The concert kicked off the KiptonART Salon Series, which dates back to the popular salon concerts that were held in the 18th century. The KiptonART Music Series launched in July with concert pianist Lang Lang. The goal of the series is to break down classical music barriers, integrating the form into mainstream culture. Founder Kipton Cronkite has created a foundation to raise money for the arts.
Bell pointed to the surrounding artwork hanging on his walls of original autographs, photos and programs that corresponded to works he played, such as Maurice Ravel's "Gypsy" song and Leonard Bernstein's "Maria" and "Tonight" from "West Side Story," and explained his inspiration behind performing each piece. Before playing Jules Massenet's "Meditation" from the opera "Thais," Bell joked that he felt "a bit nervous" performing this in front of Fleming. "Maybe next time we can do something here together," he said.
After Bell's half-hour performance, Close introduced herself to Fleming and the two chatted at length, with a surprising degree of warmth; albeit, they are stars of different stages.
Adding to the musical glamour quotient was Lang, who arrived after dinner to celebrate his friend's birthday.