Tertulia is a chamber music series that is designed to attract new and experienced audiences alike, or anyone who loves incredible food and music. Tertulia presents world-class chamber music concerts in restaurants, with two performances separated by extended intermissions. The format and program is designed to enhance the social and culinary experience, but at all Tertulias, the music is paramount.

A musical
— Elliott Forrest, WQXR


Our Mission


Tertulia places chamber music back where it belongs - in a festive, inviting atmosphere. Our mission is to reveal the communicative, intimate and inspiring realm of chamber music to audiences who are curious to discover a new passion, to those who seek a different perspective on the art form they already love, or to those who are simply looking for an evening in the company of close friends, delicious food and great music. At Tertulia, we believe incredible food and world-class chamber music, together, are the perfect recipe for engaging today's classical music audiences.

...luring the young and the restless to the charms of chamber music
— New York Times

Meet Julia and James.

Founder and Artistic & Executive Director


Bringing together their shared passion for chamber music and New York City's unmatched culinary arts scene, Founder Julia Villagra and Artistic Director James Austin Smith have created a vibrant concert series aimed at New York's dynamic generation of young music lovers. Julia, Tertulia‚Äôs founder, felt compelled to design a chamber music series that would attract her peers. After moving to New York in 2007, she immediately began to explore the city's dining scene. It was her interest in food and wine that served as inspiration for her decision to bring chamber music into restaurants. Her objective was clear: attract outstanding musicians by showing respect for the performance, and extend intermissions so people can enjoy eating, drinking, and socializing. Today, the New York Times calls presenters "to observe her approach" in "luring the young and the restless to the charms of chamber music."

James, a NYC-based oboist praised for his "virtuosic" and "brilliant" performances by The New York Times, performs equal parts new and old music across the United States and around the world. In addition to serving as Tertulia's Artistic and Executive Director, James is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Co-Principal Oboist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Cygnus, and Decoda. He is a member of the Oboe and Chamber Music faculties of Stony Brook University and the Manhattan School of Music.

Both Julia and James were raised in musical families in Connecticut. They met in high school while playing in a youth orchestra and are thrilled to have reconnected in New York.