chamber-jesse-millsThis year’s Chamber Music Festival Series once again promises to fill the USCB Performing Arts Center with the finest music played by internationally acclaimed artists.  The season will offer works by composers from Mozart to Luciano Berio, prize-winning artists including baritone Randal Scarlata and violinist Kyung Sun Lee and donor receptions with the artists highlighted by a soiree at one of Beaufort’s finest eighteenth-century homes.

The University of South Carolina Beaufort Festival Series will open its 32nd season on November 7 at 5:00 in the Performing Arts Center.  The evening’s performance offers a great variety of composers, with exquisitely crafted classical period masterworks by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven anchoring the program.  Colorful and fascinating works from the twentieth century by Bartok , Villa-Lobos, and Giya Kanchelli will complete the evening’s performance.


Internationally acclaimed artists who come to the PAC from major concert halls around the world will play.  A great favorite with the Lowcountry audience, violinist Jesse Mills, and newcomers to the chamber-marya-martinSeries, flutist Marya Martin and violinist and violist Theodore Arm, will join Artistic Director and cellist Edward Arron.

Grammy-nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classic to contemporary, as well as composing and improvising music of his own invention.  He has been a soloist with major orchestras throughout the USA and has joined with a great variety of chamber musicians for performances at prestigious venues in Europe such as the Barbican Centre in London, La Cite de la Musique in Paris and Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.  Beginning his violin studies at age three, he studied with Dorothy DeLay, Robert Mann and Itzhak Perlman and is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

World-renown flutist and artistic director of the well-known Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Marya Martin studied the flute with Pierre Rampal and James Galway and has appeared as soloist and as chamber musician in major concert halls and at music festivals throughout the world. She is presently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.  She has recorded for Orion Master Recordings, arabesque and the Musical Heritage Society.

chamber-theodore-armVeteran chamber musician Theodore Arm, playing both violin and viola, has been a member of the highly acclaimed chamber group TASHI since 1976 and has toured with Lukas Foss, Chick Corea and Gary Burton throughout Europe and Asia.  He recently performed in Poland and Russia at the invitation of the Moscow Conservatory.  Mr. Arm holds a Doctorate in Performance from the Juilliard School where he studied with Christine Dethier and Joseph Fuchs.  He has recorded for RCA, Delos, Ko Musical Heritage Society and ECM.

The USCB Performing Arts Center on Carteret Street is remarkable for its superb acoustics and Steinway concert grand piano.  Concert dates are November 7th, December 12th, February 20th, March 27th and May 1.  Complete program information is available at www.uscb.e/festivalseries.  Subscriptions and individual tickets can be ordered through Staci Breton at 843-208-8246/

The USC Beaufort Chamber Music Series is not a profit-making venture.  Ticket-sales cover only part of the expenses.  Through the years it has depended upon the kindness and generosity of its friends: the University, local corporate advertisers, and individual donors, who become Friends of the Festival with their donations.

This year the Friends of the Festival will be holding three receptions with the artists for 2010-11 Friends at various levels of giving.  Following the November concert, all Friends of the Festival are invited to a reception with the artists at the home of Lila Meeks, directly behind the PAC. On the eve of the February concert, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Pollak will host a gala at their home, the historic Elizabeth Barnwell Gough House on Washington Street.  Guests for this very special evening will include all Friends at the Patron level or higher and Edward Arron, Rieko Aizawa, Danielle Farina, Catherine Cho and Kyung Sun Lee, who will perform in the ballroom during the evening’s festivities.  For information about the Friends and receptions, please call Lila Meeks at 843-522-0779.

From its founding in 1979 by USCB Professor Mary Whisonant, the Festival Series has presented chamber-edward-arroninternationally renowned artists such as pianists Jean Yves Thibaudet and Richard Goode, violinist Joshua Bell, flutist Paula Robison, cellist Carter Bray and the Emerson, Tokyo and St. Lawrence String Quartets.  For several of the early years, performances were held at area banks and churches. In 1983 with the growth of membership and the opening of the USCB Performing Arts Center, the venue was moved to the Center.   After Professor Whisonant’s retirement, Beaufortonian Harriet Keyserling prevailed upon Mr. Wadsworth to assume directorship and bring to Beaufort the chamber music riches he had unearthed for New York’s Lincoln Center and Charleston’s Spoleto.   The quality of the music and the talents of the artists have surprised and delighted audiences throughout the Whisonant and Wadsworth tenures and have continued to do so since Mr. Wadsworth’s retirement under the leadership of Edward Arron, who directed and hosted the 2009-2010 Series.

As one of the nation’s significant young chamber musicians himself and as the Artistic Director for the Metropolitan Museum’s Artists in Concert Series for the past seven seasons, he is uniquely qualified to attract new talents to the mix and to ensure the continued high standard of the Festival Series.  His first season as Artistic Director was a grand success, and his second promises nothing less.

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