A musical movable feast.
— Elliott Forrest, WQXR

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 three 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.


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.


Meet Julia and James.

Co-Artistic Directors

Bringing together their shared passion for chamber music and New York City's unmatched culinary arts scene, Artistic Directors Julia Villagra and James Austin Smith have created a vibrant concert series aimed at New York's dynamic generation of young music lovers. Julia, Tertulia's 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 oustanding 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 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 Co-Artistic Director, James is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Chamber Music Society Two), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Talea Ensemble, Cygnus and Decoda, and is a regular guest of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He is a member of the faculty of the State University of New York at Purchase and in the fall of 2014 he will join the faculty of 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.