Park City Beethoven Festival fills March with chamber music concerts
Performances scheduled at the Eccles Center and Community Church
Violist Leslie Harlow is looking forward to the next two performances of the 2022 Park City Beethoven Festival’s 2022 Spring Concert Series.
The first will be a Chamber Music at the Eccles Center Concert, in partnership with the Park City Institute, on Sunday, March 13, at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
The concert will feature violinist Stephanie Chase, pianist Doris Peterson and cellist Lauren Posey, who will perform alongside festival founder Harlow and her husband, clarinetist Russell Harlow.
The last time Chase, the winner of the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition, performed with the Beethoven Festival was in 2017, so Leslie Harlow is looking forward to her return.
“She and Doris are both based out of New York, and they have already started rehearsing,” she said. “They have played together many times, and are excited to play together here.”
Harlow first heard about Chase after the violinist performed at another music festival.
“My friend who runs the festival told me that they had such a good time with Stephanie, and I decided to give her a call and see if she’d be interested in playing with us,” Harlow said. “We had her scheduled in 2020, but we had to cancel the summer because of COVID. So, I’m especially pleased that she still wants to play with us, because she is a wonderful soloist.”
Sunday’s concert also marks Posey’s return to the Beethoven Festival.
“We’ve played with her a couple of times,” Harlow said. “She’s from Utah and has some great background, including a doctorate in music.”
Posey is also a founding member of the Rosco String Quartet and a member of the Ballet West Orchestra, according to Harlow.
Sunday’s performance will include Faure’s Piano Quartet in C Minor and Menotti’s Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, she said.
The concert will also include Pablo Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen,” as well as “Andante” from Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata, both of which will feature Chase.
“The whole concert is going to be a glowing, engaging and colorful collection of works and combinations that will please both classical fans and newcomers alike,” Harlow said. “(The Rachmaninov) is a movement so beautiful that it has been stolen by violinists who already have so many great works to perform, and ‘Zigeunerweisen’ is a great favorite. We are thrilled with Stephani’s choices for this musical favorites-filled concert.”
Tickets for the Chamber Music at the Eccles Center can be purchased by visiting parkcityinstitute.org/chamber-music.
“It’s wonderful putting together this series at the Eccles Center,” Harlow said. “It gives us a forum during the winter.”
The second Beethoven Festival concert this month will be held on March 22 at Park City Community Church, Harlow said.
The performance, which will feature violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Gloria Chien, was originally scheduled for Sept. 30, but had to be postponed after Neubauer cracked his elbow, according to Harlow.
“He is now back playing again, and we’re so happy he will be playing with us,” she said. “He hasn’t been in Park City for a number of years, because he’s been so busy.”
The concert will be for fully vaccinated and masked attendees, Harlow said.
“We are limiting the number of audience members to 35, because the venue is such an intimate one,” she said. “So we are encouraging people to purchase their tickets in advance.”
The program will feature works by Paul Hindemith, William Wolstenholme and Francis Casadesus, to name a few, Harlow said.
“As one of the finest virtuoso violists in the world, (Neubauer) delights displaying, almost casually, the most demanding technical feats on the instrument with disarming ease,” she said. “He is a wizard on the viola. He is fearless. His technique is unbelievable, and it’s so engaging and fun to attend a concert he plays, because you know he’s having a good time.”
Harlow first met Neubauer while they both attended the Juilliard School in New York.
“We were music-stand partners, and I can’t over emphasize how intimidating he was,” she said with a laugh.
The two musicians bonded over music, and when Harlow established the Beethoven Music Festival 39 years ago, she invited Neubauer to play.
“He was the first guest artist to play with us,” she said. “We played a special concert at Stein Eriksen Lodge. We had invited a lot of media to cover the performance, and there was a really bad snowstorm. But some people were able to show up.”
While Neubauer was in town all those years ago, he and Harlow did some viola music research at Brigham Young University.
“BYU has the most extensive collection of viola music in the world in what is called the Primrose Archives,” Harlow said. “Paul knew David Dalton, the violist who set up the archives, and we went down and stayed at his house and did our research. There is so much music there, some of which is out of print.”
While Harlow and Neubauer have known each other for nearly 40 years, this concert will mark the first time Harlow will have the chance to perform with Chien, the current artist-in-residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
She is also 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: 3 p.m., Sunday, March 13
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 22
Where: Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224
With the wrap-up of the 2023 Sundance and Slamdance film festivals, it’s up to Park City Film to carry the art-house torch with its weekend screenings.
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