Beethoven Festival concert is a ‘Tribute to Leslie’￼
Co-founder grateful to the musicians
Park City Beethoven Festival: 'A Tribute to Leslie'
- When: 7 p.m., Saturday, June 3
- Where: Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224
- Cost: Free, but reservations are suggested to ensure admission
- Web: beetfestut.org
The performance, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Park City Community Church will feature violinist Stephanie Chase, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Jeffrey Solow and pianist Michael Gurt, who will perform with Festival Co-founder Russell Harlow, Leslie’s husband of 37 years.
“It was really wonderful of her friends from around the country, who basically dropped everything to come here to play,” Harlow said. “This is going to be really nice.”
Tickets are free, but registration is highly suggested to ensure admission, he said.
“That way we can see how many people will attend, because there will be a reception afterwards,” Harlow said.
The program will consist of Johannes Brahms’ Two Songs for Clarinet, Viola and Piano Op. 91, Robert Schumann’s “Märchenbilder” (“Fairy Tale Scenes”) and Gabriel Fauré: Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, op. 45, according to Harlow.
“The works by Brahms are lovely pieces that are called ‘viola songs’ because they are originally for viola and a mezzo soprano,” he said. “Before Leslie passed, she and I got together with Michael in August and recorded these songs along with Brahms’ trio Opus. 40. This was the first time we had performed these works.”
One of the reasons why these works are on the program is because Leslie loved them, Harlow said.
“I remember I would play these songs while we were doing the editing for the recording, and she would close her eyes and just listen,” he said. “It was very sweet, which makes them quite meaningful in this setting.”
The next work of the night will be the Schumann, performed by Neubauer and Gurt, Harlow said.
“‘Märchenbilder’ is truly a picturesque piece that starts out with a beautiful slow melody before it starts dancing around,” he said. “Then it comes back to the slow melody at the end.”
Schumann wrote several “Fairy Tale” pieces, Harlow said.
“The interesting thing is that these pieces aren’t a reference to any specific story,” he said. “So it’s up to the listener to put in their own story of what the music makes them see. That’s the beauty of them.”
After intermission, the music will continue with Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, op. 45, Harlow said.
“We’ve always featured this and another, the C Minor Quartet, which are really great works by Fauré in our festival,” he said.
Harlow is grateful for the musicians, who have all formed strong friendships over the years.
Neubauer hails from New York, and was appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, shortly after he graduated the Juilliard School, Harlow said.
Since then, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras, and is now the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College.
“Paul has known Leslie since they were students at the Juilliard School in 1983,” Harlow said.
Chase was the programmer and host of the “Music and Imagination” course at the Philoctetes Center in New York from 2007 to 2011, Harlow said.
She gives master classes at music conservatories throughout the country, including The Juilliard School, the University of Texas at Austin, the Frost School at the University of Miami and at San Jose State University.
In addition, Chase was recently a music adviser for Dover Publications, and her articles have been published by The Strad and Strings magazines, and the online journal Stay Thirsty.
Solow is a charter member of the Beethoven Festival roster, a past president of the American String Teachers, president of the Violoncello Society, Inc. of New York, and two of his recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards.
Rounding out the lineup is Gurt, the winner of the 1982 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, held in Salt Lake City.
He is a piano mentor at the National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland, and was the chair of the piano department at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival from 1987 through 2007.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to see how all of these friends and musicians responded to her passing, because of how they felt about Leslie,” Harlow said. “The Park City Beethoven Festival, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, is a musical dream she followed after she discovered the viola when she was 9. This is a labor of love, and that’s what kept this going. And we want to keep the festival alive and vibrant.”
Ziegfeld Theater Company continues its two-weekend run of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” from Sept. 30-Oct. 1, and Oct. 5-8 at the Egyptian Theatre.
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