Atlanta Life and Culture

The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.

Classical notes: Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony


International musicians join Atlantans for Highlands-Cashiers fest

Metro residents attending the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival just over the Georgia line in western North Carolina frequently enjoy seeing and hearing favorite Atlanta musicians in its intimate concert settings.

That should be true yet again at this summer’s 34th edition, running July 5 through Aug. 9, with artists including Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Coucheron and pianist Elizabeth Pridgen, the Atlanta Chamber Players artistic director. But the 27-concert lineup orchestrated by William Ransom of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta also is unusually strong in international artists making their festival debuts, notably including:

  • Russian violinist Roman Kim, who will make his U.S. bow at the fest. Kim’s energetic and daring playing garners great responses from fellow musicians and others. Comments about a video of the violinist performing Paganini’s “God Save the King” (in which he even uses his teeth to pluck strings) on include: “Holy @#&%! I’d better get off this computer and start practicing again!” “Alien,” “Can’t help but think that this is a reincarnation of Paganini” and “Holy shiitake mushrooms!”

  • The Ariel Quartet, formed in Jerusalem in 1998 and now quartet in residence at the Cincinnati Conservatory. They received the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award in 2013.

  • Andres Cardenes, the Cuban-born violinist who served as Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concertmaster and has appeared as a soloist with more than 100 orchestras across four continents.

Information: 828-526-9060,

Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony playing Carnegie Hall

The Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony (AYWS), conducted by music director Scott Stewart, will appear at New York’s Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. June 6.

George Curran, the former Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist who now plays with the New York Philharmonic, will join the youth symphony to perform David Gillingham’s “Vital Signs of Planet Earth,” which was written for him. And National Symphony Orchestra principal timpanist Jauvon Gilliam and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra principal timpanist Mark Yancich will perform James Oliverio’s “Dynasty Double Timpani Concerto.”

Also on the program are works by two Atlanta natives associated with the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony: “Moth” by 24-year-old composer Viet Cuong and “afterlight” by William Pitts. The AYWS will also perform Bruce Broughton’s Harlequin, Oscar Navarro’s Downey Overture, Grainger’s Children’s March, and Stephen Paulus’ Mosaic, which will be presented in memoriam.

Comprised of 85 students in grades 9 through 12, the AYWS was founded as a metro honor wind ensemble in 1988. It made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2005.

Tickets, $25: 212-247-7800,

Reader Comments ...

About the Blog

The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.