World-class sounds, close to home

Music on the Hill series bringing seven concerts to Warwick, Cranston, East Greenwich & Westerly

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Music on the Hill opens its 45th season on Sunday, June 2, at 3 p.m. with an outdoor concert featuring the Narragansett Brass Quintet, on the beautiful grounds of Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum at 4157 Post Road in Warwick.

The festival of classical music continues through June 12 at venues in Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich and Westerly that provide ideal acoustics and atmosphere for the talented musicians, many of whom honed their talents in Rhode Island.

Gerard Pellegrino, president of the Board of Directors, and his wife, Carol, a renowned Rhode Island piano teacher, have watched many of the musicians grow from young high school music students to positions in major orchestras all over the world. Every June, many of the native Rhode Islanders return home, bringing their professional musician friends with them to share their passion for chamber music.

The series moves on to First Baptist Church at 30 Pierce St. in East Greenwich on Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. for some “French Champagne” – music of French composers, including Saint-Saens, Debussy and Poulenc.

Immaculate Conception Church at 237 Garden Hills Drive in Cranston is the setting for “Now That’s Italian” – with music by Italian composers Puccini, Rossini, Albinoni and others – on Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. “Amadeus” is the theme for the Thursday, June 6, concert at 7 p.m., also at Immaculate Conception Church, featuring the work of Mozart.

The series shifts to Warwick on Sunday, June 9, at 3 p.m., where the music of Bach will be performed at St. Gregory the Great Church, 360 Cowesett Road.

It heads back to Cranston on Monday, June 10, at 7 p.m. for “Trio Time,” featuring music by Prokofiev, Bach and Previn at Holy Apostles Church, 800 Pippin Orchard Road.

The series closes on Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. with “Four Hands,” featuring the Miller Piano Duo and the Miller-Porfiris Duo playing the music of Gershwin, Barber, Sheng and others.

Artistic director John H. Pellegrino has performed, toured and recorded with many of the country’s leading orchestras. He was named artistic director in 2007 and continues to work year-round to assemble the festival performers.

“I am pleased that these concerts offer so much variety for the listeners and the performers,” he said. “Inviting Rhode Island musicians home is always a fulfilling component of Music on the Hill.”

Festival programs include biographies on all the musicians, program notes on every selection, concert schedules and the actual time of each piece, which ranges from three to 40 minutes. Most concerts are about an hour and a quarter long, with an opportunity to mingle with the musicians afterward.

As in past years, Music on the Hill offers free admission for any student. Pellegrino suggests bringing the children and grandchildren to the concerts and exposing them to classical music.

“We also perform a free educational program for Warwick elementary students on Friday morning, June 7, where we introduce our instruments and our own brief stories about starting out in music,” Pellegrino said. “Most of us owe our beginnings in music to the Rhode Island public school programs.”

Tickets are available in advance online through BrownPaperTickets.com for $20 (plus a $1.69 service fee) and Paypal at MusicOnTheHill.org ($20 plus a $1.50 service fee) or by check to Music on the Hill, Box 633, East Greenwich, RI 02818 ($20.50). Tickets are also available at the door for $25. Tickets allow the holder to any one of the seven concerts.

Music on the Hill programs are available in advance at Warwick and Cranston libraries.

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