Newport, RI – Today, Newport Classical (formerly Newport Music Festival) announces its 2022 Newport Classical Music Festival, running from July 1-17, 2022. For its 54th season, Newport Classical Music Festival presents 24 concerts over 18 days, and will return for the first time since 2019 to the stunning interiors of Newport’s historic mansions and venues including The Breakers, Blithewold Mansion, The Elms, Castle Hill Inn, Chinese Tea House, Great Friends Meeting House, King Park, Newport Art Museum, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Redwood Library & Athenaeum, and Emmanuel Church. The full schedule is included below and available at www.newportclassical.org. Tickets will go on sale to the public on April 11.
Newport Classical has a rich legacy of musical curiosity, presenting the American debuts of over 130 international artists and rarely heard works, and is most well-known for hosting these summertime concerts. Since its founding in 1969, the organization has produced more than 3,000 concerts and hosted more than 1,200 musicians and singers. This year’s festival includes music by more than 40 women composers.
Executive Director Gillian Friedman Fox, now in her second year with Newport Classical, says, “I am thrilled to present a full summer season back inside our iconic venues and welcome several significant artists in their Newport debuts. In particular, this year I am looking forward to introducing our audiences to many rarely performed works by female composers. This summer continues our goal of connecting the core repertoire with works by living composers while placing a particular focus on elevating women in classical music and the role they have played in composition and performance throughout the centuries.”
In 2021, the organization launched a new commissioning initiative – each year, Newport Classical is commissioning a new work by a Black, Indigenous, person of color, or woman composer as a commitment to the future of classical music. This year, the commissioned composer is Shawn E. Okpebholo. Okpebholo is a critically acclaimed and award-winning composer whose music has been described as “devastatingly beautiful” and “fresh and new and fearless” (The Washington Post), and “staggering” (The New Yorker). He has been featured on PBS Newshour, and radio broadcasts across the country including NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. His new piece, written for Newport Classical, will be premiered on July 9 at The Breakers by Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán*. Okpebholo’s piece is inspired by Occramer Marycoo, an enslaved African in 18th-century Newport whose owner dubbed him Newport Gardner. Marycoo, despite his enslavement, became educated, spoke multiple languages, and became a trained classical musician. He is credited with being the first African-American person to have a composition published in the Western style, titled “Crooked Shanks.” Okpebholo says, “This work is inspired by ‘Crooked Shanks,’ though my approach reflects the paroles of the enslaved, the hope of freedom, and the return home.”
For the Festival’s annual, highly anticipated Opera Night, Newport Classical presents a concert performance of Puccini’s passionate La bohème at The Breakers. This year’s production was cast by Trevor Neal, Newport Classical Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement, who says, “One could hardly imagine a piece more quintessentially opera than Puccini’s La bohème. This lush score is both joyful and heartbreaking and the ideal score for our patrons to reconnect with timeless stories, or for the newcomer, experiencing it for the first time. Dane Suarez* and Shannon Jennings* lead this exceptional cast of artists who have performed these roles on major stages across this country and around the world. In her role debut, contralto Emily Geller* will perform the traditionally buffo roles of Benoit and Alcindoro, adhering to the optional early performance practice of Puccini’s Masterwork.”
Newport Classical’s popular Festival Artists program will also be making a return in 2022, with a reinvented framework. Five rising-star musicians will come to Newport for the duration of the Festival, performing in eight concerts, leading educational workshops for students and offering free programs for the community. This year’s artists are Gabriel Diaz (violin), Ariel Horowitz* (violin), Jordan Bak* (viola), Jacqueline Choi (cello) and Charles Kim* (piano).
Other highlights of this year’s festival include:
- Opening night at The Breakers with the GRAMMY Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra* featuring music in the style of and from the late Baroque Era, including acclaimed American violinist Chad Hoopes* as soloist in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
- The world-famous King’s Singers* from England, representing the gold standard in a cappella singing, in a brand new program featuring music spanning several centuries
- A Closing Night Celebration featuring star performers German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser* and Festival favorite Canadian virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin in a celebratory evening of duets by composers including Nadia Boulanger, Debussy, and Franck and a champagne toast at intermission
- An immersive program by Sō Percussion* in the oldest surviving house of worship in New England – Great Friends Meeting House – including music by Pulitzer-prize winner Julia Wolfe, rising star composers Viet Cuong and Nathalie Joachim, and Bryce Dessner, best known as a guitarist and songwriter in The National
- Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang,* praised for her “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), making her Newport debut in music by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Stravinsky and Aaron Jay Kernis
- Junction Trio – violinist Stefan Jackiw*, pianist Conrad Tao*, and cellist Jay Campbell* – three renowned visionary artists of the next generation, performing John Zorn, Ives, and Ravel
- The multi-Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet*, in the final performance of their Farewell season. Known for illuminating the connections between beloved works in the canon and fresh new repertoire by living composers, they will perform music by Eliza Brown, Dutilleux, Fanny Mendelssohn, Tomeka Reid, and Debussy.
- Sarah Cahill* in The Future is Female, a four-hour piano marathon at Newport Art Museum centered on music by women composers from around the globe, from the Baroque to the present day
- Black Oak Ensemble* in Silenced Voices, featuring music by six promising, early 20th century Jewish composers originally from Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands. A special conversation in collaboration with the Jewish Alliance of Rhode Island and Temple Shalom will be held earlier in the day
- Versatile Ukrainian-born pianist and Festival favorite Inna Faliks in a program tying together three centuries of music, and a range of social commentary, by composers including Clara Schumann, Ravel, Paola Prestini, Timo Andres, and Billy Childs
- 2015 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition-winner Dmitry Masleev* in his Newport debut, in a program that celebrates the prolific legacy of the great Russian composers Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, and Rachmaninov
- Harpist Emily Levin* in The Glass Salon, a program exploring the domestic roots of the harp, the stereotype of its femininity, and the female harpists and composers who championed its development, including solo works by Hannah Lash, Germaine Tailleferre, and Angélica Negrón
- Emi Ferguson*, Rachell Ellen Wong* and Baroque ensemble Ruckus* in Fly the Coop, a joyous, kaleidoscopic romp through some of Bach’s most playful and transcendent works
- Sunrise Concerts at Chinese Tea House, a free Fourth of July performance by Triton Brass at King Park, and a nature-inspired strings concert at Norman Bird Sanctuary
*making their Newport Classical Music Festival debut
Tickets will go on sale on April 11, 2022. Patrons may purchase tickets at www.newportclassical.org or by calling the Box Office at 401-849-0700.