at the South Seneca Elementary School in Interlaken; at the Lansing Middle School as a part of a fundraising campaign for its Arts Booster Club; at the Danby Community Center in Danby; and at Grace Church in Elmira as a part of its Music at Grace concert series. It also presented a program at the Sciencenter in Ithaca called "Twang, Bang and Toot: How Musical Instruments Work." This program was also presented for all the third grade classes at Caroline Elementary School and the After School Program at the Northside Community Center in Ithaca. In 2005, Elisa Evett, along with Marie Sirakos, did an Arts in Education Residency at the Newfield Elementary School, working with third graders to stage their own dramatization of "My Father's Dragon." Music's Recreation performed its version of the Marie Sirakos' adaptation of the book with music by Eric H. Feinstein.

In 1993, Music's Recreation produced the first of four annual Fingerlakes Bach Festival (1993-1996), each a three to five day series of thematically-oriented chamber music concerts and lectures. In April, 1995, the organization launched another series, Casual Classics, designed to attract families, seniors and others who may be deterred from traditional classical music concerts due to high ticket prices, late night hours and strict concert etiquette. Since 1995, a yearly three-concert series of Casual Classics have offered concerts whose reduced length, informal tone, educational content and audience engagement all contribute to making classical music more understandable and accessible to new and seasoned concert-goers of any age. In 2003, Casual Classics ventured into new territory by collaborating with artists in theater, mime and dance in presenting a series entitled "Telling Stories with Music." The organization plans to continue this kind of collaboration in at least one of its offerings each year.