November 26, 2014
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Music on the Hill classical event of the year
Don Fowler

Where can you attend a classical music festival featuring some of the world’s finest musicians, all with Rhode Island connections, and at such an affordable price?

Music on the Hill is without question the bargain of the century. Now in its 39th season, the festival includes six fantastic concerts, with two remaining this Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21.

We were at the opening concert last Thursday at SS Rose and Clement Catholic Church in Warwick, where perfect acoustics enhanced the beautiful music. It was one of the largest audiences I have seen over the years, including a number of people attending their first chamber concert.

True aficionados of the genre would never think of applauding between movements, but, to me, listening to the scattered applause was a positive sign that new fans were being exposed to the music. I was so impressed with the opening concert that I rearranged my Friday schedule so that I could return for the concert featuring the music of Beethoven and Dvorak, which was equally brilliant.

Artistic director John Mark Pellegrino threw in an extra treat for a finale, Giovanni Bottesini’s “Gran Duo for Clarinet, Bass & Piano, Op. posthumous.” He would have been proud of Pelligrino’s interpretation of the brilliant piece, along with clarinetist Daniel Gilbert and pianist Donna Lee, who contributed so much to the entire concert.

Tickets are available at the door for the two remaining concerts for $20. Students with IDs are free. Thursday night’s concert is at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 360 Cowesett Road in Warwick at 7 p.m. Titled “Moravian Moments,” it features more music by Dvorak and Beethoven, plus others. Soprano Diane Alexander, who thrilled the audience with her rendition of Mozart’s “Hallelujah” at the first concert, will open and close the event with more Dvorak pieces.

Music on the Hill has scored a victory for its final concert by engaging Joseph Kalichstein, world-renowned pianist, who will perform at the larger and acoustically perfect Sapinsley Hall in the Nazarian Center at Rhode Island College on Friday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. Music by Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach will be performed by Kalichstein and members of this talented group of musicians. And all this for only $20. Tickets are available at the door. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.


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