David Park to Perform on Highway 89 and at the U.’s Dumke Recital Hall


David ParkDavid Park likes to stay busy.

Besides his day-to-day job as the Utah Symphony’s assistant concertmaster, Park enjoys a lively concert schedule both within Utah and out of state. Just last November, Park appeared with the Roanoke Symphony under David Wiley, playing Mendelssohn’s popular Violin Concerto to critical acclaim. (Read a review of the concert here: http://www.roanoke.com/arts_and_entertainment/concert-review-rso-plays-mendelssohn-mozart-and-winkler/article_3d3e106e-c03a-5fe8-bfb4-980d2f9916c1.html.)

Closer to home, Park will be the featured guest artist on Classical 89’s Highway 89 program. Airing this Tuesday at 8 p.m. (with a repeat at 5 p.m. on March 31), Park will honor J.S. Bach on the occasion of the great German baroque composer’s 333rd birthday with a performance of the Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002.

“This will be a milestone for me,” Park said in an interview. “With this performance I’ll have played all six of the solo partitas and sonatas in Utah. The only other person to have done that in Utah was Joseph Silverstein, although he played the whole set on one concert.”

The only other work on the program will be the Fugue from Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin. One of the composer’s last works, it was commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin and premiered by him in 1944. “It’s one of the most important works in the solo violin repertoire,” Park said, adding that it is also one of the most demanding.
Two days after his radio recital, Park will play another concert.

On March 29, he’ll be joined by violist and Utah Symphony colleague Scott Lewis; pianist and University of Utah faculty member Alex Marshall; and bassist and Brigham Young University professor Eric Hansen. “I’ve been wanting to do a collaborative concert for some time now that brought together members of the three main arts organizations in Utah,” Park said.

The program will be divided into solos, duets and a finale that features all four players in two movements from Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons.” The program will also include music by Saint-Saëns, Handel/Halvorsen, Kodály, Glière and Weber. “It’s going to be quite a diverse program,” Park promised. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. in Dumke Recital Hall in David Gardner Hall on the U. campus. Admission is free.



Music is a universal language. It transcends international boundaries and language barriers. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can be moved by the exact same piece of music, whether it’s a Beethoven symphony with its dramatically powerful themes or a symphony by Tchaikovsky with its romantically soaring melodies. Their appeal knows no artificially imposed limitations.
And this is one of the premises in Gerald Elias’ new book, Symphonies & Scorpions. It’s a memoire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s tour to China and Japan in 2014 with the (now disgraced) conductor Charles Dutoit. It also juxtaposes that tour with the one the BSO undertook to China in 1979 with its music director Seiji Ozawa, not long after the United States and China normalized relations.
Elias joined the BSO in 1975 and remained there until he became the Utah Symphony’s associate concertmaster in 1988. But he never severed his ties with Boston and continues his association with that orchestra as a substitute player to this day. He was a member of the BSO for both tours and this, consequently, gives him a distinctive perspective and affords him a wonderfully lucid and insightful glimpse into that historic tour in ’79 and how it contrasted with the BSO’s ’14 tour.
Elias writes in a relaxed style that makes this short book easy to read and quite enjoyable. Instead of telling his story chronologically, or dividing it into chapters, Elias breaks it up into short sections that read as vignettes. It’s as if he was jotting down ideas as they came to him. It gives the book an immediacy that is appealing and makes it hard to put down.
He does discuss what it’s like taking a hundred people with their luggage and instruments overseas and dealing with the hassles of traveling great distances and through numerous time zones and how difficult it can be to be fresh and rested before dress rehearsals and concerts. But it’s not boring; Elias has the ability to draw the reader in and make you feel as if you’re part of the tour.
What is particularly fascinating is how Elias describes the differences in the China of 1979, a country that was still reeling from the devastating effects of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and today’s modern, smog filled China. Much has changed in the country in the intervening three and a half decades, much of it for the better. But there is still a lot that remains to be done.
What hasn’t changed in the intervening years is the Chinese people’s love for Western classical music. Response to the BSO’s concerts, including some that also had members of a Chinese orchestra playing together with them, was overwhelming in 1979. And the response was no less enthusiastic in 2014. And with ticket prices on the 2014 tour rivaling those in Boston or New York City, the halls were nevertheless filled to capacity.
On their way home the orchestra stopped in Tokyo for a couple of concerts, which were also warmly received.
All in all, Symphonies & Scorpions is a captivating book that has so much to offer. As to the meaning of the title, well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.
The book is available as an ebook and as a paperback through Amazon.