I’m a huge fan of the festival, having first gone in 1980. It’s the classical music festival, held inside the mansions in Newport RI. It is a treasure of the music world due to it’s wonderful, unique programming and the supremely high level of the playing and players. Of course, it’s mostly due to Dr. Dr. Dr. Mark Malkovich, who has run it for something like 30 years.
This year it takes place from July 10-26 and if you can possibly go, you should.
Here is a list of the pianists performing this year:
Augustin Anievas, Edward Auer, Junghwa Moon Auer, John Bayless, Bernadene Blaha, Gergely Boganyi, Jean-Phillipe Collard, Jens Elvekjaer, Michael Endres, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, Eduardus Halim, Alain Jacquon, Jakov Kakoulov, Pedja Muzijevic, Daniel del Pino, Igor Tkachenko and Grigorios Zamparas.
This does not include singers, cellists etc etc of real reknown.
The secret of most great experiences, whether its music, a festival or a piano, is the application of a distinct personality and the Newport Festival has the stamp of Mark Malkovich Senior all over it. For 30 some years Mark has sculpted a deliciously unique festival based on his deep love of music, his encyclopedic knowledge of the repertoire and his sense of humor in creating programs and assembling performers. The result is a combination of sublime standard repertoire and humorous, provoking and sometimes just downright perplexing choices of little known pieces by well known, and sometimes little known composers. While many of these pieces are not in the mainstream for a reason, many of them are delightful and often thrilling.
Frequently one of the reasons pieces are not well known is that they are fiendishly difficult. One of the hallmarks of being in residence at Newport is that you (must) play a vast number of pieces, many of which are real bears that you will most likely not play again. But what comes out is a festival full of surprises, gems, delights and groaningly witty and sophisticated puns.
But make no mistake, Mark knows his stuff and the list of US debuts of major artists at Newport is legendary.
During my time at Yamaha, I collaborated with Mark to present a series of recitals at Alice Tully Hall in New York. The goal was to show the Yamaha CFIIIS concert piano in mainstream professional settings and Mark had the connections with the artists. We presented the great Sergio Fiorentino twice and Dubravka Tomsic literally brought the house down. If you don’t know those names, you’re in for a treat. Maestro Fiorentino sadly died about 10 years ago but Tomsic is thriving in her native Ljubljana.
The festival is held inside the various Newport mansions and, I promise you, is a real treat.