Classic concerts at Music on the Hill

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I will always be grateful to Gerry Pellegrino for turning me on to chamber music. One day, after a tennis match many years ago, he invited me to attend a Music on the Hill concert. I went and have been enjoying the series every year since.

What makes the event, which has been occurring in Cranston and Warwick for 44 years, special is that the artists are former Rhode Islanders who have achieved success around the world and have brought their friends and colleagues back home with them.

Artistic Director John M. Pellegrino has put together a wide range of musicians who perform both familiar and seldom-heard classical pieces, giving each of the seven concerts a unique touch.

I was at the Sunday night concert at St. Gregory the Great Church in Warwick for the “Brahms & More” concert, highlighted by Brahms Trio for clarinet (Daniel Gilbert), cello (Keith Robinson) and piano (Donna Lee) in A Minor Opus. 114, which concluded with a sustained standing ovation by the appreciative audience.

The first half of the program consisted of short pieces (5 to 10 minutes long) by a variety of composers who were born from 1797 (Schubert) to 1963 (Svante Henryson). Henryson’s “Off Piste” was five minutes of pure delight, featuring Daniel Gilbert on clarinet and Keith Robinson on cello.

I’ll be at Cranston’s Immaculate Conception Church this week (too late for deadline) for concerts featuring music by Bach, Mozart and sonatas by Chopin and others.

You still have time to catch three more concerts this week, including tonight’s (Thursday) program featuring works by Rhode Island composers at St. Gregory’s Church at 7 p.m. and Friday’s “Rich and Romantic” concert at Warwick’s St. Rose and Clement Church at 7 p.m.

Tickets are only $25 at the door. A special feature is the colorful program that tells you about each composer and their creations, plus backgrounds of all the musicians. They also tell you the length of the piece.

The Narragansett Brass Quintet will close out the festival with a lawn concert at the Clouds Hill Mansion, 4157 Post Road in Warwick, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 10. You are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets and maybe a picnic lunch. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at St. Gregory’s Church. For further information go to www.musiconthehillri.org.

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