Newport Music Festival celebrates 50 years

NEWPORT – In her inaugural season as executive director of the Newport Music Festival, Pamela A. Pantos will celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary with 40-plus concerts, including free events, all in two and a half weeks.

While hired in May 2017, the forthcoming season, which runs from July 4 to July 22, will be Pantos’ first leading the nonprofit.

“For the Newport Music Festival devotee and for those who have yet to join us, our festival will feature revelations, not only on the genesis and forgotten history of the festival, but where we are headed as an organization,” said Pantos in prepared remarks.

A former mezzo soprano opera singer, Pantos’ arts organization leadership includes serving as the vice president of Hollywood, Calif.-based Arts Consulting Group and executive director of Opera North in Lebanon, N.H. She holds multiple degrees, including an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.

- Advertisement -

The special anniversary season includes performances by Joshua Bell, Imani Winds, Jake Heggie, Charlie Albright and Frederica von Stade. Additional highlights of the season include the following:

  • Fourth of July Opening Festival Concert Celebration with Boston Brass
  • Sunrise Concerts at the Chinese Tea House on July 6, 13 and 20
  • An evening with legendary mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade and composer and pianist Jake Heggie on July 7
  • The highly anticipated return of A Far Cry, who will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 3 on July 8
  • Free “From the Porch” concerts at the Newport Art Museum on July 10 and 17
  • Bernstein Centennial Concert with excerpts from “West Side Story” and “Anniversaries” and featuring pianist Jeffrey Siegel on July 12
  • The Newport debut of South Korean pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, the gold medalist of the 2017 Van Cliburn Competition, on July 12
  • Grammy-nominated Imani Winds makes its Newport debut at The Breakers on July 13
  • Young Persons’ Concert featuring pianist Jeffrey Siegel on July 14
  • Joshua Bell headlines the Newport Music Festival Gala on July 15
  • Festival Ensemble-in-Residence Summer Strings performs everything from Led Zeppelin to Michael Jackson to Brahms at Newport Vineyards on July 19
  • The Newport debut of pianist, composer and improviser Charlie Albright on July 21

Venues secured for 2018 include The Breakers, The Elms and the Chinese Tea House as well as Belcourt Castle and Ochre Court.

In recognition of half a century serving local and international music lovers who descend on the City by the Sea each summer, the festival has chosen to continue to offer free concerts. This year those events will be held on the Newport Art Museum lawn and include a special 4th of July kickoff party with the Boston Brass.

Adhering to tradition, the Mark P. Malkovich III Memorial Concert, an event which reasserts the organization’s commitment to bringing emerging artists to Newport, will take place. The 2018 honoree is Yekwon Sunwoo, gold medalist of the 2017 Van Cliburn Competition, who will be making his Newport debut.

For tickets and more information, visit

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email,