Music in the Mountains reinvents itself

Arts & Entertainment

Music in the Mountains reinvents itself

Festival’s 32nd season launches Saturday
Many Music in the Mountains’ concerts will be held in the Festival Tent at Purgatory Resort.
Guillermo Figueroa is the festival’s music director.
Pianist Avi Reichert will play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor in a concert dedicated to the memory of Mischa Semanitzky on July 13.
Violinist Philippe Quint will perform Bolcom’s Violin Concerto in D in the final concert July 29.
Violinist Sirena Huang will perform July 27.
The Julius Quartet will perform in several free outreach recitals through the festival and a ticketed concert July 19 in Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Gordon Thomas and Drea Pressley will be the soloists in the family-friendly opera “Green Eggs and Ham,” adapted from a Dr. Seuss book by Robert Kapilow, at the Family Picnic-Concert on July 12 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Gordon Thomas and Drea Pressley will be the soloists in the family-friendly opera “Green Eggs and Ham,” adapted from a Dr. Seuss book by Robert Kapilow, at the Family Picnic-Concert on July 12 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Festival features celebration of firefighters, family show, free events

Music in the Mountains has a full slate of activities planned for the next few weeks. Here’s a look at some of them:
New work celebrates firefighters“Brighter Than the Flames” by Dallas composer David Sterrett will be played at every festival orchestra concert, said Angie Beach, executive director of Music in the Mountains.
“It’s dedicated to the firefighters and the community” she said. “Greg Hustis, festival artistic director, commissioned it.”
The celebratory work may open the orchestra concerts, and Sterrett in an email interview described the 4-minute piece as a “concert prelude.”
“It’s scored for full orchestra. The piece’s main character is slow and lyrical, almost hymn-like, which I thought would best represent the true spirit of courage and sacrifice as well as the peoples’ heartfelt gratitude to the firefighters,” he said.
Opening in a reflective mood, Sterrett said, “the music then passes through an intense moment of struggle, dies away to almost nothing, and then gradually builds up to a big, emotional and triumphant climax. The piece then ends in a quiet mood again, as it began.”
Family Concert highlights Dr. Seuss After the success of last year’s picnic-concert, Music in the Mountains has scheduled another winning family program for July 12 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
“Green Eggs and Ham,” a 20-minute mini-opera for orchestra and two performers, will be given in the Concert Hall after an outdoor picnic.
Designed to be fun, comfortable and affordable, this adaptation of a popular Dr. Seuss book by composer Robert Kapilow explores what every parent and child knows as the picky-eater syndrome. Sam-I-Am (portrayed by Gordon Thomas) questions a Grouch (sung by Drea Pressley) and finally persuades her to try the unlikely dish of green eggs and ham.
“Drea and I are looking forward to performing this piece,” Thomas said. “She has by far the hardest part because the Grouch gets increasingly grouchier. But Sam-I-Am is persuasive in the end, so the disagreement has a happy ending.
“The music is quite witty, and there are lots of musical allusions. ‘Heart and Soul’ comes in. And there’s a really cool jazz section, almost all sung by Drea. She ends up singing in a lot of different styles. All I have to do is keep asking her whether she likes green eggs and ham.”
Tickets are $5. Bring your friends and family.
Free and almost-free eventsAmong many free and almost-free events affiliated with Music in the Mountains, open orchestra rehearsals are popular. Generally running two or three hours, they may seem formal, catch-as-catch-can sessions, but each conductor chooses a path toward cohesion.
Seven open sessions have been scheduled at the Festival Tent: July 13, 15, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. Most begin at 10 a.m. You can quietly wander into the tent at any time. Just be sure not to disturb the musicians. Take a seat, listen and learn.
Local choral director and all-around musical maven Linda Mack-Berven will give six, free pre-concert lectures this season for Music in the Mountains.
“I don’t use PowerPoint or handouts,” she said. “I do use costumes and props because I believe visuals make what I say about the music and the composer memorable.”
Given one hour before start time, Mack Berven’s presentations are known for surprise entrances and a little call-and-response repartee.
“I start in February,” she said. “I look for things in the music to begin with. Then I look further. For example, when Avi (Reichert) plays the Grieg, people will think they know it. But not Avi’s interpretation.”
In addition to six lectures, Mack Berven will be performing on piano or harpsichord in several orchestra and chamber concerts. She’ll also be on stage for “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Grass Pass SpecialOn the lawn surrounding the Festival Tent, music lovers may gather and enjoy concerts for a mere $5. Tickets are available at the Festival Tent Box Office before each performance. You can bring food and drinks, but only in the designated lawn area. Organizers suggest you bring your own blankets, lawn chairs and an umbrella should we be lucky enough to have rain. As a bonus, children 15 and younger are admitted free, but they must be accompanied by a grownup.
Out and about Performances that are unexpected and often in unusual places dot the calendar for Music in the Mountains. The Julius Quartet, this year’s ensemble-in-residence, will give four free programs ranging from the Pine River Library in Bayfield to Durango’s Farmers Market. Check the website for details, but the dates to remember are: July 13,18, 25 and 28.
In addition, the quartet will give a formal recital at 7 p.m. July 19, in Roshong Recital Hall at FLC. The musicians will play works by Beethoven, Bridge, Mendelssohn and Wolf. Tickets are $15.
Chocoholics of the worldIn her impresario role, executive director Beach has promoted various world music groups and designed events to appeal to different audiences.
One such event created for a younger set is now in repeat mode because of successes last year. Chocolate Indulgence will take place starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Festival Tent. Beach managed to land a smart, musically savvy New York a cappella ensemble for the casual evening. After desserts and drinks, Backtrack Vocals will entertain the cabaret crowd.
“At various stations under the tent, we’ll be serving specialty wines, cocktails and beer,” Beach said. “It’s a different kind of evening with artisan desserts and cabaret tables. We’ll cap the evening with the music of Backtrack Vocals.”

If you go

WHAT: Music in the Mountains, 32nd year, a festival of orchestra, chamber music, pops, jazz, family night and area events. Free community outreach performances.

WHO: Artistic Director Gregory Hustis and Music Director and Conductor Guillermo Figueroa, plus ensembles and soloists.

When: July 7-29.

WHERE: Festival Tent at Purgatory, Resort, Bayfield Performing Arts Center, Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Sunflower Theatre, etc.

TICKETS: Ranging from $5 (Family Concert and Grass Pass) to $56, with higher prices for benefit events.

More information: Visit www.MusicintheMountains.com or call 385-6820.

Music in the Mountains reinvents itself

Many Music in the Mountains’ concerts will be held in the Festival Tent at Purgatory Resort.
Guillermo Figueroa is the festival’s music director.
Pianist Avi Reichert will play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor in a concert dedicated to the memory of Mischa Semanitzky on July 13.
Violinist Philippe Quint will perform Bolcom’s Violin Concerto in D in the final concert July 29.
Violinist Sirena Huang will perform July 27.
The Julius Quartet will perform in several free outreach recitals through the festival and a ticketed concert July 19 in Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Gordon Thomas and Drea Pressley will be the soloists in the family-friendly opera “Green Eggs and Ham,” adapted from a Dr. Seuss book by Robert Kapilow, at the Family Picnic-Concert on July 12 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Gordon Thomas and Drea Pressley will be the soloists in the family-friendly opera “Green Eggs and Ham,” adapted from a Dr. Seuss book by Robert Kapilow, at the Family Picnic-Concert on July 12 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Music in the Mountains reinvents itself

Cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan will perform July 15 with the Festival Orchestra.
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