2016-10-13 / Front Page

Music Festival’s Winter Series Debuts

By Betsy Sherman Walker

Irina Muresanu performs Oct. 18 at St. Matthew's Church in Jamestown. Irina Muresanu performs Oct. 18 at St. Matthew's Church in Jamestown. The Newport Music Festival’s Winter Series 2016-2017 launches on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at Saint Matthew’s Church in Jamestown, with a performance by violinist Irina Muresanu and pianist Roberto Plano. According to Festival Director Mark Malkovich IV, this will be either the Winter Series’ 23rd or 24th year.

“It began in either the winter of 1992 or 1993,” Malkovich said, “at the behest of the Newport Winter Festival and Evan Smith at the Visitors Bureau. Evan approached Dad and asked, ‘Couldn’t you do a little series in the wintertime?’”

“Dad liked Evan so much,” Malkovich added, “that he couldn’t say no.” Dad, of course, was Mark Malkovich III, who from 1975 until his death in 2010 was the face of the Newport Music Festival. Mark the younger has been there since 2008, and director since 2010.

Once a musician has performed during the summer, he or she becomes a member of the festival’s “Family of Artists.” “People really want the opportunity to see worldclass artists throughout the year,” Malkovich says, “and not just during the Festival in July.” He believes the success of the Winter Series lies partially in the fact that “people do like to come back and see old friends.”

The Oct. 18 program, entitled “Rorem, Ravel, and Rags!” will feature Muresanu and Plano. The duo met and played together for the first time at The Elms in the summer of 2015. She had never played Ravel’s “Tzigane” before that night. “They clicked,” Malkovich said. “It was electric. People were screaming– at The Elms. They killed it.” And now, he added, they are touring together. Together they will play classical music mixed with American blues, Spanish melodies, and gypsy melodies.

On Friday, Feb. 10, from 6-9 p.m., “Boyd Meets Girl” will feature cellist Laura Metcalfe and guitarist Rupert Boyd, who are newlyweds as well as festival newcomers. Their program will include works by Radamés Gnattali, Astor Piazzolla, and J. S. Bach. Their performance will be preceded by a reception given by Friends of the Newport Music Festival at 6 p.m.

In late March, Spanish pianist Daniel del Pino will perform and the final night of the series in April will feature English pianist Tim Carey, playing works by Beethoven, Scarlatti, Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Saint Matthew’s Church and the Jamestown Community Piano Association are the series’ co-hosts. “They have been so welcoming,” Malkovich said. “I just can’t thank them enough.”

“I’ve always had a dream of my own little perfect space,” he added. “A little chamber music hall that could bring people in all the time.”

Saint Matthew’s Church, he said, has a seating capacity of about 165. “The Breakers holds 350 for a concert. Except for when Victor Borge was here [in 1999]. There were 600 people, spilling out the doors, and hanging from the rafters.”

Visit the festival’s website at newportmusic.org. For ticket information call the festival box office at 401-849-0700, or email staff@newportmusic.org.

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