Beethoven Festival is a musical treat in Park City |

Beethoven Festival is a musical treat in Park City

Cellis Jeffrey Solow will be among the renowned classical musician roster of this year’s Beethoven Festival.
Joe Labolito/Courtesy of the Beethoven Festival

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One of Park City’’s unique musical treats is the collection of concerts called the Beethoven Festival.

Now going into its 35th season, the event is Utah’s oldest classical music festival, and it is all about inviting the audience in, creating the atmosphere classical chamber music lovers enjoy the most: Intimate performances, up close and personal.

Every concert is unique and filled with variety. The artists prepare three to four concert programs to perform each week in different venues around the city.

The Beethoven Festival directors Leslie and Russell Harlow are artists themselves. They invite musical colleagues from around the world, and each artist is chosen because his or her idea of fun is to rehearse like mad and perform chamber music with great energy with other great players.

On top of performing in Park City, the Festival artists travel out to senior assisted living facilities and nursing homes during the Festival as well as presenting master classes. Young artists will also be joining the Festival during the summer to be mentored by the roster artists in residence.

The Beethoven Festival’s schedule and descriptions of the performances is as follows:

WEEK 1 – Works of Handel, Mozart, Bruch, Rameau, Telemann, Chopin, Reger, Turina and Husa

• The Festival opens Friday, July 6, and Sunday, July 8, with two programs of works from the baroque to the contemporary eras of chamber music. At both the Park City Community Church and at Temple Har Shalom, Festival keyboard artist Dr. Pamela Palmer Jones will provide her harpsichord on which she will perform solos and in ensemble. Audiences will enjoy hearing and seeing this exquisite instrument performed in the Festival’s signature intimate concert settings.

• Friday’s offering at 7:30 p.m. at the Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224, includes the Harpsichord Suite in E Minor by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Mozart Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano and Chopin’s “Nocturne” arranged for Clarinet and Piano. The works will be presented by pianist Jones, cellist Cheung Chau and the Festival’s official artists in residence Russell and Leslie Harlow on clarinet and viola, respectively.

• On Sunday, July 8 at 3 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., Beethoven Festival artists will feature the “Slovaquie Evocations” written for Clarinet, Viola and Cello by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Czech-born American composer Karel Husa. This is the work the Harlows performed as guest artists for the International Clarfest in Vancouver, Canada, and recorded for the ISOMIKE label. The acclaimed recording received rave reviews by both the composer himself and from the London Dvorak Society. The concert will open with the sensuous quartet for violin, viola, cello and piano by Spanish composer Joaquin Turina that will feature violinist Donna Fairbanks. Jones will add the Handel Suite in G Major for solo harpsichord that features the famous “Passacaglia” as its final movement. Jones will then move to piano to join the Harlows for selections from romantic works for clarinet, viola and piano by Max Bruch.

• Monday’s Beethoven Festival in the Park concert at 6 p.m. on July 9, at City Park will include additional works not yet heard this week along with selections chosen from the programs of both concerts.

WEEK 2 – Works of Mozart, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Piazzolla, Brahms and Reger

More artists arrive the second week including violinists Simón Gollo (Swiss-Venezuelan) and Blanka Bednarz from Poland, who will be joined by classical and jazz piano recording artist John Jensen. They will team up with violinist Donna Fairbanks and the Harlows for three concerts in Park City and one in Orem. The artists will also mentor the young artists who arrive in Park City for their opportunity to work alongside the professional solo artists.

• The 7:30 p.m. program for Thursday, July 12, at the Park City Community Church will include three major chamber music favorites: Mozart’s Duo in G Major for Violin and Viola, Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet the famous Mendelssohn Trio in D for Violin, Cello and Piano.

• On Sunday afternoon, July 15 at 3 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom violinists Gollo and Fairbanks, violist Leslie Harlow and cellist Chau will perform a string quartet by Piazzolla, ending the first half with the Scherzo by Brahms for violin and piano. Clarinetist Russell Harlow will join violinist Blanka Bednarz, and the others to perform the impressive Reger Clarinet Quintet. Russell Harlow was featured as guest artist performing this work at the International Clarfest in 2003.

• July 16 – Monday’s Beethoven Festival in the Park concert at 6 p.m. will again feature additional works and selections from the works performed during the week.

WEEK 3 – Works by Debussy, Brahms, Finzi, Bach, Reicha and Fauré

• The roster for Thursday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m., at Park City Community Church will grow to include violinist Manuel Ramos and cellist Jeffrey Solow, both charter members of the Festival roster. Together the artists will present Debussy’s String Quartet and the Brahms Quintet for Piano and Strings, along with the collection of Bagatelles by Finzi for Clarinet and Strings.

• The Sunday concert on July 22 at 3 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom will feature the Reicha Clarinet Quintet featuring Russell Harlow, the Bach Suite No. 6 for Solo Cello (most recently performed by Jeffrey Solow on the Bargemusic Series in New York) and Gabriel Fauré’s Quartet in G Minor for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello.

• Monday’s Beethoven Festival in the Park concert on July 23 at 6 p.m. will again feature additional works and selections from the works performed during the week.

WEEK 4 – Works of Dvorak, Beethoven, Poulenc, Brahms, more Brahms and Bartok!

Associate Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony Kathryn Eberle, Utah Symphony cellist Anne Lee along with New York pianist Doris Stevenson join the Harlows and violinist Donna Fairbanks for the Festival’s fourth week.

• The program on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Park City Community Church will include Beethoven’s Duo No 3 in B Flat arranged for Clarinet and Viola, the Poulenc Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and the Piano Quintet Op. 81 by Dvorak.

• Sunday’s concert on July 29 at 3 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom will feature violinist Kathryn Eberle, cellist Anne Lee and pianist Doris Stevenson performing the Brahms Trio in C Minor. Violinist Donna Fairbanks, clarinetist Russell Harlow and pianist Doris Stevenson will perform “Contrasts” by Bartok and Russell Harlow and Doris Stevenson will present the F Minor Clarinet Sonata by Brahms.

• July 30 – Monday’s Beethoven Festival in the Park concert at 6 p.m. will again feature additional works and selections from the works performed during the week.

• Additional Festival in the Park Concerts will be Aug. 6 and 13.

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