Indianapolis Matinee Musicale is one of the oldest music organizations in the United States. The group gives November 20, 1877, as its founding date, when nine young women gathered informally to spend a musical afternoon together. Two years later, with 20 members, the group had outgrown its “parlor club” origins, drawn up a constitution, and adopted the name Ladies Matinee Musicale.
In addition to performing for one another, they studied composers and different styles of composition. In 1883, they established active and associate (non-performing) memberships and began meeting in a club room at the Denison Hotel. The organization presented its first artist concert in 1885 and six years later inaugurated an artist concert series.
In 1895, the group added a new student section, admitted men as associate members, and began holding auditions for active membership by secret ballot. It became affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs in 1910 and a decade later helped to establish the Indiana Federation of Music Clubs, both groups being dedicated to fostering American music and American composers.
The Matinee Musicale eventually broadened its mission to promote the appreciation and performance of classical music in Indianapolis. The organization added a professional associate section in 1922, a choral section in 1929, and an alumnae section that accommodates retired members. In 1936, the Matinee Musicale created Student and Junior Sections to involve elementary and high school students. The club established a scholarship fund for students in 1958. It holds collegiate scholarship competitions that award full-time scholarships to Indiana music undergraduate and graduate students.
The organization has remained active. Indiana Landmarks Center, Fairview Presbyterian Church, and Piano Solutions (a piano store in Carmel) provide venues for performances and recitals.