October 23, 2014
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Kingston Chamber Festival charms audiences
Don Fowler

In the past we have received our summer chamber music fix by traveling east on Route 138 to Newport.

This summer we changed direction and traveled west to the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center Concert Hall to attend a concert at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival.

Where have we been for the past 23 years?

Friends have raved about the performances, and rightfully so. Artistic Director Natalie Zhu has assembled world-class musicians to participate in this wonderful festival.

The university’s concert hall may not be as inviting as a Newport mansion, but the acoustics are great, the atmosphere is friendly and inviting, and the tickets are only $20…less if you buy a subscription.

We attended Sunday’s nearly sold-out concert which featured Bartok’s “Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion,” a dynamic piece of music that required the utmost energy and talent from its four musicians. Also on the program was Dvorak’s melodic “Quintet in G major for two violins, viola, cello and double bass, opus 77.” I had heard the piece before, but never like this.

Reading the résumés of the performers is like a who’s who in the emerging world of young talent. The experience, training and awards earned by these musicians fill many pages of the program, which also gives interesting background on the musical selections.

There are two more opportunities to participate in this wonderful festival. Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m. features “Russian Titans,” works by Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Glinka and Glazunov. “German Masters” close the festival on Saturday, July 29 at 8 p.m., with the works of Brahms, J.S. Bach and Beethoven.

Seating is general admission, but there’s not a bad seat in the house. Tickets are usually available at the door 45 minutes before the start of each concert or by clicking on www.kingstonchambermusic.org. Check out their info line at 789-0665. There is free parking behind the Fine Arts Center on Upper College Road.

You can be sure that we’ll be there next summer for their 25th anniversary season.


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