The opening night concert of our 2023 season kicked off with a stellar lineup of musicians and repertoire: Richard Woodhams (pictured), principal oboe of The Philadelphia Orchestra for over 40 years, joined some of our long-time festival favorites. The ravishing sounds of the oboe, violin, and viola were played by some of the best musicians alive today. Lovers of piano quartets had a treat in the second half of the show!
One of the most in-demand quartets in the world returned to Kingston to dazzle our audience. Among many accolades – including winners of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award – this Grammy-nominated group was named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine. Each individual musician in the quartet is a star; together they are unparalleled.
DOVER AND FRIENDS
What happens when a legendary oboist, a Grammy-nominated quartet, and Kingston’s favorite musical duo (husband and wife team violist Che-Hung Chen and KCMF Artistic Director and pianist Natalie Zhu, pictured) play music together? Magic. “It was intriguing to see an already formed, accomplished group make music with other world-class musicians,” said an audience member. “My personal favorite part was Dvořák’s Viola Quintet, which served as a powerful ending to the concert, leaving the audience stunned!”
THE GREATEST DANCE HITS
From classics by Bach, Beethoven, and Bernstein to the groovy dance hits of American composer Aaron Jay Kernis and the soulful jazz of Duke Ellington, this concert had it all. One of the many highlights of the night was Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux joining violinists Kyu-Young Kim and Joel Link, violist Burchard Tang and cellist Priscilla Lee performing Kernis’s 100 Greatest Dance Hits (pictured). This concert also featured cellist Yegor Dyachkov, clarinetist David Shifrin, and pianist Amy Yang.
ONE OF A KIND
KCMF’s signature style? Offering a mix of beloved classics paired with repertoire you probably haven’t heard before and won’t easily get to hear again. For the latter, York Bowen’s Fantasie Quartet for 4 Violas did not disappoint. Originally written for the four most famous violists in the 1920s to perform together, it was premiered in 1908 at a musical evening of the Society of British Composers. Che-Yen Chen, Burchard Tang, Joel Link, and Che-Hung Chen certainly did it justice a century later. With clever arrangements of instruments and rarely performed repertoire by Bowen, David Popper, Sergei Prokofiev, and Franz Schubert, this concert truly was one-of-a-kind.
INCANTATIONS OF A LONELY CELLIST
An avid adventurer, French cellist and composer Dominique de Williencourt has traveled to all the deserts of the world – and brought his cello with him. His distinctive style is playing Bach perched on a sand dune or rocky cliff-side, seeking a resonance with the landscape. In the only solo concert of the festival this summer, de Williencourt played some of his own compositions. His work is inspired by his extensive travels around the world. The late French music critic Jean-Luc Macia wrote of de Williencourt, “Refined and cultured virtuoso, Dominique de Williencourt impresses in concert by his probity, the silky tones of his cello, and the elegance of his playing.”
PAST AND PRESENT
Our festival finale invited you to travel with us from the 1800s to the 2000s, enjoying compositions from late beloved composers and living composers played by a stellar mix of musicians. Among other gems, this concert featured a piece for viola, cello, and piano by composer Tina Davidson. Her music is characterized by emotional depth, lyricism, and authenticity, and she’s been acclaimed for her “vivid ear for harmony and colors” (The New York Times) and her works of “transfigured beauty” (OperaNews). And we concluded the season with the glorious Chausson Piano Quartet!
musicians, clever programming, Kingston Chamber Music Festival is sublime”
– Judith W (audience member), East Greenwich