Saving the Best for Last

Another sensational season of the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival is drawing to a close, and its finale is fireworks-spectacular.  The concluding concerts will be held August 4 through 6.

Zuill Bailey, David Coucheron, and the Vega String Quartet will be performing Friday and Saturday, and for Sunday’s final gala concert and dinner they’ll joined by Helen Kim on violin and Tania Clements on viola.

Grammy award-winner Bailey grew up in a family of musicians and, as he says, had his first run-in with a cello as he was running backstage at a concert at the age of four.  The cello was broken, but his enthusiasm wasn’t.  The rest is history.  He is considered one of the premier cellists in the world, is a distinguished soloist, recitalist, artistic director, and teacher.

Violinist David Coucheron, Concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony, has often taken the festival stage with his sister, Julie.  Coucheron plays a 1725 Stradivarius and has given solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and other venues around the world.  He serves as the Artistic Director for the Kon Tiki Chamber Music Festival in his hometown of Oslo, Norway.

The Vega String Quartet, a favorite of Highlands-Cashers Chamber Music Festival audiences for many years, is the quartet-in-residence at Emory University.  Following their concerts this week, they will return in October for a fall mini-residency.  They have won numerous international awards and collaborate with some of the world’s finest musicians.

The Gala and Dinner on Sunday, August 6, begins at 5:00 P.M.  Helen Kim and Tania Clememts add their own spice to the evening by blending their talents with the musicians of Friday and Saturday.  Dinner will follow the concert at Highlands Falls Country Club.

Violinist Helen Kim is the Associate Professor of Violin for the School of Music at Kennesaw State University.  She has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops at Boston’s Symphony Hall, as well as with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras.

On viola is Tania Clements, Coordinator of Strings for Georgia State University.  She has a prolific recording career and appears on almost one hundred CDs covering orchestral, solo, and chamber repertoire.  Upcoming projects include a CD of solo viola, piano, and chamber works by Atlanta composer Nickitas J. Demos as well as two concertos specially commissioned for her. 

For more information on the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, visit or call (828) 526-9060.