It’s almost time for Music in the Mountains

Arts & Entertainment

It’s almost time for Music in the Mountains

Summer festival launches 31st season with world premiere
Music in the Mountains 2017 poster art was created by Denver architect-turned-artist Stephanie Hartshorn.
Greg Hustis, Festival and Conservatory artistic director
Michael Udow is the composer of “Mountain Myths,” a fanfare for brass and percussion, that will have its world premiere July 15 in the Festival Tent.
Unmasking music one lecture at a time: Linda Mack Berven

To conjure Viennese music, Linda Mack Berven may don a white-feathered mask. To help you remember a Russian composer, she might wear a death mask and carry a biohazard box.
The impish Mack Berven will do just about anything to connect listeners to music.
Now in her sixth year of giving pre-concert lectures at Music in the Mountains, she’s assembled the perfect props, costumes and anecdotes for this year’s offerings.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. July 15, Mack Berven will give her first, by now famous, 45-minute presentation before a Festival Orchestra concert. Her informal talks are held in the Durango Mountain Club, a spacious comfortable bar within Purgatory Ski Resort. If you’re early, get a drink and snag a couch. If you’re late, stand. Mack Berven’s light-hearted talks are that popular. Yes, she has fans and followers who wouldn’t miss one presentation. Note: The July 23 talk is in Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College, before the Concert Hall performance.
A well-known musician, educator and conductor, Mack Berven directs the Durango Choral Society and sort-of retired from the FLC music department a few years ago.
“Linda is so good at what she does,” said Festival Artistic Director Greg Hustis. “We’re happy to have her as part of our team. She’s an all-around fantastic asset for Durango and the festival.”
“My goals for the talks are pretty simple,” Mack Berven said in a recent interview: “Tell the audience something memorable about the composer and the music. I don’t do PowerPoint and I don’t give handouts. I do use visual props and costumes because a lot of us learn with our eyes. Afterward, I hope people walk to the concert anticipating something special.
“First, I do all the research, the repertoire, the composers, the back stories. Then I study the music. I find something interesting about the human being and the work that I want people to remember.”
Fans anticipate Mack Berven’s surprises, walking in as a bird or a miner with rubber jacket, helmet, headlamp and bucket. By now, her trademark “Verdi (or Bach or Liszt or Mozart),” “What a guy!” has become an anticipated call and response.
“People will shout it out, if I haven’t,” she said.
For all the shenanigans, Mack Berven’s entertainments are well prepared – starting in March for a July performance. She takes her material, but never herself, seriously.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.

If you go

What: Music in the Mountains, 31st year, , a festival of orchestra, chamber music, Pops, jazz, a family night and young artists’ performances in conjunction with the MitM Conservatory. Artistic Director Gregory Hustis and Music Director and Conductor Guillermo Figueroa.
When: July 10 through July 30.
Tickets: Tickets range from $5 (family concert) to $22/$42/$56, with higher prices for benefit concerts.
More information and full schedule: Visit www.MusicintheMountains.com or call 385-6820.

It’s almost time for Music in the Mountains

Music in the Mountains 2017 poster art was created by Denver architect-turned-artist Stephanie Hartshorn.
Greg Hustis, Festival and Conservatory artistic director
Michael Udow is the composer of “Mountain Myths,” a fanfare for brass and percussion, that will have its world premiere July 15 in the Festival Tent.
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