New York. London. San Francisco. Lucerne. Warsaw. Sydney. Durango. Which one of these places doesn’t belong?
In this case there’s no good answer, because it’s a trick question. That list of cultural hotbeds (stop snickering) is just part of the remarkable 2010 itinerary of violinist Vadim Gluzman, who is back in town this weekend as guest soloist at Music in the Mountains for the 13th time. (He did take a season off six years ago for the birth of his daughter.)
“It’s wonderful to have a place not only to feel welcome but to feel at home; it’s very precious,” Gluzman said earlier this week from Minneapolis, just another stop on his world tour. From here it’s off to his Israeli homeland, then Austria, the Czech Republic, Alabama, Ohio ... you get the idea.
“Every year we think ‘this is it, it’s the last time we’ll have him,’ but he keeps coming back,” said MITM’s Executive Director Susan Lander.
But apparently we need not worry, because for a man who has reached a point in his career where he can pick and choose where and when he plays, our little festival in the high country has become a habit for Gluzman as well.
“When I think of summer now I think of Durango – it’s almost like a religion,” he said, adding a touch of self-deprecating humor to temper talk of his renowned reputation.
“My grandmother said ‘you got what you asked for – you’re famous – now shut up and practice,’” he said, laughing.
Gluzman’s stay this year is short but decidedly sweet. Tonight and Saturday at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College and The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, respectively, he’ll take the reins of a quintet that will perform under the auspices of “Vadim and Friends.” The group includes Gluzman and his mentor, Arkady Fomin, under whom Gluzman studied with Conservatory Music in the Mountains more than a decade ago, on violins; cellist Jesus Castro-Balbi; Valeri Avramenko on viola and David Korevaar on piano.
The program, selected by Gluzman, gives each musician his moment in the spotlight, although piano lovers may be the most sated as Korevaar will barely get a moment off. But the selections – Beethoven’s Piano Trio in C Minor, Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata in D and Frank’s Piano Quintet in F Minor – present the string players with plenty of solo opportunities and some of us can’t wait to see how the small yet talented group sounds in the concert hall. Probably fantastic, but that’s just one man’s opinion.
And before he gets out of town and out of the U.S.A., Gluzman will of course make an appearance under the big tent at Durango Mountain Resort on Sunday. For the local debut of the Festival Chamber Orchestra, a scaled-down version of the larger bunch that arrives next weekend, Gluzman and Musical Director Guillermo Figueroa sandwiched Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G in between pieces by Stravinsky and Haydn for Sunday’s program, and it’s during the Mozart work that Gluzman will have his highly anticipated solo.
“We look through what we haven’t played, and the list is getting shorter,” Gluzman said.
“We decided it’s time to play something classical, so it was time for Mozart,” he said. The distinction is historical; while Music in the Mountains is commonly called a classical music festival, Gluzman was separating the Austrian composer from others featured in festivals past like Brahms and Tchiakovsky, who technically are categorized as Romantic-era composers who came decades later.
Gluzman said there may be a difference for the audience in seeing and hearing the music in the two very different venues, but for him and the other musicians, the preparation is the same.
“I might at times correct some things in terms of projection, but normally, quite frankly, I just play music and don’t bother with where I am and I do it with the greatest pleasure,” he said.
For those who, for whatever reason, miss Gluzman’s visit this weekend, he assured local fans that he will be back next year for the 25th anniversary of Music in the Mountains. Over the years he’s had a chance to take advantage of just about everything our region has to offer, with one notable exception that he plans to remedy in 2011.
“The only thing I haven’t done is go on the train,” he said. “But next year I’m coming with my family, and I know it’s the one thing my daughter’s going to want to do so it’s finally going to happen.”