Music festival to feature renowned musicians |

Music festival to feature renowned musicians

Artwork by Homer Clark, a friend of the Park City International Music Festival.

After 22 years, the Park City International Music Festival has grown into a world-class event. Some of the most talented artists in the country are looking forward to playing in Park City next week.

"They love to come and play and love to play with their peers and friends, that’s the real secret of the festival," said Leslie Harlow, violinist and organizer of the event. "They just love to come here. They come for way below their normal fees. In fact they start contacting us. Their agents don’t contact us, they contact us personally. It’s a different kind of feeling entirely."

This summer’s festival opens with the first Park City concert on July 5 at Saint Mary’s Church at 8 p.m. featuring renowned virtuoso violinist Charles Castleman.

"Castleman was a child prodigy who has continued to wow audiences throughout his career. He has performed as soloist with all the great orchestras around the world and recently returned from performing recitals in Sydney, Australia in May," Harlow said.

Students come from around the world travel to study the violin with Castleman at the famed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he heads the string department, according to Harlow. "Castleman’s playing is virtuosic and muscular, with great energy and intensity," Harlow said.

Harlow has brought musical credibility to the state with her ability to attract top talent.

"The artists who come to play are among the best classical solo artists of our generation," said former Utah Symphony director Joseph Silverstein about the festival.

Other local musicians agree.

"Leslie does a fantastic job of bringing world-class, world renowned musicians to Utah. Without her, we would not be so lucky to have those musicians here," said Bonnie Felger, cellist studio recording artist from Taylorsville.

This year’s festival concentrates entirely on chamber music (works featuring 1 to 5 artist performers, one person on each part with no conductor) and during the fall at the new Autumn Classics Music Festival, the program will include chamber ensembles, orchestra with soloists and chorus, and master classes.

"The artists who perform love what they do, and it shows in the performances. Each concert is unique – concerts you can’t hear anywhere else," Harlow said. "This popular format is the same one used at the other famous classical festivals throughout the world: Santa Fe, Casals Festival, Marlboro, Tanglewood and Aspen."

Because of the talent that will be displayed, Harlow said audiences will observe improvisation among the musicians, something only to be found in a chamber music setting with expert musicians.

"The musicians have to be extremely talented and very creative," Harlow said. "I feel like the definition of an artist is they can do this, because they can feel it, and feel if it’s right. They know so much about music and their instruments that they know if it’s right to do a particular thing.

"The virtuoso style takes great commitment and a fearlessness that only some players can muster, and this style does not only mean impressive rapid technique, but includes incredibly sweet and intensely intimate expression," Harlow said in an email. "Another aspect of this playing can be great passionate heartfelt playing. Each performance is filled with inspiration and there are always great moments that no amount of careful rehearsal and planning could duplicate. That is the magic of live performance, we want to share this great love of music with the audience. That may be why the Park City Music Festival performances have an appeal for even those who are not experts on classical music, or may have never heard a chamber music concert before."

The expressive artists chosen to perform in Park City love to show off, Harlow said. "This gives the festival its own special flavor of performance. To compare the festival concerts to dining in a restaurant, the festival artists skip the carefully carved radishes, instead serving up sumptuous, rich and tasty musical experiences. Audiences enjoy hearing the artists challenging each other and having fun." Aside from Castleman, here are the other musicians that will be featured: Violinist Dara Morales and cellist Jesus Morales

"These young artists bring their own fiery approaches to the concerts," Harlow said.

Violist Leslie Harlow

The organizer of the event will also perform. At Juilliard her famed viola teacher Paul Doktor called Leslie Harlow the "wild horse", which she considered a great compliment, Harlow said. When Harlow performed together with a famous and careful string quartet, her fellow violist ordered her to change her style to suit theirs, something she would not do, causing sparks to fly, but both the audience and music critics at the resulting performance raved that this was one of the most exciting concerts they had heard from this group in years. Clarinetist Russell Harlow

Leslie’s husband, who also assists in organizing the event is one of the marquee clarinetists in the country.

"He’s respected throughout the clarinet world as being one of the most expressive solo and chamber clarinetists performing today, as a young player growing up in LA, Russell Harlow studied with the great clarinetists Harold Wright and Mitchell Lurie, also attending master classes and coaching with great string players including cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinist Charles Libove. After joining the Utah Symphony at the age of 21, Harlow went on to establish one of Utah’s oldest performance series: the Nova Series, then joined the Park City Music Festival in 1985 as co-director," Leslie Harlow explained in email. Cellist Scott Ballantyne

"Another young performer joined the Utah Symphony when he was 16 years old. Ballantyne, a talent destined to become both a great performer and teacher in New York City. Ballantyne comes back to Utah to perform with the Festival, having won great acclaim worldwide as a concerto soloist and recording artist."

Cellist Evan Drachman

"Also joining the Festival’s summer roster during the third week is the wonderfully charismatic cellist Evan Drachman, who happens to be the grandson of the great cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Drachman is carrying on the tradition of bigger-than-life cello playing, traveling the world performing (and fishing for trout whenever possible)." Former Bachauer Competition Winner Gail Niwa

Utah favorite and Bachauer Piano Competition former winner Niwa joins the Festival its final week. "Niwa will be sure to thrill audiences again with the intense, warm playing that won her the unprecedented ‘triple crown’: Audience Favorite, Best Chamber Musician and Grand Prize at the Bachauer Competition. Award-winning violinist Monte Belknap and recording flutist Laurel Ann Maurer round out the roster for the 22nd Park City&SLC Music Festival for the summer." Flutist Laurel Ann Maurer

"Laurel Maurer makes Utah her home but she performs regularly around the world, recording in Europe, performing in New York and at international flute festivals everywhere. Ms. Maurer has many recordings to her credit and has commissioned an impressive number of works by the world’s finest contemporary composers."

The Park City International Music Festival will start next week. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors, and $20 for regular admission. All concerts are indoors and casual summer clothing is entirely appropriate. The Park City concerts are held at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church and the Park City Community Church (Park City’s favorite chamber music venues) and the Salt Lake concerts are held at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah. All concerts begin at 8 pm. For a calendar of performances and for more information, visit

Schedule of events: *July 3 at 8 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah: Mozart Piano Quartet in G Minor, Brahms Sonata Op. 78 No. 1 in A for Violin and Piano and Ingolf Dahl Concerto a Tres for Violin, Clarinet and Cello. *July 5 at 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Park City: Mozart Duo No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Viola, Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano and Schickele Quartet for Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Piano.

*July 9 at 8 p.m. at Park City Community Church: Shostakovich Sonata for Viola and Piano, Ingolf Dahl – Concerto a Tre for Violin, Clarinet and Cello Beethoven Trio Op. 1 No.1 for Violin, Cello and Piano.

*July 13 at 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Park City: Mozart Sonata for Piano Four Hands, Barber Sonata for Cello and Piano and Hindemith Quartet for Violin,Clarinet, Cello, Piano

*July 14 at 8 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall: Faure Dolly Suite for Clarinet, Flute and Piano, Mozart Sonata for Four Hands and Hindemith Quartet for Violin, Clarinet, Cello, Piano.

*July 16 at 8 p.m. at Park City Community Church: Quantz Quartet for Flute and Strings, Debussy Afternoon of a Faun for Flute, Clarinet and Piano; Glazunov Quintet for Two Violins, Viola, Two Cellos, and Bruch Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. *July 20 at 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church: Piano Solo Work by Albeniz performed by Gail Niwa A. Rubenstein, Dvorak, Rachmaninoff for Cello, Piano; and Brahms Op. 26 Piano Quartet in G Minor.

*July 21 at 8 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall: Piano Solo Work by Albeniz performed by Gail Niwa, Janacek Fairy Tale for Cello and Piano; and Brahms Op. 26 Piano Quartet in G Minor. *July 23 at 8 p.m. P.C. Community Church: Janacek Fairy Tale for Cello and Piano, Reicha Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Turina Quartet for Piano and Strings.

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