In a festival first, Newport Music to launch a full-year schedule of concerts this September

NEWPORT, R.I. — After Newport Music Festival sold out tickets to their summer festival this year, the classical music organization decided that for the first time, they would be taking their shows from a summer-only performance to a year-round series.

The expansion will begin when they launch a September through May chamber series at the organization’s new home base, the Recital Hall at Emmanuel Church in Newport. There will also be a full schedule of free community concerts that will be held in the green spaces around Aquidneck Island.

According to festival executive director Gillian Friedman Fox, who was hired last winter, board president Suzanna Laramee and Emmanuel Church rector Della Wager Wells has spent the last year working on bringing full-year programming to life.

“The Recital Hall at Emmanuel Church is the perfect year-round home for the Newport Music Festival and opens doors for additional programming, education initiatives, and social gatherings that wouldn’t otherwise be possible,” said Fox Thursday.

She said she believes that relocating the organization into the “heart of Newport” and launching a concert series, the festival will be able to “further cement our role in the cultural fabric of the community.”

Fox, who is from New Jersey, has received national attention for curating programs that featured cutting-edge artists and visuals as Dallas Symphony Orchestra director of Cotemporary and SOLUNA programs.

Fox has been leading an effort to diversify the Festival, with new work commissioned by woman composer or a composer of color to demonstrate the as a commitment to the future of classical music.

The first concerts to be announced include three chamber series concerts and a community concert, which will be held at Miantonomi Memorial Park in Newport. Performers include Thalea String Quartet, The Westerlies, violinist Kristin Lee, and pianist Sara Davis Buechner, among others.

Tickets will go on sale August 3. Single tickets will start at $45 and a three-concert package is available for $125.

The festival organizers will also coordinate educational programs with each visiting by creating a “residency model” that is designed to leave a meaningful footprint in the community, such as “offering under-resourced children the opportunity to have interactive encounters with a variety of musicians.”

Gillian Friedman Fox, the new executive director of the Newport Music Festival.Nathan Lutz

Newport Music Festival’s fall schedule:

  • Thalea String Quartet – Chamber Series Concert: The Quartet will bring together artists of Nigerian, Venezuelan, Japanese and Canadian heritage. Date: Friday, Sept. 10
  • The Westerlies – Free Community Concert: The Westerlies will present a “bold and ferociously unique vision” of brass, as works originally written for string quartet, solo piano, and the human voice. Date: Sunday, Sept. 12
  • Kristin Lee – Chamber Series Concert: Kristen Lee is a violinist and 2015 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, as well as top prizewinner of the 2012 Walter W. Naumburg Competition. and the Astral Artists’ 2010 National Auditions. Date: Friday, Oct. 8
  • Sara Davis Buechner – Chamber Series Concert: Sara Davis Buechner has been at the festival before, and is a known favorite, according to organizers. She will return for a solo piano recital, feature works by Dvorak, Gershwin, Mozart, and Federico Longa. Date: Friday, Nov. 19

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.

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