Music

A Musical Milestone

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival strikes up the band for its 30th year

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For its 30th year in a row, the Kingston Chamber Music Festival (KCMF), under the direction and leadership of Artistic Director Natalie Zhu, will take the stage for two weeks of remarkable programming. Over the course of six concerts and a solo piano recital, more than 45 world-class musicians and prodigious young artists will share their artistry with audiences.

To commemorate such a memorable milestone, Zhu has “prepared an exciting program for [the] 30th anniversary year that includes several special guests [and] four original compositions, three of which were commissioned specifically for the festival,” says Board President Betsy Marcotte. Additionally, acclaimed musicians Carl Schimmel, David Ludwig, and Eliane Aberdam will give talks prior to the concerts that feature their works and two post-concert talks will be given on each of the Friday nights during the event.

Unveiled at the festival will be an exhibit entitled Celebrating the Spirit Con Brio, which was curated by KCMF Board member Susan Marcus. It will be mounted in URI’s Fine Arts Center beginning on opening night, and will remain open before each concert and during intermissions. The exhibit presents a visual journey through the festival’s 30-year history and “bears witness to the joy and enthusiasm people experience when playing and listening to music together,” says Marcotte.

The festival is committed to building community. In KCMF’s Spring newsletter, Zhu expressed that “[the festival] was created to bring audiences together to share in the transportive experience of live music-making.” Her mission, found at the heart of the festival, is founder and first artistic director, David Kim’s, goal for the yearly event. This year, Kim will be performing in three of the seven concerts.

In addition to bringing outstanding chamber music to the Ocean State, KCMF musicians have introduced classical music to more than 15,000 students from South County to Providence since 1991. To carry out its mission, the festival has relied on its many volunteers and supporters. In particular, Sam and Lyndie Ersan, Rosalyn Sinclair, Jonathan Garber, as well as their generous donors. Additionally, the Natalie B. Kampen Fund, established in 2015 through the Rhode Island Foundation as a legacy gift to the festival, has largely contributed to the commissioning of new works.

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival anticipates a large turn out for each of the seven concerts and hopes to fill the 500-plus person concert hall at URI. As for the decades-long success of the festival, Kim says “I always had faith that the festival would thrive; I’m shaking my head in wonder that we have already reached 30 seasons. I hope Natalie and the Board will continue doing what they already do so well and so tirelessly: cook up innovative ideas, passionately promote those ideas, and execute them flawlessly.” University of Rhode Island, Kingston