The Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, two hours away and just over the Georgia line in western North Carolina, will have new temptations this year for Atlantans seeking a summer mountain getaway. Organized by William Ransom of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta, the 33rd edition will run from June 27 through Aug. 3.
Highlights of the 24-concert series include:
- The festival’s first July 4th weekend concerts, titled “Musical Fireworks” on July 5-6, will feature Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Coucheron and his pianist sister, Julie.
- “Jazz Meets Classics: Sax in the Mountains” features saxophonists Will Scruggs and Leo Saguiguit with pianists Gary Motley and Elena Cholakova, July 18-19.
- The Grammy Award-winning Parker String Quartet performs in concert July 20-21, then gives an an afternoon children’s concert and an informal evening performance at Buck’s Coffee Cafe (both free) on July 22.
- “CelloMania,” a concert featuring six cellists led by Sara Sant’Ambrogio of the Eroica Trio, will be held July 27-28.
- Violinist Tim Fain, musical star of the Academy Award-winning film “12 Years a Slave,” will share an “American Idols” program (in this case, meaning composers including Philip Glass and Aaron Copland) with pianist Ransom on Aug. 1-2. Fain also will play during the Final Gala Concert on Aug. 3, featuring the Festival Chamber Orchestra giving the fest’s first-ever performance of Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin and Piano. A dinner follows the concert.
- A Country Meets Classics” program will be inaugurated after the festival proper, on Aug. 10, a benefit concert featuring Nashville’s Blended 328 sharing a bill with the Vega String Quartet. One ticket option includes barbecue and beer.
Information: 828-526-9060, www.h-cmusic festival.org.