About NOLA Chamber Fest

About NOLA Chamber Fest

NOLA Chamber Fest was established to promote chamber music in New Orleans and the Gulf South region. Our mission is to inspire and motivate classical musicians through the experience of true collaboration and artistic independence that only chamber music can offer.

Presented by Lyrica Baroque, New Orleans Friends of Music and the University of New Orleans, NOLA Chamber Fest is proud to annually host New Orleans’ very own chamber music competition. The competition consists of six divisions: Junior, High School, College, Graduate, Community and Young Artist. Six professional musicians judge the competition. Awards include medals, cash prizes, masterclasses with world-renowned artists and performance opportunities.


“I loved the masterclass! It was good for the group to get the reinforcement on issues that we can improve and it was great to get validation from such an acclaimed group of musicians.”
– NOLA Chamber Fest Participant


“For a group such as ours, taking part and doing well represents a significant step forward for us and all of my members were proud and appreciative. The prize money will help me to add to our music library significantly, and the experience at the masterclass was just as valuable and enjoyable.”
– NOLA Chamber Fest Participant


“NOLA Chamber Fest provides an outstanding platform for my students of varying ages to grow such skills as independence, deep listening, collaboration, and disciplined preparation. The chance to work in masterclass with world-renowned musicians is also invaluable. I’m very grateful this festival exists in New Orleans, and I see the potential for NCF to serve as a model and leader for fostering youth chamber music across the country.”
– Joel Bein, Conservatory Symphonic Band Director, Lusher Charter School


“NOLA Chamber Fest afforded my advanced middle school students an unprecedented opportunity to explore the unique challenges of playing one to a part. They rehearsed for months, making enormous strides in musicianship, ensemble skills, and technical ability. At a time when so many school activities are organized by grade level, participating in the Chamber Fest gave my students time to develop friendships, mentorships, and support networks that bridged differences in age and grade level..”
– Marta Jurjevich, String Program Director & Music Department Chair, Lusher Charter School



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Our Team

Jaren Atherholt, Executive Director Lyrica Baroque


Jaren Atherholt is the Principal Oboist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, a position she has held since 2007. She is also the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Jaren left home at the age of sixteen to pursue oboe study at the Interlochen Arts Academy with Daniel Stolper. After graduating from Interlochen, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with John Mack and a master’s degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where she studied with Robert Atherholt.

Prior to obtaining her position with the LPO, Jaren spent two seasons as Principal Oboist of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. She has performed as guest Principal Oboist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony and Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria in Mexico City. She has also performed as guest Associate Principal Oboist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Jaren has been a featured concerto soloist with the LPO, Tulane University Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center, and the Fairbanks Symphony.

Jaren spends her summers performing in the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, and Spoleto Festival USA. She also previously served on the faculty of the John Mack Oboe Camp, Wintergreen Music Festival and the Vianden International Music School and Festival in Vianden, Luxembourg. Jaren has been a member of the Interlochen Oboe Institutes faculty for four summers, teaching with Linda Strommen, Elaine Douvas and Daniel Stolper.

An active chamber musician, Jaren spent four summers performing in the Marlboro Music Festival. She has also performed for the Grand Teton Music Festival Winter Chamber Series, A Far Cry, and is the founder and Executive Director of Lyrica Baroque, a chamber ensemble and non profit organization based in New Orleans.

Jaren enjoys practicing Ashtanga yoga in her free time. She is married to Ben Atherholt, who she met at Rice University. Jaren and Ben enjoy spending time with their two dogs, Rocky and Jessie.

Gabrielle Fischler, Director NOLA Chamber Fest

gabrielle-fischler-headshots-redone-6Violinist Gabrielle Fischler is a fourth year New Orleanian, having moved from Boston where she was a co-founding member of the conductorless string orchestra Palaver Strings. Palaver Strings is an ensemble committed to diversifying the accessibility of classical music and promoting social justice and human welfare through cross-collaboration of the arts and unconventional partnerships. She currently works as a teaching artist and freelancer in the greater New Orleans area, serving on faculty at the Ellis Marsalis Center and with Make Music Nola. Other educational endeavors include maintenance of her private studio where she provides lessons and chamber music coachings, as well as visits to Musicollaborative, a community based music education service dedicated to exposing youth and families to culturally relevant music and learning. In April of last year, Gabrielle helped to launch the New Orleans chapter of Groupmuse, an organization dedicated to fostering and building community through art and classical music house concerts. Gabrielle makes local appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Opera, Crescent Chamber Artists, the New Resonance Orchestra, Groupmuse, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and other performances around the city and greater New Orleans area.

If you have questions about NOLA Chamber Fest, contact Gabrielle at nolachamberfest@lyricabaroque.com