BIG AND BOLD DESCRIBES MONDAY’S INTERMEZZO CONCERT

INTERMEZZO CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES, Vieve Gore Concert Hall, July 28

The theme was big and bold at Monday’s Intermezzo Chamber Music Series concert. Three works were on the program that put the technical skills of the Utah Symphony’s two percussionists, Eric Hopkins and Keith Carrick, to the test — as well as the keyboard prowess of three of Salt Lake City’s preeminent pianists, Vedrana Subotic, Kimi Kawashima and Karlyn Bond. All five gave tour de force performances, as did local tenor Brian Stucki, who opened the concert with Hopkins in Iannis Xenakis’ stirring Kassandra.

Brian Stucki

Based on the Greek myth of Cassandra, who was both blessed and cursed by the ability to foresee the future, the piece is scored for male voice and percussion. The singer has to depict both Cassandra and the elders, requiring the performer to extend his range by extensive falsetto singing as well as plumbing the depths of his range. He also has to on occasion accompany himself on a psaltery.

Stucki gave a powerful account, singing with conviction and imbuing his role with emotional and expressive depth. It’s a challenging role but Stucki made it his own.

The dramatic percussion part punctuates and complements the vocal line. Hopkins, too, gave a forceful and virtuosic performance that was vibrant and compelling.

The other two works on the program focused on the piano.

Vedrana Subotic

Subotic and Kawashima, along with the two percussionists, mesmerized the large audience in Vieve Gore Concert Hall with a stellar reading of Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. One of the composer’s most significant works, the sonata is a virtuosic piece for the four players. It’s effect lies in part in the intricate interplay among the four musicians, and this quartet of players were absolutely intuitive as collaborators.

The two pianists played with an intensity that captured the relentless drive of the music. That was mirrored in Hopkins and Carrick’s playing as well. All four underscored the energy of the work with their robust playing, while in the Lento movement they captured the mysterious otherworldliness that Bartók so deftly created.

For the final work, Nicolai Kapustin’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, Subotic teamed up with Bond, while Carrick played a trap set, leaving the array of percussion instruments in Hopkins’ hands.

Kapustin’s concerto is a whirlwind of jazz idioms and virtuosic writing for all four players. It’s an overwhelming piece that demands players of the highest technical and musical talent— and these four certainly delivered. It was another stunning performance of a work that is relentless in its high octane energy and rhythmic vitality.

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SUNDAY’S BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL CONCERT SPOTLIGHTS MUSICIANS’ ARTISTRY

BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, Temple Har Shalom, July 27; festival runs through Aug. 11, tickets at the door or at www.beethovenfestivalparkcity.org 

Sunday’s Beethoven Festival Park City concert gave the sizable audience in Temple Har Shalom a chance to hear two seldom played works: Igor Stravinsky’s Concertino and Manuel de Falla’s Concerto for Harpsichord.

First on the program was the Concertino, in an arrangement by the late Utah composer Ramiro Cortés for harpsichord (Pamela Jones), violin (Manuel Ramos), viola (Leslie Harlow), cello (Cheung Chau), flute (Lisa Byrnes), oboe (Robert Stephenson) and clarinet (Russell Harlow) — an ensemble that worked quite well for this piece.

Pamela Jones

The seven players gave a rhythmically vibrant and well crafted account that captured the dynamics of the instruments in both solo and ensemble contexts. It’s a tricky piece that requires deft and nimble playing by the group and they acquitted themselves marvelously. They played with finesse and polish and conveyed the character of the one-movement work, with its pungent harmonies and neoclassical framework, with conviction and impressive technique and musicality.

The same group, without Leslie Harlow, also played de Falla’s challenging concerto. The work is written on a grand scale, and the sextet played with large gestures and broad expressions. It was a bold performance that brought out the work’s intricacies of rhythm as well as its well crafted instrumental interplay. The players once again exhibited stunning ensemble play as they shaped each of the three movements and played with a consummate sense of lyricism and expressiveness. It was a nuanced and wonderfully crafted interpretation that did justice to the work.

Between these two Jones played a couple of short pieces: Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in C major and Giovanni Dettori’s Lady Gaga Fugue, written in 2011 in the style of a keyboard fugue by J.S. Bach.

The concert concluded with a spectacular reading of Claude Debussy’s String Quartet. Ramos and Chau were joined by violinist Monte Belknap and violist Leslie Harlow, and the four gave a beautifully crafted, expressive account that was wonderfully nuanced. There was passion and emotional depth in their reading, and the expressions were finely articulated and executed. This was a masterful interpretation that captured the evocative character of the work as well as its dynamics and vitality.

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RUSSIAN VIOLINIST HOPES TO ONE DAY BECOME U.S. CITIZEN

When violinist Elina Lev applied to get her green card she figured it would be a routine process. After all, she already had a temporary work permit and she was employed. At the time, she held a tenured position with the Charlotte Symphony as the associate concertmaster, and as far as she could see there didn’t seem to be anything that could jeopardize her application.

Elina Lev, currently the acting assistant concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, joins the San Francisco Symphony in August.

What she didn’t expect was that this was going to be the start of a multi-year nightmare. Her first application for a green card was denied outright.  Her second application, which she filed in December 2012, was also denied on the grounds that the Charlotte Symphony wasn’t prestigious enough and her position there didn’t meet the criteria for artists under the guidelines established by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

“How do you explain the importance of an orchestra to an agency?” said the 28-year-old Lev in an interview with Reichel Recommends. “The Charlotte Symphony is the biggest orchestra in the Carolinas and it plays a major role in the arts scene there. It is an important orchestra.”

Despite her ongoing struggle with the USCIS to obtain a green card, Lev has continued to practice her art. She left the Charlotte Symphony at the end of the 2012-13 season to join the Utah Symphony as tenure track section first violin. She was granted tenure in May of this year and then promoted to acting assistant concertmaster. During her time in Salt Lake City, Lev auditioned with the San Francisco Symphony, winning a position as a member of the second violin section. She joins her new orchestra on Aug. 31.

When her second application was eventually denied last March, Lev hired a new attorney who filed an appeal. This month, after a four-year battle, Lev was given an O-1 artist visa. This is a visa granted to an “individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements,” according to the USCIS website.

Lev is happy with the visa, but there is one drawback with it. An O-1 visa is only valid for three years. ”Mine expires on July 14, 2017,” she said. “After the first three years you can renew year to year, but it can be denied at any point. There are no guarantees, even if you have a tenured position.”

The St. Petersburg, Russia, native came to the United States on a student visa in 2006, when she was 20, to study with renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. “I started there in my junior year,” she said.

It was through her father that Lev became acquainted with Gluzman. “My father was a cellist in the St. Petersburg Philharmonic,” she said. “In 2005 they went on a tour to Estonia and Vadim was the soloist. After their return my father said Vadim’s was the most incredible violin playing he had heard in decades. His talent and musicality were amazing.” So Lev contacted Gluzman who said he’d be thrilled to have her as his student. “He was already teaching at [the Chicago College of Performing Arts]. I applied and was given a full scholarship.”

Lev said this was an important turning point in her life and career. “Vadim is more than a teacher. He is like a second father to me.” Lev’s own father passed away in 2011.

The uncertainty of her resident status has left its toll on Lev, emotionally and financially. “This has given me a good deal of anxiety,” she admitted. “I am full of hope, but I can’t be confident in anything I have no control over. This is something I hope no one else has to go through.”

She hopes that with a new attorney handling her case she can finally obtain her green card before her artist visa expires in three years. “I try to be optimistic,” Lev said. “I look forward to the day I can become a permanent resident and then a citizen.”

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VIOLINIST MANUEL RAMOS FEATURED AT THIS WEEK’S BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL

BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, Park City Community Church, July 24; festival runs through Aug. 11, tickets available at the door or at www.beethovenfestivalparkcity.org 

This week, the featured guest artist at the Beethoven Festival Park City is violinist Manuel Ramos. A long time member of the festival’s roster, Ramos’ innate musicality and remarkable technical acumen, along with the rich, velvety tone of his instrument, are always a welcome addition to the many exceptional performers who play at this annual event.

Manuel Ramos

At Thursday’s concert Ramos opened with a set of four pieces for violin and piano accompanied by University of Utah pianist Pamela Jones. Among the selections were a soulful rendition of Manuel Ponce’s Estrellita and a flashy account of Agustín Lara’s Granada.

Before intermission, Ramos and Jones were joined by clarinetist Russell Harlow and Utah Valley University cellist Cheung Chau in Federico Ibarra’s El Viaje Imaginaro (Imaginary Voyage). Written in 1994 the piece opens with a two-note fragment that is explored in some depth. It gradually evolves into something more intense and complex, before moving back to more tranquil musical thoughts. It gives one the sense of movement while remaining stationary.

The four gave a compelling account that brought cohesiveness to the work. It was articulate and well executed, and they brought out the nuances in tone, tempos and dynamics that are obviously crucial to the success of this piece.

After intermission, violist Leslie Harlow and Brigham Young University violinist Monte Belknap joined Ramos and Chau for a splendid reading of Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, op. 18, no. 6. The four exhibited marvelous ensemble play; they’re a well matched quartet with a keen sense of interpretation. Their playing was insightful and brought clearly defined depth and a sense of purpose to the work. It’s a tricky piece, to be sure, because there is more to it than one expects from an early Beethoven quartet, but the four brought out the score’s subtleties of rhythm and articulation with their refined and polished performance.

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SALT LAKE SYMPHONY TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR 2014-15 SEASON

The Salt Lake Symphony invites string players of all sections – violin, viola, cello and bass – to audition for its 2014-15 season. Auditions will be held on Aug. 19, 2014, beginning at 7 pm in Libby Gardner Concert Hall on the University of Utah campus.

Please contact Joyce at 801-250-9419 to schedule an audition.

For more information on the Salt Lake Symphony and its upcoming season log on to http://www.saltlakesymphony.org.

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WELL-TRAVELED BAGGAGE: A SEASONED VIOLINIST GETS SENTIMENTAL ABOUT HIS BSO EXPERIENCE

Gerald Elias

I don’t generally get maudlin over luggage. But after the final bows of Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Asia tour in May, I locked my wardrobe trunk and gave it an affectionate pat. This tour may well have been the brass-clad behemoth’s swansong.

Built like fortresses, BSO’s 25 trunks could last forever. Lined up backstage like dominoes, each one accommodates four musicians with two drawers and a clothes-hanging nook. Since many concert halls lack sufficient changing facilities for a hundred musicians, the trunks become makeshift dressing rooms.

Officially, only concert-related clothing and accessories are allowed in trunks. Unofficially, people have stuffed them with souvenirs, food, and drink. One BSO musician achieved fame (or infamy) by packing peanut butter and tuna to save meal money on tours. Skippy in Paris! Long ago, my No. 11 compartment was the domain of former colleague Gerald Gelbloom, who once forgot he’d packed a Carnegie Deli doggie bag of smoked fish until discovering it months later while readying for the next tour. Fortunately, the passage of 35 years has erased all offending olfactory traces.

If trunks could talk, what stories they’d tell! They crossed the Atlantic on the Île de France in 1952 for the BSO’s first European tour. And again in ’56 when Charles Munch and Pierre Monteux conducted 29 concerts in 35 days. In 1960, they departed for a mind-numbing 36 concerts in 26 cities from Japan to New Zealand. In 1979, there was a history-making, one-week sprint to China, when Beijing and Shanghai were clogged with bicycles, not smog and BMWs. Unlike any BSO member ever, only the wardrobe trunks have seen it all.

And what changes! In 1979, the nondescript, blue Mao uniform was China’s sole fashion. Now, Gucci and Deng Xiao Ping stand shoulder to shoulder in China’s pantheon of heroes. Shanghai is a futuristic cityscape of cloud-piercing skyscrapers, and within spitting distance from our Guangzhou hotel no fewer than eight, massive, semi-built monoliths were sprouting simultaneously. In comparison, Tokyo, a megalopolis of over 20 million, felt like a gracious, welcoming sea of tranquility where one could even find a subway seat, occasionally.

The seven-concert tour was a resounding success, whether Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, or Mahler were on the program. Chinese audiences were loud and rambunctious, and conductor Charles Dutoit needed to lead the musicians off the stage to terminate the adulation. Japanese audiences demonstrated appreciation more by longevity than volume, continuing to applaud until Maestro Dutoit returned to the stage to wave good-bye—after having changed into his street clothes.

Yet, the successes were bookended by barely averted disasters. Only three weeks before departure, venerable Maestro Lorin Maazel bowed out with health concerns. Someone of equal stature had to be found within days or the tour would be canceled. Any replacement had to satisfy not only the orchestra’s demanding artistic concerns but also tour sponsors and concert presenters. Miraculously, managing director Mark Volpe and artistic administrator Anthony Fogg pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the person of Dutoit, who heroically leaped into the breach without a single alteration of three heavyweight programs. So tight was his schedule, Dutoit arrived in Boston from Cologne the morning of our first rehearsal, and after the final concert at Suntory Hall in Tokyo he literally left the building for Narita Airport before the applause had died.

The other near miss occurred when Japanese customs officials refused entry of our instruments (packed in official cargo trunks) from China. The reason? Elephants. Until the ban on ivory, that’s what the tips of good string-instrument bows were made of. Now, importing or exporting any ivory whatsoever necessitates navigating a Byzantine regulatory labyrinth, which, as it was discovered, varies from country to country. Desperate communications flew between the BSO, the U.S. Embassy headed by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and the Japanese government. Ultimately, reasonable heads prevailed, resolving the snafu a few hours before the curtain went up.

But the curtain is coming down on our cumbersome wardrobe trunks, elephants of a different kind that weigh about 200 pounds empty. Worse, they lack wheels, making hauling them from concert hall to concert hall a backbreaker. Trunks are individually lifted onto dollies and truck-loaded. The process is reversed upon arrival at the next hall. For air transport, they’re grouped on pallets, wrapped in plastic, strung up like a Brobdingnagian pork roast, and then hoisted onto the plane. If stage manager John Demick’s budgetary wishes come true, the new 21st-century replacements will be smaller, lighter, and rollable. Eminently sensible. Still, as doors to the future open in Asia, when the lock on old No. 11 snapped shut, I sensed I was closing a colorful chapter of Boston Symphony’s illustrious past.

(Republished with the consent of Berkshire Magazine.)

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YOUNG VIOLINIST IMPRESSIVE AT DEER VALLEY CONCERT

DEER VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra, St. Mary’s Church, Park City, July 16

The Utah Symphony has featured a number of exceptional young soloists at its Deer Valley Music Festival chamber concerts, but seldom has there been one as remarkable as Wednesday’s teen violinist.

Emma Meinrenken

Fourteen-year-old Emma Meinrenken, the junior winner of last year’s Stradivarius International Violin Competition, dazzled the audience in St. Mayr’s Church in two works: Schubert’s Rondo in A major for Violin and Strings and Saint-Saëns’ Havanaise.

The youngster is already a well rounded, one might say seasoned, musician. Her artistry and stage presence show a level of maturity well beyond her years. And the two pieces were well chosen. The Schubert allowed the Canadian-born Meinrenken to put her wonderfully crafted lyricism on display, while the Saint-Saëns gave her ample opportunity to show off her technical chops. Both were played with a self assurance and conviction that was quite impressive.

And the orchestra, under associate conductor Vladimir Kulenovic, offered well balanced accompaniment that let Meinrenken’s playing shine.

The concert opened with a robust treatment of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. Kulenovic brought passion to his interpretation and the orchestra played with crisp articulation and finely honed delivery.

Rounding out the program was a sensitive reading of Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte and a vibrant account of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Italian.

Under Kulenovic’s guidance the Mendelssohn sparkled with exuberance. The tempos were well chosen allowing the lightness and dexterity of the music to come through. The execution was spot on and the playing was effervescent and full of youthful playfulness.

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THREE RARELY PLAYED WORKS FEATURED AT SUNDAY’S BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL CONCERT

BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, Temple Har Shalom, July 13; the festival runs through Aug. 11, tickets at the door or at www.beethovenfestivalparkcity.org 

The Beethoven Festival Park City closed out its first week with a superb concert of three rarely played works.

Opening the matinee concert Sunday was Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, op. 96, played by Brigham Young University violinist Monte Belknap and pianist John Jensen.

While the 10 violin sonatas Beethoven wrote are staples in every violinist’s repertoire, the Tenth in G major isn’t heard very often. Perhaps it’s because this work is so unlike much of Beethoven’s music. It doesn’t have the dramatic power or compelling passion that one associates with Beethoven. Instead, it’s a quiet, reflective piece that has a distinct pastoral character.

Belknap and Jensen gave a wonderfully nuanced and beautifully phrased account of the sonata. They captured the intimacy of the music with their subtle and sensitive playing.Their choice of tempos was spot on and allowed them to bring finely honed expressiveness to their reading.

Paired with the Beethoven in the first half was Borodin’s magnificent Sonata in B minor for Cello and Piano, played by Jensen and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra cellist Armen Ksajikian.

Best known for his operas, Borodin wrote a few chamber works, the most famous of which are his two string quartets. But the cello sonata is perhaps an even better work than the quartets. It’s a challenging work for both players, especially for the cellist, and the two acquitted themselves wonderfully. From the boldness of the opening to the many softer lyrical passages throughout, Jensen and Ksajikian showed a mastery of the work that allowed them to give a compelling and utterly fascinating reading.

Rounding out the concert was David Carlson’s Quantum Quartet, for clarinet, viola, cello and piano, played by festival co-directors Russell Harlow, clarinet, and Leslie Harlow, viola, together with Ksajikian and Jensen.

Quantum Quartet was a festival commission and was premiered in 1998. For the festival’s 30th anniversary, the Harlows thought it would be fitting to bring it back into their repertoire. It was a fortunate decision, because it’s a well crafted work that places great demands on the four musicians. The quartet of players made short work of the piece, giving a tour de force performance that was quite powerful. They brought out the many changing moods and captured the evocative character of the music. It’s a work that these four ought to record and release on CD.

As a special treat, Ksajikian played an encore — a beautifully expressive reading of the prelude from J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 2 in D minor.

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SUPERB PRODUCTION OF ‘VANESSA’ OPENS LOGAN’S UTAH FESTIVAL

UTAH FESTIVAL, Vanessa, Ellen Eccles Theatre, Logan, July 9; festival runs through Aug. 9, tickets at 800-262-0074, ext. 3, or online at www.utahfestival.org  

Michael Ballam’s Utah Festival occasionally presents works not normally seen in Utah. In the past the festival has staged Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, both of which Utah Opera has yet to mount.

This year, it’s Samuel Barber’s 1958 Pulitzer Prize winning opera Vanessa, another first for the festival.

From left: Beverly O'Regan Thiele (Vanessa), Amanda Tarver (Baroness), Andrew Bidlack (Anatol), Alice-Anne M. Light (Erika). Photo Credit: Waldron Creative.

The opera, with an original libretto by Barber’s partner Gian Carlo Menotti, offers a painful glimpse into the lives of Vanessa and her niece Erika as they are wooed and used by Anatol, the son of Vanessa’s old lover. Barber captures the atmosphere wonderfully with his music. While it’s overwhelmingly romantic, it’s tinged with biting dissonances that underscore the growing tension between the two women, between Erika and Anatol and between the women and the old Baroness, Vanessa’s mother. There is a brooding darkness that flows through the story that is at times quite unnerving. It’s a remarkable and bold work that has unfortunately never found a permanent place in the repertoire of American opera houses.

The cast assembled for this production is stellar. Leading off is soprano Beverly O’Regan Thiele in the title role. Her portrayal is emotionally charged and finely nuanced. Vanessa is a tragic figure as she denies reality and fights so desperately to stay in the past. Thiele captured that brilliantly.

Thiele was also brilliant vocally, hitting the high notes of her demanding role with ease while still infusing her singing with a keen expressiveness. It was quite an impassioned  and virtuosic presentation.

No less stunning was the mezzo-soprano Alice-Anne M. Light as Erika. She, too, captured the complexity of her role with her fabulous acting that brought conviction to her portrayal. And her singing was equally notable. Her role is no less challenging that that of Vanessa’s and Light made short work of the vocal demands. Her singing was crystal pure and gorgeously lyrical.

Alice-Anne M. Light (Erika) and Andrew Bidlack (Anatol). Photo Credit: Waldron Creative.

Tenor Andrew Bidlack as Anatol held his own remarkably well. With two such powerful females voices it would be easy to get lost, but Bidlack commanded the stage when he was present and blended wonderfully in ensembles with Thiele and Light. He possesses a forceful high tenor that is perfect for this role, since Anatol is required to sing in the high register frequently.

In the role of the Doctor was the bass Richard Zuch, who sang with finely crafted expressiveness. His voice is resonant and beautifully rounded and was a wonderful contrast to the three high voices. And he showed himself an exceptional actor as well, bringing much need comic relief in his well played drunk scene in the second act.

As the stern Baroness who disapproves of Vanessa’s and Erika’s decisions is the mezzo-soprano Amanda Tarver. She gave a strong performance that captured perfectly the unforgiving, almost hard hearted nature of her character.

Baritone Kevin Nakatani and tenor Jon Jurgens sing the small roles of the butler and the pastor, respectively.

The stage direction, by Daniel Helfgot, was spot on; the action moved forward at a good pace. The orchestra played the difficult score marvelously under conductor Barbara Day Turner. Her tempos were well chosen and she never allowed the singers to be overpowered by the orchestra, even in the loudest passages.

This is a production that is well worth the drive to Logan to see. No one will be disappointed.

Vanessa will also be performed on July 18 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and on Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. The opera is in repertory with Oklahoma!, The Student Prince and Les Misérables.

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LOGAN’S UTAH FESTIVAL BEGINS JULY 9

Utah Festival, formerly the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, kicks off its new season next week with a production of Samuel Barber’s rarely performed Vanessa.

Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti (librettist for "Vanessa")

The festival runs through Aug. 9. Besides Vanessa, this season also includes Sigmund Romberg’s The Student Prince, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and Schönberg and Boublil’s Les Misérables.

All shows take place in the Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan. Tickets are $45-$262 for all four mainstage productions, or $42-$247 for all four mainstage productions during opening week. Single tickets range from $13-$77. Tickets can be purchased by calling 800-262-0074, ext. 3, or by logging on to www.utahfestival.org.

Below is a rundown of performances that take place in the Ellen Eccles Theatre. Other programs take place in various downtown venues. For a complete listing of events, log on to www.utahfestival.org.

  • Vanessa, by Samuel Barber, original libretto by Gian-Carlo Menotti; Barbara Day Turner, conductor; Daniel Helfgot, director; Beverly O’Regan Thiele (Vanessa), Alice-Anne Light (Erika), Andrew Bidlack (Anatol), Amanda Tarver (The Old Baroness). July 9, 7:30 p.m., July 18, 7:30 p.m., July 24, 7:30 p.m., August 2, 1 p.m.
  • Oklahoma!, by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Karen Keltner, conductor; Maggie L. Harrer; director, Leah Edwards (Laurey), Wes Mason (Curly), Kevin Nakatani (Jud). July 10, 7:30 p.m., July 17, 7:30 p.m., July 19, 7:30 p.m., July 24, 1 p.m., July 26, 1 p.m., August 1, 1 p.m., August 7-8, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Student Prince, by Sigmund Romberg; Barbara Day Turner, conductor; Jack Shouse, director; Andrew Bidlack (Prince Karl Franz), Richard Zuch (Doctor Engel), Emma-Grace Dunbar (Kathie), Vanessa Ballam (Princess Margaret). July 11, 7:30 p.m., July 17, 1 p.m., July 25, 1 p.m., August 1, 7:30 p.m., August 9, 1 p.m. 
  • “8 Hands 2 Pianos,” Utah Festival pianists will present an unpredictable concert of classical hits where they’ll be dressing up, playing jokes on each other — and who knows what other mayhem will ensue. July 12, 1 p.m. ($11-$41, $10-$35 with opera series purchase)
  • Les Misérables, lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Karen Keltner, conductor; Valerie Rachelle, director; Patrick Miller (Jean Valjean), Vanessa Ballam (Fantine), Daniel Cilli (Inspector Javert) Leah Edwards (Cosette). July 12, 7:30 p.m., July 16, 7:30 p.m., July 18-19, 1 p.m., July 23, 7:30 p.m., July 25-26, 7:30 p.m., July 30, 7:30 p.m., July 31, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., August 2, 7:30 p.m., August 7-8, 1 p.m., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.
  • International Opera Competition Semifinals, Utah Festival hosts more than 20 talented artists, and the audience helps select a winner who then heads to Italy to compete. July 15, 1 p.m., ($10)
  • “Pioneers and Patriots, A Tribute to John Philip Sousa,” presented in collaboration with the Utah State University Music Department; James Michael Bankhead, conductor. Thrill to the sound of a 42-piece band with choir, soloists and surprises, in a program drawn largely from the concert Sousa himself led in Logan in 1927. July 22, 7:30 p.m. ($11-$41, $10-$35 with opera series purchase)
  • Operafest/International Opera Competition Finals, Karen Keltner and Barbara Day Turner, conductors. After the finalists have performed with orchestra, and while the judges confer and the audience vote is tallied, you will be entertained by Utah Festival stars. July 29, 7:30 p.m. ($11-$41, $10-$35 with opera series purchase)
  • “Best of Beethoven,” American Festival Chorus, Utah Festival Orchestra and Soloists, Craig Jessop conductor. From the intimate to the grand, this is a celebration of Beethoven ending in the triumphant Ode to Joy from his monumental Ninth Symphony, August 6, 7:30 p.m. ($11-$41, $10-$35 with opera series purchase)
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BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY CONCERT SCHEDULE


Here is the complete schedule for the Beethoven Festival Park City’s 30th anniversary concert season.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors (62+) and students. Ten-concert punch passes are also available for $150 for general admission and $100 for seniors and students. Six-concert punch passes cost $90 for general admission and $66 for seniors and students. For Summit County residents a 6-punch pass is only $66. All tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by logging on to www.pcmusicfestival.com. If you bring a Beethoven item to a concert you will receive a $5 discount off the regular ticket price.

  • July 7, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand (1354 Park Ave.) –  “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Program includes audience favorites as well as a few surprises. Performers: John Jensen, piano; Armen Ksajikian, cello; Monte Belknap, violin; Leslie Harlow, viola; Russell Harlow, clarinet. (Free.)
  • July 10, 8 p.m., Park City Community Church (U-224 at Bear Hollow Dr.) –  “Chamber Music Showcase.” Program: a Handel Oboe Concerto; Ramiro Cortes’ Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano; Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C minor. Performers: Monte Belknap and Alexander Woods, violin; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola; Armen Ksajikian, cello; John Jensen, piano.
  • July 11, 6:30 p.m., at the Home of Jan Zinn – “Salon Concert.” Attendees dine and relax while enjoying virtuoso performances featuring festival artists. ($45 minimum donation per person, space is limited, please make your reservation online Click Here or by  chmusic@pcmusicfestival.com with your reservation, please include date(s)
 of the Salon concert you would like to attend, 
your name, the number of guests in your party, 
your email address and phone number; or call 435-649-5309.)
  • July 13, 3 p.m., Temple Har Shalom (U-224 at Brookside Ct.) – “Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music.” Program: Beethoven’s Piano and Violin Sonata, op. 96; Borodin’s Cello and Piano Sonata; David Carlson’s Quantum Quartet for Clarinet, Viola, Cello and Piano. Performers: Monte Belknap, violin; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola; Armen Ksajikian, cello; John Jensen, piano.
  • July 14, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand – “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Program includes audience favorites as well as a few surprises. Performers: John Jensen, piano; Armen Ksajikian, cello; Monte Belknap, violin; Leslie Harlow, viola; Russell Harlow, clarinet. (Free.)
  • July 17, 8 p.m., Park City Community Church – “Chamber Music Showcase.” Program: Turina’s La Oración del Torero, op. 34; Beethoven’s String Quartet in G major, op. 18, no. 2; Juan Bautista Plaza’s Fuga Criolla; Paquito D’Rivera’s Wapango. Performers: Dalí String Quartet; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola.
  • July 19, 6:30 p.m., Jane’s Home (1229 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City) – “Salon Concert.” Attendees dine and relax while enjoying virtuoso performances featuring the Dalí Quartet. ($50 minimum donation per person, space is limited to 24 guests, please make your reservation as soon as possible. To register and pay online, Click Here or email chmusic@pcmusicfestival.com with your reservation, please include date(s)
of the Salon concerts you would like to attend, your name, the number of guests in your party, your email address and phone number; or call 435-649-5309.)
  • July 20, 5 p.m., Temple Har Shalom – “30th Season Celebration.” Gala Concert and Buffet, featuring the Dalí Quartet; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola. Program includes Mozart’s String Quintet in G minor, K. 516; Efrain Amaya’s Angelica; Abelardito Valdez’s Danzón Almendra; Juan Bautista Plaza’s Fuga Criolla; Carlos Gardel’s El dia que me quelras; and Rafael Hernández’s El Cumbanchero. $75 per person – To make your reservations online and pay for your tickets: Click Here
  • July 21, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Performers: Dalí Quartet. (Free.)
  • July 24, 7:30 p.m., Park City Community Church – “Chamber Music Showcase.” Program: Virtuoso violin and piano works; a Beethoven string quartet; and Latin works for clarinet, violin and piano. Performers: Manuel Ramos and Monte Belknap, violin; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola.
  • July 26, Canceled (appears on some schedules, but has been canceled)
  • July 27, 3 p.m., Temple Har Shalom – “Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music.” Program: Manuel de Falla’s Harpsichord Concerto; Stravinsky’s Concertino; Debussy’s String Quartet. Performers: Manuel Ramos and Monte Belknap, violin; Pamela Jones, harpsichord; Robert Stephenson, oboe; Lisa Byrnes, flute; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola.
  • July 28, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Program includes audience favorites as well as a few surprises. (Free.)
  • July 31, 8 p.m., Park City Community Church – “Chamber Music Showcase.” Program: Virtuoso violin and piano works; Schubert’s Piano Trio in E flat; Copland’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Performers: Paul Rosenthal, violin; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola; Jeffrey Solow, cello; Doris Stevenson, piano.
  • Aug. 2, 5:30 p.m. – “Salon Concert.” Attendees dine and relax while enjoying virtuoso performances featuring festival artists. (To make your reservation online and pay for your ticket, Click Here)$45 minimum donation per person, space is limited please make your reservations as soon as possible, email chmusic@pcmusicfestival.com with your reservation, please include date(s)
of the Salon concert you would like to attend, 
your name, the number of guests in your party, your email address and phone number; or call 435-649-5309.)
  • Aug. 3, 3 p.m., Temple Har Shalom “Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music.” Program: Franck’s Quintet for Piano and Strings; a Beethoven cello sonata; Weber’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. Performers: Paul Rosenthal and Monte Belknap, violin; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola; Jeffrey Solow, cello; Doris Stevenson, piano.
  • Aug. 4, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Program includes audience favorites as well as a few surprises. (Free.)
  • Aug. 7, 8 p.m., Park City Community Church “Chamber Music Showcase.” Program: Marcello’s Oboe Concerto, arranged for clarinet and strings; Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello; a Mozart string quartet. Performers: Blanka Bednarz, violin; Cheung Chau, cello; Russell Harlow, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola.
  • Aug. 9,Canceled (appears on some schedules, but has been canceled)
  • Aug. 10, 3 p.m., Temple Har Shalom “Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music.” Program: Ponchielli’s Il Convegno, Divertimento for Two Clarinets and Piano; Louis Spohr’s Six German Lieder, for Soprano, Clarinet and Piano; Shostakovich’s Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano. Performers: Blanka Bednarz and Monte Belknap, violin; Kirsten Gunlogson, mezzo-soprano; Cheung Chau, cello; Russell Harlow and Lee Livengood, clarinet; Leslie Harlow, viola; Melissa Livengood, piano.
  • Aug. 11, 6:30 p.m., City Park Bandstand “Monday Chamber Music Concert in the Park,” in collaboration with Mountain Town Music. Program includes audience favorites as well as a few surprises. (Free.)

(Festival co-director Leslie Harlow spoke with Edward Reichel recently about the season. To read the interview click here.) 

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BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, UTAH’S OLDEST, CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

Violist Leslie Harlow was just finishing up her studies at Juilliard when she was hired to sub for the Utah Symphony. After arriving here, she quickly fell in love with the Beehive State and decided to remain.

She also decided to start a summer chamber music festival in Park City. That was in 1983, and the following year her dream became a reality. Thirty years later the Beethoven Festival Park City is going stronger than ever. It’s the oldest summer festival in Utah and one of the oldest in the Intermountain West region.

The festival kicks off its 21-concert anniversary season on July 7 and runs through Aug. 11. In those five weeks there will be concerts in the Park City Community Church and at Temple Har Shalom. There will also be outdoor concerts in Park City’s City Park, presented in collaboration with Mountain Town Music.

Beethoven Festival co-directors Leslie and Russell Harlow.

While Harlow was eager to start a festival she had no idea how to go about it. As a student at Juilliard and living in New York City she knew a number of musicians, either by reputation or because she had performed with them, and that gave her a core group of players to invite to Park City for the festival’s inaugural season.

“I knew [cellist] Jeff Solow, because I played with him at the Skaneateles Festival,” Harlow said in a phone interview with Reichel Recommends. And it was through Solow she became acquainted with violinist Paul Rosenthal’s playing. “Jeff invited me over to dinner, and afterwards he played a recording of Paul playing a demanding piece he had written for violin. Jeff also told me about Paul’s Sitka Summer Festival in Alaska.”

Sitka was one of the major influences for Harlow’s festival, and it was Rosenthal who holds the distinction of being Harlow’s first invitee. “I called Paul to invite him to play at my new festival,” she said, expecting that it might be a difficult sell. But Rosenthal surprised her. “When I asked him to come and play he immediately said yes. Then he asked me, ‘When do you want me to come and what do you want me to play.’ After he said that, I thought, ‘Hey, this might not be hard after all.’”

Jeffrey Solow

In addition to Rosenthal, the first year roster included, among others, Solow, pianist Doris Stevenson and violist Paul Neubauer. Also appearing were two Utah Symphony members, concertmaster William Preucil and violinist Andrés Cárdenes, who succeeded Preucil as concertmaster.

Three of the charter members will be returning this summer: Rosenthal, Solow and Stevenson. They’ll be appearing during the festival’s fourth week, from July 28-Aug. 3.

Also coming to Park City this summer are cellist Armen Ksajikian, a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; violinist Manuel Ramos, a former member of the St. Louis Symphony and now artist-in-residence for the State of Mexico at Belles Artes; pianist John Jensen; clarinetist Lee Livengood from the Utah Symphony; Brigham Young University violinists Alexander Woods and Monte Belknap; Utah Valley University cellist Cheung Chau; and violinist Blanka Bednarz. All of these players have performed at the festival in the past. Some, like Jensen and Ramos, have been long time members of the festival roster.

Several musicians will be making their festival debut this summer: Salt Lake City pianist and accompanist Melissa Livengood; University of Utah mezzo-soprano Kirsten Gunlogson; flutist Lisa Byrnes, and oboist Robert Stephenson from the Utah Symphony; and the Dalí String Quartet.

“We’re really thrilled that they could all be here this year,” Harlow said.

They’ll be playing a wide ranging repertoire that will include music by Beethoven, Mozart, Weber, de Falla, Stravinsky, as well as by Utah composer Ramiro Cortes and a David Carlson work commissioned by the festival a few years ago. (To view the complete festival schedule, click here.)

In addition to the concerts, there will also be number of the popular salon concerts that take place in private residences in Park City and Salt Lake City.

Today, Harlow co-directs the festival with her husband Russell Harlow, a clarinetist and former associate principal clarinet of the Utah Symphony. Russell Harlow already had considerable experience running a series before becoming the festival’s co-director, since it was he who founded the NOVA Chamber Music Series in 1977. He directed NOVA for about a decade before handing over the reins to fellow Utah Symphony member, violinist Barbara Scowcroft. Both Leslie and Russell Harlow will also once again be featured performers this year.

Thirty years is a long time, but Leslie Harlow takes it all in stride. “It’s just how we live,” she said. “Looking back, I’ve spent half my life doing it, and Russ has been at it longer, when you count his years running NOVA.

“We just love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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