The Kingston Chamber Music Festival, now preparing for its 29th season in 2017, features many of the world's established music stars playing alongside young, rising artists. Pianist Natalie Zhu, artistic director since 2009, succeeded violinist David Kim, who founded the festival in 1989. A two-week summer series of six reasonably-priced subscription concerts is held on the peaceful URI campus in Kingston, R.I., just a 10-minute drive from the ocean. The 580-seat, air-conditioned Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at URI is an inviting, open space. A seventh concert, an annual piano recital, is held in the nearby Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

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Latest News

Latest News

Shades of Summer

A special end-of-winter concert will be held Friday,
March 17, at 7:30 pm, at the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall

A masterpiece of the chamber music repertoire, as well as innovative works featuring a wide range of percussion instruments, are features of a special end-of-winter concert by the Kingston Chamber Music Festival to be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 17, at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at the University of Rhode Island.

For this special festival event, pianist and festival Artistic Director Natalie Zhu and cellist Clancy Newman will join violinist Noah Geller and percussionist Mari Yoshinaga, who will have just finished a week of bringing music to schools in the region as part of the festival's outreach program to children. The concert will also provide some hints of what's to come at this summer's 29th annual festival.

Featured works include Dvorak's "Dumky" Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, Debussy's Violin Sonata in G Minor, and two works for percussion, including a virtuoso, solo work by composer Iannis Xenakis for multi-percussion instruments to be performed by Yoshinaga.

Yoshinaga and violinist Geller, who is concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony and a regular at Kingston festivals, were married in 2015. Their outreach programs to children the week before the concert featured works by Jewish and Japanese composers to tell the stories of their backgrounds. The two are graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Cellist Clancy Newman is a Kingston favorite who has appeared at many summer festivals, including two standout performances the past two seasons when he teamed with pianist Stewart Goodyear for two major works in the cello sonata repertoire.

For the complete concert program, see concerts.

Tickets — $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free for children 18 and under  — will be available at the door one hour before the concert or, in advance, here on the tickets page. The festival's seasonal box office will not be open for this event. 

Music Festival Seeks New Managing Director

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival has initiated a search for a new managing director after Brian Mitchell informed the festival's Board of Directors that he will retire from that position after the 29th annual concert series in the summer of 2017.

The festival intends to identify a new managing director in time to work with Mitchell prior to the 2017 festival. The position currently carries a part-time salary with an independent contractor status. The new managing director will share a passion for music, have strong diplomatic skills, some knowledge of database ticketing and marketing functions, and will work with the festival board to best implement the vision of Artistic Director Natalie Zhu.

"Brian's devotion to this festival is best exemplified by what our audiences see and hear in the concert hall today. He will be sorely missed, of course, but the board is committed to building upon the excellent strengths Brian has shared with the festival over so many years," said Michelle Little, president of the festival's board. "We will warmly welcome a new managing director who will usher us into our next 30 years respectful of the foundation upon which we stand."

Violinist David Kim founded the festival in 1989 and performed both the artistic and administrative functions until shortly after he became concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Mitchell, after serving as a board member and publicist since 1994, was appointed managing director in 2000, prior to the festival's 13th season. Maestro Kim continued to serve as artistic director until 2008, when pianist Zhu was named to succeed him.

A 1969 journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Mitchell said the timing of the start of his work for the music festival was perfect. "As my career in newspapers was winding down I was extremely fortunate to be able to land in a second field I was passionate about," he said. Among his many contributions, Mitchell initiated the festival's biannual newsletter, Festival Notes, in 1999. The 39th edition will be published this fall.

Starting with three concerts in one week, the festival has grown over the years to seven concerts over two weeks. At its core, the festival is highly regarded for the exceptional quality of its artists and their ensemble playing and the friendly and attentive audiences that support the concerts. Music outreach to schools has been in place since 1991 and several other programs, including master classes to help nurture young talent, have been added over the years.

A job description and application instructions are available here or by clicking on the "Jobs" tab, or by writing to Martin Sadd, search committee chair, at P.O. Box 1733, Kingston, RI 02881.

Online Ticket Sales for 2016 Festival Begin Monday, April 25

Music programs and the lineup of artists for seven spectacular concerts are set for the 28th annual Kingston Chamber Music Festival, to be held July 20 - 31, 2016, at the University of Rhode Island.

Online ticket sales for the 2016 Kingston Chamber Music Festival begin here on Monday, April 25, two weeks before the seasonal box office opens on Monday, May 9. For complete ticket information, click here.

Patron on our mailing list will receive a 2016 brochure — with a ticket order form — in our annual mailing to patrons at the end of April. Click here to join our mailing list and receive the brochure.

Six subscription concerts over two weeks will follow the usual Wednesday-Friday-Sunday format, with concerts on July 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, and 31. Earlier start times approved for last season will remain in place for 2016. The Wednesday and Friday concerts will start at 7:30 p.m.; both Sunday concerts will start at 4 p.m.

For the fourth consecutive season, a seventh concert will be held in the nearby Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. A piano recital at the church will be held on Saturday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m.

Highlights include:

  • The world premiere performance of a piano quartet — commissioned by the festival — composed by the ingenious pianist Stewart Goodyear.
  • A famous Bach keyboard work like you’ve never heard it before, performed by an award- winning saxophone quartet, Project Fusion
  • The Myriad Trio, featuring the unusual instrumentation of flute, viola and harp
  • A recital by the exciting young, Bulgarian-born pianist Viktor Valkov
  • The return for the third consecutive season of Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux
  • Seven of 22 fabulous artists will make their Kingston debuts in 2016!

The banner is up across Upper College Road at the entrance to the URI campus and the 2015 festival that begins on Wednesday, July 22, is not far off. Managing Director Brian Mitchell reports that tickets are still available for all seven concerts. Buy them here or call the box office, at 401-874-2106, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

Programs and Artists for 2015 Announced

Highlights of seven concerts for this upcoming 27th season in Kingston include the festival debuts of two extraordinary young artists, violinist Bella Hristova, and clarinetist Benito Meza; the return of two favorites from last season, pianist Stewart Goodyear and guitarist Jason Vieaux, a 2015 Grammy winner; and the return to Kingston of bassoonist Harrison Hollingsworth for two concerts. Great chamber music from every classical period includes two contemporary works to be introduced by their composer, David Ludwig. Pianist Goodyear will perform Bach's keyboard masterpiece, the Goldberg Variations, at a special church concert just off the URI campus. Tickets will go on sale here on Monday, April 27, and the seasonal box office opens on Monday, May 4. For more details, see Concert Schedule, Artists, and Tickets.

Audio/Video Highlights of 2014 Festival Available

Highlights of the 2014 Kingston Chamber Music Festival are available for listening and viewing here now. Segments from the 2014 Festival include excerpts from six works featuring nearly all of the 20 artists who appeared in Kingston last summer. Many of the same artists will be returning in 2015, to be joined by several others making their Kingston debuts. Concert programs and artists for 2015 will be posted in April before tickets go on sale on May 4.


Dates, Times for 2015 Festival Concerts Announced

The 27th annual edition of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival at the University of Rhode Island will be held July 22 though Aug. 2, 2015, it was announced shortly after completion of the 2014 Festival.

Six subscription concerts over two weeks will follow the usual Wednesday-Friday- Sunday format, with concerts on July 22, 24, 26, 29, 31, and Aug. 2. However, earlier start times for all concerts have been approved by the Festival's Board of Directors. The Wednesday and Friday concerts will start at 7:30 p.m., instead of 8 p.m., and both Sunday concerts will start at 4 p.m.

For the third straight season, a seventh concert will be held in the nearby Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. A date and time for that concert will be announced in the near future.

Complete programs and the lineup of artists will be announced in early spring here and in our annual brochure mailed to patrons. Click here to join our mailing list.

Hilary Hahn will not be coming to Kingston

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival received news Thursday, July 17 that Hilary Hahn will be unable to attend this summer’s festival. Hahn’s agency said in a prepared statement:

"Following medical advice, Hilary Hahn very much regrets that she must withdraw from her professional engagements for the next six weeks due to an inflamed muscle. Hilary is looking forward to resuming her concert schedule in September.”

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival sincerely regrets the withdrawal of violinist Hilary Hahn from this summer's festival. We wish her well and a speedy recovery. Only minor changes will be made in programming of those concerts and the festival's superb lineup of artists will, we are sure, produce another memorable Festival.

Eight Concert Programs For 2014 Season

Tickets On Sale Online Now
or By Calling The Box Office Beginning May 5

World-renowned violinist Hilary Hahn makes her Rhode Island debut at three subscription concerts during the first week of the 2014 Festival. Returning for week two is Festival Founder and Philadelphia Concertmaster David Kim. A roster of 20 extraordinary artists, including six making their Kingston debuts, promises to make the Festival’s 26th season one of its most memorable. Two special events this year are a piano recital by a young, Russian-born pianist, Alexandre Moutouzkine, on July 26, and a concert, talk and reception featuring the compositions of contemporary composer David Ludwig on July 31 at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Kingston.

More info

Lots New in Store for 2014 Festival
Artistic Director Natalie Zhu is putting the final touches on the artist lineup and music programs for the 2014 Festival. Already certain is the Kingston debut of a major star; six regular evening concerts (July 23, 25, 27, 30, and Aug. 1 and 3) featuring a wide variety of instrumentation in both new and beloved chamber works; and two added concerts, including an all-piano program (July 26) by a young Russian- born pianist and a special composer’s concert (July 31) at Kingston’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd with the celebrated composer in attendance. All concerts, except the one at the church, will be held at the University of Rhode Island's Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Details of all programs will be announced in April, with tickets going on sale at the same time.

Watch Video Highlights of 2013
For the first time, the Festival has added video to audio highlights of past festival performances. Segments from the 2013 Festival include two movements from Mendelssohn's glorious Octet.

Festival Box Office to Open in May
The Festival will be opening a seasonal box office for the first time to better meet patron demands for the future. The office will be staffed five days a week, beginning in early May, to answer all inquiries and accept ticket orders over the phone using all major credit cards. Opening of the seasonal box office will correspond with the closing of four remote ticket outlets hosted by local businesses for the past several seasons. As always, tickets will also be sold by mail, currently the most popular method of buying Kingston tickets, in response to the Festival’s annual fund drive and program announcements in April.