Violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform in the opening concert of the 2007 Britt Classical Festival. - Photo by Colin Bell

Britt Classical season to open

Every August, more than 100 professional musicians from the country's premier orchestras team up with guest soloists for Britt Festivals' classical music under the stars.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti will be the guest artist when the Britt Festivals' classical season opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, on the hillside in Jacksonville. Benedetti, who was born in Scotland of Italian heritage and lives in London, was named the BBC's Young Musician of the Year in 2004.

Pianist Norman Krieger will join the Britt Orchestra the following night, Aug. 4. The Los Angeles native won the gold medal at the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition in 1987, became a top recording artist and went on to play with the top symphony orchestras in North America and around the world.

The classical season runs through Aug. 19. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. except for the family concert planned for Aug. 18, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Most shows have a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. Here's a schedule of the performers:

Aug. 10 — Pianist Jeffrey Kahane, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, will be the featured artist in a program of Griffes' "The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan," Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World."

Aug. 11 — In "Opera's Greatest Stars," Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey will perform pieces from Berlioz, Boito, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Berlin, among others.

Aug. 17 — In "Among Friends," Britt Concertmaster Ignace Jang and principal cellist Naomi Barron will perform the Double Concerto of Johannes Brahms.

Aug. 18 — Guest conductor John McLaughlin Williams leads Canada's Platypus Theatre in a family concert of pieces by Vivaldi, Mozart, Bizet and Ravel, among others.

Aug. 19 — Violinist Sarah Chang performs Sibelius' Violin Concerto. Program also includes three pieces by Ravel and Sibelius' "Valse Triste."

Tickets are $39, $36 reserved, $25 lawn, and $14 for children. Call 773-6077 or see brittfest.org.

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