Park City’s Beethoven Festival welcomes spring
April 4, 2014
Leslie Harlow, executive director for the Park City Chamber Music’s Beethoven Festival joked and said calling the upcoming concerts this weekend the Annual Spring Chamber Music Festival is a misnomer.
"We should call it the Winter Chamber Music Festival because every year when we do this, it snows," Harlow said, laughing, during an interview with The Park Record. "It always happens."
Still, the Spring Chamber Music Festival will go on as planned from Saturday, April 5, through Monday, April 7, with concerts in Salt Lake City, Park City and Orem.
The festival will open on Saturday in Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m.
"We’re performing at a new place for us called the Gallivan Center Hall," Harlow said. "It’s a new and beautiful building and the concert will be held upstairs.
"The setup is plain in the sense that there are windows all around it that look out into the city and that one wall has a backdrop that is very nice," she said. "It’s got a wooden floor, so it will be very pretty."
Saturday’s program will consist of Schulhoff’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Handel’s G Minor Oboe Concerto and von Weber’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings.
"The Schulhoff is very fun and energetic and the Handel is gorgeous," Harlow said.
Her husband, Russell, will perform the Handel work on clarinet with a string quartet, she said.
"The von Weber, on the other hand, is a flashy piece," Harlow said.
The concert will last one hour with no intermission.
"Admission is free, so people don’t need tickets," Harlow explained. "They can just come and drop in."
The musicians will return to Park City on Sunday, April 6, for a concert at Temple Har Shalom.
"We have favorite venues and this is an audience favorite," Harlow said. "We perform in the stunning atrium lobby area and the acoustics are fantastic. It’s a great place to play."
The concert will start at 3 p.m.
"So there should be a lot of light and people will be able to look out onto the melting snow," Harlow said. "At least, we hope the snow will be melting by then."
Sunday’s concert will be comprised of the Milhaud Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Schulhoff Duo for Violin and Cello, Milhaud Duos for Two Violins and the Shostakovich Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano.
The Shostakovich Trio is a masterpiece that was written in commemoration of his friend Ivan Sollertinsky , a Russian polymath and avid musician, and the Milhaud Duo was written to celebrate life, Harlow said.
"Milhaud could write quickly, elegantly and playful, which is how his music sounds," she said. "He wrote the first two movements in 40 minutes at a dinner party held at the home of violin master Yehudi Menuhin.
"He was having dinner with Yehudi and his wife and violinist Roman Totenberg and his wife," Harlow said. "They asked Milhaud when he arrived what he had brought for them to perform, so Milhaud sat down and wrote the first two movements and they played it that night."
The next morning, the composer wrote the next movement and the piece premiered at another dinner party the next week, Harlow said.
The second Milhaud piece, which will be performed Sunday, is also a beautiful work.
"That is one the Russ has played many times, and pianist Blanka Benarz will perform it with him during the concert," Harlow said.
The performance will run nearly two hours and include an intermission with refreshments.
"That’s the time when the musicians will mingle with the audience," Harlow said. "So it’s like a reception in the middle of the performance."
Admission to Sunday’s concert is $20 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens. Cash and credit cards will be accepted at the door.
When the festival moves to Orem on Monday, the musicians will perform at the Orem Public Library at 7 p.m.
That program will feature Schulhoff’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Milhaud’s Duo for Two Violins, von Weber’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Shostakovich’s Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Harlow said.
"It’s a pretty long concert, and since we’re playing in three different towns, we repeat some of the works, which is practical, but also fun for us," she said. "We get to play them several times during the series and it gives us an opportunity to perform them differently and it’s nice to play them multiple times after spending a lot of time rehearsing the pieces."
The guest musicians who will perform at all the concerts are from the Utah Valley University School of the Arts.
It’s an international group and includes Steinway Artist Hilary Demske, violinist Blanka Bednarz, her husband and cellist Cheung Chau, and violinists Yeagi Kim Broadwell and Donna Fairbanks, who is the UVU School of the Arts chairwoman, Harlow said.
"Donna has been building up that department with more and more high-quality players," she said. "It’s growing so fast and the school is getting bigger and better, and that means more affordable opportunities."
Park City’s Beethoven Festival will present spring concerts through April 7. Saturday’s concert will be held at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City at 7:30 p.m. The Park City concert will be held Sunday, April 6, at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 N. Brookside Ct., at 3 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door. Monday’s concert will be held at the Orem Public Library. For more information, visit http://www.pcmusicfestival.com .