The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington started Thursday, embarking on the biggest overhaul of the event since it started in 2007.
Two years ago, the festival began to be preceded by impromptu concerts by a chamber group in addition to the festival’s core ensemble, led by Lexington native Nathan Cole, first associate concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. This year, the prelude is being morphed into the festival proper to create an 11-day multi-venue event that starts Friday night on the lawn of the Loudoun House, with beer, barbecue and music from ensemble-in-residence WindSync. Beer, barbecue and classical music: that’s how we roll in the Bluegrass.
Instead of running on consecutive days, the festival’s centerpiece concerts at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion on Newtown Pike will be spaced out Wednesday, Friday and the following Sunday, with other performances by the festival’s longstanding core ensemble and WindSync surrounding those events.
As it did last year, WindSync has a series of performances set throughout Lexington in the coming week, including a rush-hour performance at A Cup of Commonwealth Coffee Shop and Thoroughbred Park at 8:30 a.m. Monday and a fund-raising performance for the group at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Green Tree Tea Room. A schedule of all performances can be found at the festival website.
The Houston-based quintet also will be part of events at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion when things get rolling there next week with the festival ensemble — Cole, violinist Akiko Tarumoto, cellist Priscilla Lee, violist Burchard Tang, and pianist Alessio Bax.
Windsync will be part of the opening concert, which Cole, the festival’s artistic director, says works well because of this festival’s focus on music of Los Angeles, from early 20th-century master Maurice Ravel to 21st-century star Jeff Beal, known for his work on the Netflix series House of Cards.
The catalyst for the L.A. focus was SoCal-based composer-in-residence Adam Schoenberg plus Cole and Tarumoto, Cole’s wife and a fellow L.A. Phil violinist, who are based in Los Angeles and got to know the scene there firsthand. We’ll have more on Schoenberg and LA this weekend in the Herald-Leader and at LexGo.com.
In addition to Schoenberg, who was in town this spring for a world premiere with the Lexington Philharmonic as part of the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence partnership between the orchestra and chamber fest, the festival welcomes two other guest artists this year. Harpist Allegra Lilly has wrapped up her first year as principal harp of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and soprano Karen Slack is the first Lexington-based artist on the festival program. Read more about her next week.