Breckenridge Music Festival presents final week of performances
If you go
What: The Music of Change
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12
Where: Riverwalk Center
More Info: breckenridgemusicfestival.com
What: The Safekeeping of Memory
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
Where: Riverwalk Center
More info: mayabeiser.com
What: Thought Bubbles with Steven Schick and Maya Beiser; FREE community event
When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
Where: Old Masonic Hall
What: Sila: The Breath of the World; FREE community event
When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
Where: Riverwalk Center Lawn
What: Yoga with the Birds; FREE community event
When: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14
Where: Riverwalk Center Lawn
What: Trail Mix; free community event
When: Aug. 11 – 21
Where: Illinois Creek Trail, Iowa Hill Trail, Moonstone Trail
The Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) welcomes conductor, percussionist and lecturer Steven Schick to lead the festival’s final week of performances. he has programmed a series of thoughtful musical experiences that range from an orchestral closing night with repertoire steeped in political and social change to a free yoga class incorporating music by environmental composer, John Luther Adams.
Schick is a music professor at UC San Diego and author of “The Percussionist’s Art,” a memoir, history and analysis of the solo percussion repertoire. As conductor, he is artistic director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. As guest conductor he has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, Ensemble Modern, the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble.
Again, he will appear as a guest conductor, this time to lead the BMF’s closing night, “The Music of Change,” on Friday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Schick has designed a program of music that features composer Maurice Ravel’s response to the French Revolution, music composed immediately before World War I and the Colorado premiere of contemporary American composer Missy Mazzoli’s “Violent, Violent Sea,” a piece inspired by the turbulence of the 21st century. Schick says that the theme of memory and remembrance runs throughout these works, evident in Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, a work about a mother and her children and the memory of childhood. This theme of memory creates a line of continuity throughout the week’s performances.
FESTIVAL AT THE FRINGE
As artistic partner for Festival at the Fringe, Schick provides an interpretive connection for all performances produced in partnership with the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA), through the exploration of music and the natural world in a series of outdoor performances and unusual combinations of instruments and artistic mediums.
He interprets the music in this last week of the festival as being related to both the connection of music to landscape and environment, as well as memory and remembrance.
“These two themes, although they seem separate, have a direct connection for me,” Schick said in a statement.
For instance, David Lange’s “World to Come” is a “love song for lower Manhattan and (Lang’s) grief at seeing it in flames in 2001.” Schick wants audience members to know that the place in which the music is being created is significant, and not only that, but “place feeds music,” he said.
His childhood growing up on a farm in Iowa with his pianist mother playing Chopin late at night also influences the connection of these two themes and how this will play out in BMF’s Fringe Series.
“To us, Festival at the Fringe means interesting pairings of musicians and instruments, ones you might not find in a traditional orchestra setting,” said Tamara Nuzzaci Park, BMF’s executive director. “It allows us to take our vision of diversity to the next level.”
First up in the Fringe series, Sila: The Breath of the World, will be performed live on and around the Riverwalk Center lawn at 4 p.m., Aug. 13. This cutting-edge composition by the once Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams premiered at Lincoln Center in New York, and comes to Breckenridge for the first time as part of BIFA. BMF orchestra musicians and the Denver Pro Chorale will be set loose from the conductor’s baton and allowed to play at their own tempo, with just one condition: each sustained tone or rising phrase lasts the length of a full exhalation. A flexible, modern piece, Sila involves ensembles of musicians — including brass, strings and voice — performing at their own pace.
Then, on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m., the BMF and BIFA present “The Safekeeping of Memory,” conducted by Steven Schick, with a program that reflects on the human connection to the natural and spiritual world. Maya Beiser, a cellist, performs David Lang’s “World to Come,” a meditation on the life and death of the soul. BMF concertmaster, Kathryn Hatmaker, follows with the deeply personal work “Rest These Hands” for solo violin enhanced by Josh Dorman’s stop-motion animations.
Following the concert, join musical partners Steven Schick and Maya Beiser for “Thought Bubbles,” a free late-night conversation and performance at Old Masonic Hall starting at 10 p.m., accompanied by a champagne tasting provided by Basecamp Wine & Spirits. Schick refers to the evening as “Middle East meets Midwest,” and says “Cellist Maya Beiser grew up on a Kibbutz in Israel, and I grew up on a farm in Iowa. We’ve been friends and musical partners for 25 years. From Golijov’s elegiac Mariel to John Cage’s amplified cactus, new sounds and old friends will fill the night air.”
The next morning on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 8 a.m. a free yoga class will begin with Meta Yoga Studios on the Riverwalk Center Lawn. Starting during the Savasana of the class, the BMF orchestra’s flute and percussion sections will perform songbirdsongs by environmental composer John Luther Adams.
From Aug. 11-21 the BMF partners again with BIFA to deliver 10 of the concerts in the free Trail Mix series, which features musical performances as well as visual art installations along Breckenridge-area trails. Catch Steven Schick’s solo percussion performance at 2 p.m. on Moonstone Trail.
By featuring the works of modern composers, the BMF and BIFA hope to “challenge and educate audiences, to present what is important to the field of music, and share reflections on modern society through music,” Park said. “We can create a musical experience here in Breckenridge where visitors are not only inspired by mountains and mountain culture, but also great art.”
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