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Skaneateles Festival returns for 29th season

The Skaneateles Festival has made a name for itself over the years as one of the premier musical events in Central New York. The festival has offered a variety of chamber music throughout the years, bringing something new for audiences to enjoy.

What then, can the event bring this year that hasn't been seen?

According to Susan Mark, executive director of the festival, quite a lot.

Featured during the opening weekend is the all African-American group Imani Winds.

"These five performers came together 10 years ago to change the face of classical music, create a place for young musicians of color, and unleash the sound and soul of their particular story. So far hard work, luminous talent, and more than a little "imani" (Swahili for "faith"), both in themselves and their vision, have gotten them well on their way," a press release issued by the Festival said. The group will open the Festival with a concert free concert at 11 a.m. Thursday and another show Thursday night.

The opening weekend also features the adventurous Turtle Island Quartet, who perform everything from jazz, funk, R&B, rock, be-op, hip-hop, bluegrass, folk, to the music of Latin America and India. The quartet will perform a free community concert 2 p.m. Friday and concerts at 8 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Personally, I am a jazz lover, so I'm very excited about the first weekend," Mark said.

Co- Artistic Directors David Ying (cellist of the Grammy-winning Ying Quartet) and Elinor Freer (pianist and musical innovator), who recently won the Festival an Award for Adventurous Programming from Chamber Music America, have themed the festivals four weeks. Week One is "All that Jazz." Week two is "Word Play," focusing on how words from stories, poems, and even jotted notes can give rise to some of the most magnificent music ever written. Week two, "As the Century turns," explores musical and artistic culture in Europe, especially Vienna and Paris, just before and after 1900. The fourth and final week features artists chosen by last year's audience. The "Listener's Choice" week has concerts with Julie Albers, cello; Joanna Bassett, flute; Brian Chen, viola; Mark Fewer, violin; Elinor Freer, piano; Maureen Hurd, clarinet; Adam Neiman, piano; Harumi Rhodes, violin and David Ying, cello

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