The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, now in its 8th season, is the only such Festival in the US to premiere a new commissioned work by a leading American composer every season.  Held every August in Lexington, Kentucky, the Festival brings together a quintet of nationally recognized musicians to offer Central Kentuckians three formal concerts at the beautiful Fasig-Tipton Pavilion in the famed Bluegrass horse country, pop-up concerts by its Ensemble-in-Residence, educational programs, and a world class guest artist.  Its core group of musicians is led by Music director Nathan Cole, first Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Pianist Alessio Bax, violist Burchard Tang, cellist Priscilla Lee, and violinist Akiko Taramoto complete the ensemble. A guest artist, generally proficient in another instrument, is invited each year to compliment the group. Past guest artists have included famed clarinetist Alexander Fitterstein; Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Double Bass with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Andrew Bain, Principal Horn with the LA Philharmonic .

The 2014 renewal of the Festival welcomes back WindSync, who appeared last summer to great acclaim. The Houston-based wind quintet has been called “revolutionary chamber musicians” by the Houston Chronicle, WindSync recently won the prestigious Concert  Artists Guild competition, and had their Carnegie Hall debut in November of 2013 in Weill Recital Hall.

WindSync will join the core group for a combined concert at Fasig-Tipton Pavilion during the Festival’s second week. That core group features the same accomplished musicians who have entertained Lexington audiences since the beginning. Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Akiko Tarumoto, also violinist with the LA Phil; Burchard Tang, violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra; and cellist Priscilla Lee, of Trio Cavatina. Alessio Bax, the spectacular concert pianist, will be returning as well.

Guest Artist for the 2014 concerts is Allegra Lilly, who was appointed Principal Harpist of the St. Louis Symphony in April 2013. Since making her solo debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1997, she has earned distinction as an award-winning and versatile performer of solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire. An experienced orchestral harpist, Ms. Lilly has appeared with the New York Philharmonic; the Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Charlotte Symphonies; and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, under such celebrated conductors as Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

As well, this year we are pleased to welcome soprano Karen Slack to our Sunday afternoon stage. Hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, a seamless legato and great dramatic depth, young American soprano Karen Slack was most recently heard in the title role of Tosca and as Leonora in Il trovatore with Arizona Opera, Mahler Symphony No. 2 with The Latvian National Symphony, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Alabama Symphony, and as Aida with West Bay Opera. She made her Metropolitan Opera and international radio broadcast debuts in the title role of Verdi’s Luisa Miller, and made her Carnegie Hall debut as Agnes Sorel in Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, a role she also performed with the San Francisco Opera.

Performances by the Ensemble-in-Residence will happen in the form of pop-up concerts during their week-long residence. These shows will be announced anywhere from two weeks to an hour before. Check the Festival website here for updates on where the Ensemble-in-Residence will be playing.

The traditional-style concerts will take place in the world-renowned Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion, situated in Kentucky’s beautiful bluegrass horse country. You can find a schedule of performances for the second week here.