There will be new faces and familiar ones as Music in the Mountains enters its 26th season Sunday.
It will be the fist time in 10 years that the festival will begin without Susan Lander at the helm. Lander stepped down as executive director earlier this year, and 2012 will be the first under the leadership of former board member Annie Simonson.
But thanks to the work of festival veterans Gregory Hustis (artistic director), Arkady Fomin (conservatory artistic director) and Maestro Guillermo Figueroa, along with 87 world-class musicians, expect another diverse program of 23 concerts and special events featuring orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music during the next three weeks.
Some of this years guest artists (an incomplete listing) include: violinists Ida Kavafian and Dmitri Berlinsky; German violist Barbara Westphal; pianists Aviram Reichert, Andrey Ponochevny and David Korevaar; Sinatra-esque crooner Steve Lippia; and Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul will fill the world music slot. Lippia will be the featured performer July 18 at the popular Pops Night benefit dinner.
Additionally, more than 150 students and faculty members will participate in Conservatory Music in the Mountains, with the top young musician earning the right to perform with the Festival Orchestra at the penultimate Classical Brilliance concert July 28 under the festival tent at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort.
The music will get under way Monday with two events, priced for audiences of all tax brackets. Alpenglow will be an intimate piano concert by Music in the Mountains favorite Aviram Reichert. Hell play the well-known sonatas Moonlight by Beethoven and Chopins Marche Funebre Sonata No. 2 (the Funeral March). That ones a Special Event, which is a euphemism for fundraising concert such events are indispensable entries on the lineup each year to ensure that theres a next year.
A more accessible but no less enjoyable alternative the same night is String Power, a Conservatory concert on campus at Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College. The evening stars the visiting Amernet String Quartet, a group of former Julliard students who now perform as the ensemble-in-residence at Florida International University. The quartet will play a trio of string quartets by Mendelssohn (No. 2), Mozart (No. 2) and Tchaikovsky (No. 3).
This years featured artist will be Colorado native Albert Dreher, whose art reflects the beauty of the Southwests indigenous landscapes and ancient cultures. The circular sun/moon symbol seen in all of Drehers pieces is a constant symbol of new beginnings versus passing time.
His artwork, Music Majesty is featured in the festivals 2012 promotional materials. The work has been donated by Toh-Atin Gallery in Durango, and it will be auctioned at the Pops Night Benefit Dinner and Concert at Durango Mountain Resort.