Newport Classical rebrand: year-round concerts, composer commissions, work with local students

Posted on: May 2, 2022

“The concert had already begun at Emmanuel Church in Newport … [and] in the glow of the church’s purple stained glass, a quartet of saxophones rang out,” writes Antonia Ayres-Brown in Wednesday’s (4/27) The Public’s Radio (Providence, RI). Featuring the Sinta Quartet, the April concert “was completely free to the public, put on by the local organization Newport Classical.… For many of the listeners, it was their first time hearing saxophones play classical music. ‘I was like, “Woah, what is that dude doing?” ’ said Newport local Peter Bartram…. Gillian Friedman Fox, the executive director of Newport Classical, says … they aim to … help people experience new forms of classical music…. The organization … has … undergone a complete rebrand…. Until 2021, it was called the Newport Music Festival… Last September, Newport Classical launched a year-round chamber series…. Professional musicians also visit local public schools to meet with students and give workshops…. The organization [is] commissioning a new work annually by a composer of color or woman composer. This year, composer Shawn Okpebholo will debut a piece inspired by the 19th-century composer Newport Gardner, who was formerly enslaved and later established a music school in Newport.”