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Chamber music concerts renamed as the Beethoven Festival

An open concert at Temple Har Shalom is one of the highlights for The Beethoven Music Festival. This springs concert series will begin Saturday. (Photo by Jon Scarlet)
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Leslie Harlow, the director of the Park City International Music Festival, the Spring Chamber Music Festival, the Autumn Classics Festival and the Winter Classics Festival decided to make things easier by consolidating all these ventures under the name, The Beethoven Music Festival.

"Before it was kind of confusing, all the concerts we presented. While they all had nice titles, we wanted to pull them all into one thing so people will know it’s just one organization putting on these performances," Harlow said during an interview with The Park Record. "Also, we happen to like Beethoven."

Still, that doesn’t mean all the concerts will feature a Beethoven piece.

"Other Beethoven Festivals around the world, and there are quite a few, don’t play Beethoven all the time," Harlow said. "However, we are working through all of the Beethoven String Quartets and all of his chamber-music repertoire, and will perform them throughout the year."

The spring concerts that will run this week in Park City and Salt Lake City won’t feature any Beethoven, but will include some interesting and pieces by Mozart, Handel, Mendelssohn, Chopin and others.

The Festival opens Saturday, April 13, at the Main Salt Lake City Library with a free concert at noon, Harlow said.

The musicians will be clarinetists Russell Harlow, Matthew Nelson, violist Leslie Harlow and pianist Bryan Stanley.

"Russ has some great solo works that he will showcase, and he and Bryan have been working on some nice virtuoso pieces," Harlow said. "One is Rimsky-Korsokov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee,’ that works well on clarinet."

"We’ve also discovered an andante by Reinecke that was originally written for horn, and we will play it with a horn on a later date in the festival, but we’re going to play it on Saturday with clarinet, viola and piano," she said. "Then we’ll play some music by Bruch, which are really engaging pieces."

The first concert in Park City will be on Sunday, April 14, at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., at 3 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens at the door.

"As most people who have played or attended the concerts there have told us they love the venue," Harlow said about the temple. "It’s got great acoustics and the surroundings are quite beautiful.

"One of the things that I love about the venue is that we have chairs that we can move around so people can set up around the players," she said. "We feel very free playing there."

The concert will be highlighted by music performed by classical guitarist Jon Yerby.

"We’re doing the performances in collaboration with Utah Valley University, which is what we do every spring, and they have really developed their music department by hiring many full-time players," Harlow said. "One of those musicians is Jon. He is wonderful. He’ll play some solo works and then we’ll do fun work by Boccherini called ‘Fandango’ Quintet for Guitar and Strings.

"Also, our violinist Donna Fairbanks, who is the head of the UVU music department, will play alto violin with Jon on some numbers," Harlow said.

The concert will also feature works by Stamitz, Tchaikovsky and Schumann.

On Tuesday, April 16, the concert will be held in room 507 in the Gunther Trades Building at Utah Valley University, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

"We have a great number of pieces, including the Kodaly Duo for Violin and Cello," Harlow said. "The performers include cellist Cheung Chau, who is the new conductor at UVU, and his wife, violinist Blanka Bednarz and violinist Yeagi Broadwell."

Other works will include Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece for Two Clarinets and Piano, featuring basset horn player Matthew Nelson, and Handel’s ‘Ouverture" for Two Clarinets and Horn, which will include horn player Jeb Wallace, Harlow said.

The last two concerts on Friday, April 19, and Sunday, April 21, will be held in Park City. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens at the door.

Friday’s performance will be held at Park City Community Church, 4501 S.R. 224, at 8 p.m., and will feature Yerby’s guitar, Harlow explained.

"He has a bunch of works to play, including works by Villa-Lobos, Bach, and Handel," she said. " the way, Bach works beautifully on classical guitar."

Harlow is looking forward to playing at the church.

"It has one of the most beautiful pianos and we’ll be joined by Dr. Brian Stanley, who feels quite at home there, because he is the choir director there," Harlow said. "The acoustics are wonderful and the scenery is breathtaking."

Sunday’s performance, which will end the series, will be back at Temple Har Shalom at 3 p.m.

"Recently, Donna and violist Elizabeth Kuefler Wallace performed the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Viola and with a full orchestra at UVU," Harlow said. "We have an arrangement written for a string sextet, including bassist Denson Argula that will play."

"We will also play the Mozart Horn Quintet with a horn, two violas, violin and cello," she said. "The two violas give it a nice resonance and lower timbre. It sounds great in the temple."

Programming the spring Beethoven Festival concerts was a smooth process, Harlow said.

"We wanted to find works that complemented each other and we looked at what the musicians who are performing with us had been playing recently," she said. "We brought that combination together and began piecing each concert."

For more information about the Beethoven Festival, visit http://www.pcmusicfestival.com/2013spring.html


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