Apple Hill in the 1930s–Sugar House (left) and Concert Barn (right)

Apple Hill began as the brainchild of Gene Rosov, a young cellist and Harvard undergrad who taught cello at the All-Newton Music School in a suburb of Boston. Inspired by his experience as a teenager at Greenwood Music Camp in Cummington, Massachusetts, Gene’s dream was to start a chamber music camp for his own students and their friends and siblings. His first camp session took place on a borrowed property in Hinsdale, New Hampshire in 1968. The original plan was for the camp to be part of a ski development that was being built in Kingfield, Maine by a friend of Gene’s, John Marden, and the next two summers “Bigelow Mountain Music Camp” as it was then called took place on rented properties in Kingfield. But then because of a recession the idea of a ski development was abandoned.  With the generous support of Lee Gillespie, Best Foods heiress, Gene secured the Apple Hill property in Nelson, New Hampshire in 1971. Gene’s camp finally had a permanent home and The Center for Chamber Music at Apple Hill was incorporated as a non-profit the same year. The property consisted of 100 acres of field and forest on a sloping hill with a western view of the mountains of Vermont and an original 1790 farmhouse, two barns, a sugar house, and numerous outbuildings and cabins in various states of dilapidation.

The original Apple Hill Chamber Players, c. 1973 

Back row left to right: Beth Pearson, cello; Robbie Merfeld, piano; John Laughton, clarinet; Betty Hauck, viola; Eric Stumacher, piano; Richard Hartshorne, string bass
Seated left to right: Freddie Ortiz, violin; Julie Feves, bassoon; Fred Cohen, oboe; Jimena Lasansky, dancer; David Jolley, horn
Seated front: Bonnie Insull, flute

This entertaining (really quite funny) and informative video starts in a construction zone on the Apple Hill campus, and ends, delightfully, at the Harrisville General Store.