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KINGSTON â€“ The Kingston Chamber Music Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The festival kicked off Wednesday night at the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Fine Arts Center with a sold out concert.
This yearâ€™s concert series includes a special founders concert to mark the return of celebrated founder, violinist David Kim, and the debut of a gifted newcomer, 23-year-old violinist Benjamin Beilman.
â€śWeâ€™re celebrating the return of violinist David Kim,â€ť said Brian Mitchell, the festivalâ€™s managing director.
Mitchell said Kim would perform in the first three concerts, the Founders Concert and concert six. This year, there will be seven concerts in total, including the Founders Concert.
Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the festivalâ€™s artistic director until 2008, opened the two-week festival July 24, taking the solo lead in Vivaldiâ€™s â€śFour Seasons.â€ť Kim will also perform in four other concerts, including a special Founders Concert today, July 25, at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Old North Road in Kingston.
The Founders Concert will feature Kim, pianist Gail Niwa, who helped Kim start the festival, cellist Priscilla Lee and current artistic director of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Natalie Zhu. A reception will follow the concert. Kim and company will perform works by Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn and Massenet.
Tickets to the Founders Concert are $100 with proceeds benefitting the Kingston Chamber Music Festival.
The regular concert series will resume with performances Friday, July 26, Sunday, July 28, Wednesday, July 31, Friday, Aug. 2, and Sunday, Aug. 4, all at 8 p.m. at URIâ€™s Fine Arts Center.
Violinist Beilman, a recent first prize winner at several international competitions, will appear at the festivalâ€™s last three concerts, including Aug. 2, when he will negotiate Bachâ€™s intricate Chaconne for solo violin on Aug. 2.
â€śItâ€™s a fiendishly difficult work for solo violin,â€ť Mitchell said. â€śIt features a lot of whatâ€™s called double stops, itâ€™s almost like playing two things at once. Bach, when he composed this deliberately, he wanted to make it difficult. Iâ€™m sure it will be a sensational part of next weekâ€™s festival.â€ť
The two violinists, Kim and Beilman, will appear together to close the festival on Aug. 4 as part of a fabulous quartet of violinists in Mendelssohnâ€™s beloved Octet. Joining Kim and Beilman on violin for what has been dubbed â€śMendelssohn Madness,â€ť will be Joseph Lin, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, and Jasmine Lin, a favorite with Kingston audiences.
Also making a Kingston debut in 2013 will be New York Cityâ€™s Talea Ensemble, one of the premiere contemporary music groups in the country, on July 26, as part of a special concert featuring all women composers, and on July 28.
In all, 23 artists from major orchestras and ensembles will participate in the two-week festival.
â€śEverybody, particularly David [Kim], is so excited to come back and see all the people,â€ť Mitchell said while they musicians were in rehearsal Tuesday. â€śTheyâ€™re here and rehearsing and everything is going well.â€ť
For tickets or more information, visit www.kingstonchambermusic.org, call 789-0665, Tickets are $25 â€“ or less with a subscription to multiple concerts - are also normally available at the door on the night of each concert.