Meet the chamber musicians |

Meet the chamber musicians

Submitted by Leslie Harlow

The new Spring Chamber Music Festival, a collaboration between Utah Valley University and the Park City Chamber Music Festival, continues this week with three exciting concerts bringing together powerhouse classical solo artists from across the nation. They will be joined by acclaimed clarinetist Russell Harlow and violist Leslie Harlow, along with the faculty artists from Utah Valley University, violinist Donna Fairbanks, pianist Hilary Demske and Matthew Nelson, clarinetist. The concerts will be held Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Sundance Resort and at Temple Har Shalom in Park City.

Award-winning virtuoso cellist Denise Djokic has been spending the week traveling between Park City and Orem, rehearsing, coaching chamber music and conducting master classes. Of the three guest musicians at the Festival, Djokic has the most strenuous schedule, something she thrives on.

Audiences need not be fooled by Djokic s quiet and gracious demeanor; she is a powerhouse concert soloist of the highest order praised worldwide for her sincere, powerful interpretations, and her bold command of the instrument. Instantly recognized for her "arrestingly beautiful tone colour" (The Strad Magazine), she moves audiences with her natural musical instinct and her remarkable combination of strength and sensitivity. An acclaimed soloist with many principle orchestras, she has appeared with the Toronto Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Portland Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Mexico City’s Orquesta Filharmonica UNAM, as well as the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Omaha, Montreal, Winnipeg, Syracuse, Missoula, Santa Cruz, Brazil’s Amazonas Philharmonic, and many others across the continent.

Immediately following the release of her debut recording on the Sony Classical label, Djokic was a featured performer at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Her self-titled CD won great critical acclaim and received a 2002 East Coast Music Award, the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Grammies. Her following recording, "Folklore", (Allegro/Endeavor) received a JUNO nomination as well as an ECMA, and hit the Billboard Chart’s top 15 Classical CD’s. "Folklore" was also featured on NPR’s "All Things Considered". Djokic has recently recorded the complete Britten Solo Suites for the ATMA label. She has been the subject of a BRAVO! TV documentary entitled "Seven Days, Seven Nights", which followed her through a weeklong recital tour.

Violinist Dara Morales spent several years performing as principal second violin with the Utah Symphony before winning the audition to join the acclaimed Philadelphia

Orchestra. While in Utah, Morales won the hearts of audiences for her elegant and energetic concerto performances with the Utah Symphony. Now the newly appointed

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Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra, she previously served as Principal Second Violin and Interim Associate Concertmaster of the Puerto Rico Symphony and Concertmaster of the Northern Kentucky Symphony. Ms. Morales earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-

Conservatory of Music, where she was graduate teaching assistant and taught in the prestigious Starling Prep Program.

As soloist, she has performed with the Utah, Cincinnati, Puerto Rico, Bangor and Lancaster Symphony Orchestras, among others, and has been a regular participant in the Grand Tetons, Park City International and Autumn Classics Music Festivals as well as the Intermezzo Chamber Series. Her principal teachers include Kurt Sassmannshaus, Helen Kwalwasser, and Dorothy DeLay, and chamber music coaches Peter Oundjian, Henry Meyer, and the Tokyo Quartet. She is married to cellist Jesús Morales. Their daughter Isabel Alexandra was born in April of 2007, only one week after Dara and Jesus finished recording demanding chamber music recording with Russell and Leslie Harlow, now out on the ISOMIKE Label.

Pianist Michael Gurt has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the

Philadelphia Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis

Symphony, the Capetown Symphony, the China National Symphony Orchestra, and the

Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, South Africa. He has made solo appearances in Alice Tully Hall in New York, Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, Orchestra Hall in Detroit, City Hall in Hong Kong, the Victorian Arts Center in Melbourne, Australia, Baxter Hall in Capetown, South Africa, and the Attaturk Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey. Gurt has collaborated with the Takacs String Quartet, and he recently performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Queensland. He has served on the juries of both the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and the New Orleans International Piano Competition, and he has recorded on the Naxos, Centaur, and Redwood labels.

Gurt is Paula Garvey Manship Distinguished Professor of Piano at Louisiana

State University. He serves as Piano Mentor at the Hot Springs Music Festival, and is also the head of the piano department at the Sewanee Summer Music Center. He has served as Piano Chair of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association, and he has taught at two summer music seminars held at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan. Professor Gurt holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School. In 1982 he won First Prize in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and he was also a prize winner in international competitions held in Pretoria, South Africa, and Sydney, Australia.

The remaining Spring Chamber Music Festival concerts are as follows:

  • Saturday, April 10, at 2:30 p.m. at Sundance Resort. Tickets available at the door $5 for students and UVU faculty, $10 for seniors 62+, $15 regular admission. Program: Haydn Piano Trio, the Poulenc Sonata for Two Clarinets, the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and the Faure C Minor Piano Quartet.
  • Sunday, April 11, at 2:30 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom in Park City. Tickets available at the door $5 for students and UVU faculty, $10 for seniors 62+, $15 regular admission.

    Program: Copland Clarinet Sonata, Poulenc Sonata for Two Clarinets, Schickele Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano and the Dvorak Piano Quintet.

  • Monday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. House Concert and artist meet-and-greet at the home of Jan Zinn in Park City. Please email chmusic@pcmusicfestival for more information and to RSVP.