If you ever have the chance to meet Charlie Stone of Lexington Kentucky, jump at it! He is not the mayor of Lexington, but he may as well be. He’s the founding director of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, and a magical man whom everyone, EVERYONE, here seems to love like family. And he’s created this amazing chamber music festival that seems to turn all of central Kentucky (and beyond) on its head. He and the festival’s founding violinist Nathan Cole have brought together this dizzyingly talented group of musicians–pianist Alessio Bax, violinist Akiko Tarumoto, violist Burchard Tang, cellist Priscilla Lee, this year’s guest artist tenor Nicholas Phan, and guest ensemble Windsync–plus a power team of other talented creative and organizational types, to make it all come together. It’s like this two-week city-wide party. This is no small city and I went into a downtown cafe yesterday–A Cup of Common Wealth (great cafe!)– and got talking with the two baristas, and it turns out they not only know of the festival but they already have their tickets. This town is chamber-music-mad!
Some highlights I’m really looking forward to (beyond the premiere of my own piece Boys’ Ambition) include: Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Nick Phan and Alessio Bax; the Ravel string quartet with Nathan Cole, Akiko Tarumoto, Burchard Tang, and Priscilla Lee; the Shostakovitch cello Sonata with Alessio and Priscilla; and some wild Wieniawski violin with Nathan and Alessio. Not to play favorites with the piece though. This is just what I’ve been hearing in rehearsals and it’s all sounding sublime already.