Beethoven Festival celebrates its 31st season |

Beethoven Festival celebrates its 31st season

Scott Iwasaki

The Park City Chamber Music Society is proud of its Beethoven Festival.

The nonprofit organization presents the festival during each season and it’s time for the summer series, said founder and director Leslie Harlow.

"It’s so much fun for us to do and since I’ve retired from the Utah Symphony, I have more time to devote the festival," Harlow told The Park Record. "We are so excited about it because one of the things that we get to do is perform all of this beautiful music with world-class musicians."

This year’s festival, which will run through Aug. 3 (see accompanying schedule), will feature an array of talent including violinists Manuel Ramos, Monte Belknap and Alexander Woods, cellists Jeffrey Solow and Cheung Chau, pianists John Jensen and Doris Stevenson, classical guitarist Jon Yerby and the Dali String Quartet.

"They performed last year and we enjoyed having them," said Harlow, whose husband Russell will also perform clarinet during the festival. "It’s great fun to have them here. I love their energy."

Harlow, a violist, also likes that fact that the Dali Quartet isn’t a crossover ensemble.

" that I mean they are not a group that specializes in chamber music that is designed to appeal to pop audiences," she explained. "In fact, the music they perform that comes close to any type of crossover is Latin chamber music."

The quartet — violinists Simon Gollo and Carlos Rubio, violist Adriana Linares and cellist Jesus Morales — will make their 2015 Beethoven Festival debut on Monday, July 13, during a free concert at City Park, at 6 p.m. The concert will also feature the Harlows, Ramos, Solow, Belknap and Jensen.

"So, we’ll have eight string players, a pianist and clarinetist," Harlow said. "We’ll get the opportunity to perform works we don’t normally do, such as the Mendelssohn Octet and Mozart Clarinet Concerto.

"We’ll also do some of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and the Dali Quartet will do their incredible magic," she said. "It’s going to be a really neat concert."

The Dali Quartet will also be the featured performer during the Chamber Music Showcase at Park City Community Church on July 16, and the Gala Concert and Buffet at Temple Har Shalom on July 19.

"What I enjoy about the Quartet is that each musician is interested in performing with other musicians," Harlow said. "They just performed a concert in Philadelphia with Jesus’ brother in the Philadelphia Orchestra."

Before the Dali Quartet gets to town, the Beethoven Festival will throw a party for its namesake composer on July 11.

"We’re calling it the Best of Beethoven Banquet and it will be held at the Park City Community Church social hall," Harlow said. "It’s a belated birthday party for Beethoven, because we can never host a birthday for him in the summer, because he was born in December."

The event will feature performances of Beethoven quartets that include works from his early days.

"We will show a scene from a Charlie Chaplin film and we will perform the score," Harlow said. "This is something we did years before and had a lot of fun doing it."

One of the featured musicians will be pianist John Jensen.

"He is both a classical and jazz player, so he’ll work in a little improvisation based on Beethoven," Harlow said.

Harlow programs all the music for the festival and takes her cues from the musicians.

"They tell us works that they are already playing and some of the works they would like to work on to play here," she said. "We also request solo pieces, the flashy works they are performing as well."

From there, Harlow looks at pieces she feels the audience would enjoy.

"We like to choose works that contrast," she said. "We’ll go from classic to romantic and impressionistic and alternate fast pieces and slow pieces.

"It’s like going to an audio art gallery," Harlow said. "It’s intriguing and invigorating and shows the versatility of the musicians."

The Park City Chamber Music Society will present the Beethoven Festival Park City through Aug. 3. For more information, visit