Beethoven Festival presents renowned violist and pianist in concert
Program includes works by Hindemith and Casadesus
Celebrated violist Paul Neubauer and renowned pianist Gloria Chien will give a Park City audience a sneak preview of their program they plan to play at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.
The Park City concert, presented by the Park City Beethoven Festival, features works by Paul Hindemith, William Wolstenholme and Francis Casadesus, to name a few composers, and will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Park City Community Church, said festival founder Leslie Harlow.
“The performance will be very impressive, because Paul Neubauer is one of the finest and best-known violists in the world today,” Harlow said. “There really is nothing he can’t do, and he often chooses the most beautiful and flashy works he can.”
Concert-goers will be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Harlow said.
“The church holds up to 80 people, but we are limiting the audience to 35, so we can space people out,” she said. “Masks will be required to be worn properly during the entire event, and we will have the windows open, even if it gets a little cold.”
Harlow’s friendship with Neubauer reaches back to their days as students at the Juilliard School in New York, long before she asked him to become a charter member of the Park City Beethoven Festival roster nearly 40 years ago.
“I sat next to him in the Juilliard Orchestra, and I thought I was going to die,” Harlow said with a laugh. “He was already one of the most accomplished violists worldwide, and he could play anything. He would not only play the viola parts, he would also play the violin parts, even when he wasn’t looking at the music.”
The two became good friends not only through playing music together, but through discovering they had the same private viola teacher, the late Paul Doktor, who happened to be Neubauer’s godfather.
“I had met Paul Doktor in Texas, when he taught a master class, and I attended a music camp he taught,” Harlow said. “We kept in touch, and that’s how I ended up at Juilliard.”
During their days at Juilliard, Harlow would attend Neubauer’s sessions taught by Doktor, but wouldn’t allow Neubauer to stay for her lesson.
“We were really great friends, but it was intimidating sitting next to him,” she said. “He always made the viola look easy, but I knew he was an incredibly hard worker.”
Harlow asked Neubauer to be one of the first artists to perform at the Park City Beethoven Festival when she launched it in 1983.
“He was the featured performer for an event that announced what was known as the Deer Valley Chamber Music Festival,” she said. “The event was held at Steins Lodge in the winter and we had a big storm. So we had to borrow a four-wheel drive SUV from a car dealership in Salt Lake City to be able to get up to the lodge.”
Although Neubauer and his wife, violinist Kerry McDermott, a member of the New York Philharmonic, have performed at the Park City Beethoven Festival over the years, next week’’s performance will be a first for pianist Chien.
Chien was born in Taiwan, and made her orchestral debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra when she was 16, according to Harlow.
She has performed under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard, and former Utah Symphony Music Director Keith Lockhart, she said.
Chien is currently the artist-in-residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and the founder of String Theory, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in downtown Chattanooga.
“Gloria and her husband, violinist Soovin Kim, were just appointed as artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest, one of the oldest chamber music festivals in the United States,” Harlow said. “I’m looking forward to meeting her.”
When: 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30
Where: Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224
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