Who we are
Seven Hills Chamber Music is a hub of highly-acclaimed Classical musicians offering “dynamic performances with a palpable, effortless, and knowing energy” (Lynchburg Living) to energize and excite audiences in Central Virginia, New York City, and in national concert tours. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the annual Seven Hills Chamber Music Festival has quickly become a stand-out event series and sought-after educational partner in the Lynchburg cultural community, with features in Nasdaq’s Ladderworks, WLNI, and Living in the Heart of Virginia on ABC 13.
Founded by violist and Lynchburg native Dudley Raine IV, our free concerts pair famous works of Classical music— like those of Mozart, Price, or Beethoven — alongside exceptional new music. With our composers-in-residence program, our young composer mentorship program, and our educational initiatives, we're commited to inspiring the the next generations of artists. "The creative energy among the artists is tremendous'' (The News & Advance), from our dynamic and thematic concerts programs to our immersive pop-up events and community engagement. During the summer festival each August, our artists work with students in public schools, give masterclasses, have open rehearsals, and interact with our audiences — all to forge meaningful community connections through our passion for chamber music.
MEET our directors
Dudley raine iv
Dudley Raine, IV is the founder and artistic director of the Seven Hills Chamber Music Festival in Lynchburg, Virginia, his hometown. Dudley recognizes there are many great unheard works lying outside the typical classical canon, and advocates for programming newer music and under-represented composers.
What originally started as a piano quartet with a few friends in 2017 eventually turned into a ten day chamber music festival in August 2021. Dudley formed a group of thirteen musicians from Lynchburg, New York, and other parts of the world to perform three chamber music concerts in the first season of SHCMF, in some of the first live concerts to play in Lynchburg since the start of the pandemic. Seven Hills’ debut season featured a performance at The Academy of Arts, at Westminster Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Churches, and a violin/viola masterclass for young musicians in Lynchburg.
Dudley has a breadth of experience in many veins of classical music- firstly as a freelance violist performing regularly around the country in orchestral, chamber, and contemporary music settings. He also has experience as an arts administrator, having worked for Concert Artists Guild. He also teaches violin and viola, working with the Opus 118 program in New York City public elementary schools as well as teaching privately.
Nicole Brancato makes music to unlock wonder. Fascinated with contemporary expressions of our shared human experience, the NYC-based pianist merges curation, composition and performance in collaborations across the arts. Described as “brilliant” and an “immense talent” (New York Magazine and Connect Savannah), Nicole is “redefining the very notion of classical music” (Atención San Miguel). Her credits range from the Guggenheim Museum and Rai Italia (television network Italy) to the Banff Centre and the “underground” performances in Brooklyn factories and warehouses.
An awardee of National Sawdust’s 2022 Hildegard Commission, Nicole has curated more than 70 productions featuring 100+ compositions and commissions over the last decade. Described as a “piano virtuoso” (The Daily Gazette, Saratoga Springs), Nicole focuses on the kinetic energy exchange in performances — with both her collaborators and her audience. Such collaborations range from .soundfullness — a salvaged piano installation that transforms outdoor spaces into places of deep listening — to Duo Extempore — a piano + bass duo that uses immersive improvisation to tell the stories of unusual places, from observatories to historical landmarks, and beyond.
A frequent guest presenter of workshops, masterclasses, and residencies, Nicole has delivered sessions for the Gesellschaftshaus Magdeburg, Germany; the University of Southern Mississippi; and for the Sphinx Organization. Nicole holds degrees from CUNY Hunter College, Georgia State University, and Manhattan School of Music. For more, visit www.nicolebrancato.com.