Park City Beethoven Festival’s 38th anniversary will return to presenting in-person concerts this summer
COVID protocols will be in place to ensure safety
The Park City Beethoven Festival founder and resident violist Leslie Harlow is ready to celebrate the chamber music event’s 38th anniversary by presenting a summer long string of in-person performances starting this month after coronavirus concerns put a rest to last year’s concerts.
“We had our first rehearsal a month ago with our pianist Pam Jones, and it was almost as if we hadn’t stopped rehearsing,” Harlow said. “We fell right into it, but I was still a little out of practice concentrating on counting bars and playing together.”
While rehearsing a Mozart Trio she had played hundreds of times, Harlow began playing her viola eight measures early, and realized she was playing the notes her husband Russell usually plays on his clarinet.
“It was a strange feeling, because I just jumped in,” Harlow said with a laugh. “So we have to get back into the routine of things.”
Returning to the festival’s routine will be a little different this year, because of COVID-19 protocols Harlow opted to implement for her musicians’ and audiences’ safety.
“We are asking whoever attends our festival performances to follow our guidelines,” she said. “For the safety of everyone attending this event we are asking you to distance by more than 6 feet from others not in your vaccinated group. If you are not vaccinated, we would request you wear a well-fitted mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times, and even if you are vaccinated, we would ask you to please consider wearing your masks.”
At the very least, Harlow asks all festival goers to have masks on hand in case of shifts in weather and venues.
“There may be times when we are performing outside when a storm will come in, and everyone will have to crowd really close together inside a shed or park gazebo,” she said. “We don’t want to be the cause of another spike in COVID infections, because we want to continue performing live concerts again.”
This year’s performances will include a couple of new series — the concerts at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts and the Beethoven at the Barn, according to Harlow. (See accompanying schedule).
“The concerts at the Eccles Center kind of take the place of concerts that we usually held at Temple Har Shalom and the Park City Community Church, which weren’t available as venues this year,” she said.
Ari Ioannides, executive director of the Park City Institute, which schedules concerts and performances at the Eccles Center, contacted Harlow about presenting a chamber music series partnership.
The tickets for those performances will be available soon at parkcityinstitute.org.
Beethoven at the Barn, which will take place at McPolin Farm, was originally going to start last summer, before being canceled due to COVID-19, Harlow said.
“We had actually gone through the whole process of securing a permit and worked with farm manager Minda Stockdale to make this happen,” she said. “This is a big deal for us, and we’re so excited about that.”
The Beethoven at the Barn concert tickets are $20, and must be reserved and purchased in advance by visiting beethovenfestivalparkcity.org, because there will be no tickets sold at the gate, Harlow said.
Half of the proceeds will be split between the Beethoven Festival and Friends of the Farm, the organization that maintains the farm, she said.
“We actually played at the farm 20 years ago,” Harlow said. “It was the first concert that was performed at the farm right after they rehabilitated the shed. So it is great for us to do it again.”
The concerts will take place in the shed, and the audience will be able to spread out on the farm.
“For the safety of everyone attending this event, we also ask that you wear face masks and do some social distancing,” Harlow said. “We’re also asking people to be vaccinated just in case there is a storm, where everyone will have to come into the shed, and be really close together. That’s why only 50 tickets are being sold for each concert.”
Audience members are also encouraged to hike or bike to the farm, because there will be no on-site parking.
The Beethoven Festival will also offer a free shuttle that will start running to and from St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 5:30 p.m. on concert nights, Harlow said.
“When people purchase tickets, they can let us know if they want to take the shuttle,” she said. “If they do, they need to show proof of vaccination, because the shuttle is a small and confined place.”
This year’s festival will also feature the return of an audience favorite — the Chamber Music in the Park concerts, which are collaborations with Mountain Town Music.
These free concerts begin at 6:15 p.m. every Monday for six weeks, starting on July 19, at the City Park gazebo, Harlow said.
“We want people to feel free to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and family picnic,” she said. “What could be more wonderful than enjoying music by your favorite composers performed for you by acclaimed classical solo artists from around the world?”
Like with the other performances, audience members are encouraged to space themselves out and bring masks in case of rain, Harlow said.
“That way if it does storm, people will be able to get under the gazebo closely and safely,” she said.
Although the Beethoven Festival will start performing live concerts, it will continue the virtual Beethoven Festival Online concerts each Sunday night on YouTube.
“We have had many people request we continue to do these,” Harlow said. “Russell is the one who works on them, and it takes a few days to make sure the music and video are synched up to the best sound if there are both music and videos. He also makes sure that the correct performers are in the programs.”
Speaking of performers, this year’s live performances will include violinists Blanka Bednarz and Rebekah Johnson, cellist Tom Landschoot, pianists Jeffrey Price, Stephen Beus and Pamela Palmer Jones and the Reverón Piano Trio — violinist Simon Gollo, cellist Horacio Contreras and pianist Ana Maria Otomendi.
“The Reverón Piano Trio specializes in works by famous Latin composers (like) Heitor Villa-Lobos, Astor Piazolla and Eduardo Alonso Crespo and Joaquín Turina, to name a few,” Harlow said. “And to be safe, we will do a short quarantine and test our guests for COVID when they get here. Once they are cleared, we will rehearse and get ready to perform.”
• July 19 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park bandstand, 6:15 p.m., free
• July 26 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park bandstand, 6:15 p.m., free
• Aug. 2 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park bandstand, 6:15 p.m., free
• Aug. 5 — Beethoven at the Barn, McPolin Farm, 6:30 p.m., $20
• Aug. 8 — Beethoven and Silent Film at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 3 p.m.
• Aug. 9 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park bandstand, 6:15 p.m., free
• Aug. 12 — Beethoven at the Barn, McPolin Farm, 6:30 p.m., $20
• Aug. 16 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park bandstand, 6:15 p.m., free
• Aug 19 — Beethoven at the Barn, McPolin Farm, 6:30 p.m., $20
• Aug. 20 — Beethoven Festival at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 7 p.m.
• Aug. 22 — Beethoven Festival at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 3 p.m.
• Aug. 23 — Chamber Music in the Park, City Park Pavilion, 6:15 p.m., free
• Aug. 26 — Beethoven at the Barn, McPolin Farm, 6:30 p.m., $20
• Aug. 29 — Beethoven Festival with Pianist Stepen Beus at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 3 p.m.
For information and tickets, visit pcmusicfestival.com.
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