Alpenglow warms audience |

Alpenglow warms audience

Kimberly Nicoletti

SILVERTHORNE – The young musicians of the National Repertory Orchestra have returned home after a season of uplifting sounds, but the classical fervor continues with the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival.

First launched in 1998 by co-Artistic Directors Bil Jackson and Steven Copes, the festival features the works of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Hindemith and Tchaikovsky, as well as contemporary composers.

“I think the interaction of the musicians on stage is often what captivates the audiences at Alpenglow concerts,” Copes said. “In chamber music, having great personal chemistry is no small part of the musical spontaneity and communication that occurs on stage, and that intimacy and fun is why Bil and I started this festival. Being so close to the music, as opposed to a symphony orchestra concert, is surely part of the excitement that goes with being at a good chamber concert. I also think we’ve programmed in a nice variety of music, some which I’m sure many have never heard.”

The first chord

Musicians strike the first chord at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks. Donations collected at the concert benefit a new musical scholarship fund, which may be used by a graduating high school senior from Summit County to major in music at a university or his or her choice. Light hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer donated by Three Peaks will accompany the music. A tax-deductible donation of $15 is requested.

Music freely given: an introduction to the musicians

A grant from The Summit Foundation provides a free evening of family entertainment at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Silverthorne pavilion.

“This concert will be a wonderful opportunity for students, families and the community to hear the Alpenglow Festival musicians in an informal setting,” Copes said. “We talk about the pieces we are performing so the audience can learn a little about the composers and their works.”

The program includes “Concert Piece No. 2,” for clarinet, bassoon and piano, by Mendelssohn; “Four for Tango,” for string quartet, by Piazzolla; “Kegelstadt Trio,” for piano, clarinet and viola, by Mozart; and “Souvenir de Florence,” for string sextet, by Tchaikovsky.

The community concert also will introduce Jackson, principal clarinet with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Copes, concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as new and returning musicians.

Pianist Rieko Aizawa has been with the festival since its inception. Last year, she played a Mozart concerto with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and an all-Beethoven recital in Dresden, Germany. Returning cellist Eddie Arron recently performed in China, South Korea and Spain and just recorded a Persian chamber piece with Yo-Yo Ma for Ma’s project with Sony Classical.

Seven new musicians join the festival this year. Cellist Suren Bagratuni earned a silver medal at the 1985 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Violinist Jonathan Crow is the associate concertmaster and the youngest member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at age 23. Steven Dibner is the associate principal bassoonist with the San Francisco Symphony. Violinist Colin Jacobsen tours worldwide with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project. Max Mandel is the violist of the Flux Quartet, New York’s foremost contemporary music string quartet. Dov Scheindlin is the violist of the Arditti String Quartet, which won the Siemens Musikpreis in Munich and the Royal Philharmonic Award in London in 1999. Dan Coleman is the composer in residence and the winner of the 1999 Aaron Copland Award.

“We’re extremely lucky to have the finest musicians in the country performing here, and this is simply no exaggeration,” Copes said. “These are players who are not only great instrumentalists, but are also creating new paths in today’s music. We have two violists from two of the world’s foremost contemporary music string quartets, as well as some string players who regularly work with Yo-Yo Ma. They’ve all gone to the best schools and conservatories and … all of them are seasoned chamber musicians and communicators with their music. I think it will be obvious to all present at the concerts that they love what they do and love to share that with their audience.”

Formality ushered in

The festival offers three formal concerts, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Silverthorne pavilion.

“Each program, somewhat like a varied menu, has offerings that will appeal to all music lovers,” Copes said. “Generally, (during) the second halves of our concerts, you’ll hear longer, more substantial works, like the Dvorak “Viola Quintet’ or the irrepressibly joyous “Souvenir de Florence’ by Tchaikovsky, but there are short gems by composers like tango master Piazzolla and American composers Rorem, Corigliano (Oscar-winning composer of “The Red Violin’ soundtrack) and Dan Coleman. Hopefully, everyone comes away with something different from each type of music and it stirs up not only discussion but (also) interest in all types of musical expression.”

Wednesday’s performance includes Mendelssohn’s “Concert Piece No. 2,” for clarinet, bassoon and piano; Piazolla’s “Four for Tango,” for String Quartet; Ned Rorem’s “End of Summer,” for clarinet, violin and piano; and Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence,” for string sextet.

“”End of Summer’ is really a wonderful pastoral palette of total colors,” Jackson said. “We chose these pieces carefully for their excellence.”

Friday’s concert features Mozart’s “Sonata,” for bassoon and cello, “Trio” (known as “Kegelstadt”) for piano, clarinet and string quartet, and “Quartet,” for piano and strings in G minor; and John Corigliano’s “Soliloquy” for clarinet and string quartet.

“Kegelstadt” depicts the game of skittles, based on the scene in “Amadeus” where Mozart rolls a ball across what looks like a pool table while writing measures of music.

“Soliloquy,” written by Corigliano, one of the most well-known contemporary composers, is a slow movement paying homage to his father.

Sunday’s performance includes Dvorak’s “Miniatures,” for two violins and viola, and his “Viola Quintet” in E-Flat, Coleman’s “Five Flights Up,” for clarinet and string quartet and Hindemith’s “Quartet,” for piano, clarinet, violin and cello.

“(“Five Flights Up’) is a wonderful frolicking, playful, short piece,” Jackson said. “It’s really kind of syncopated, maybe a little jazzy.”

“People get a little spooked when they see Hindemith’s name, but it’s a really tonal, very accessible piece. The solo passages pass from one instrument to another. It creates a wonderful mood,” he said.

Coleman will lead discussions an hour prior to each formal concert. He will explain how the pieces are constructed and what to listen for, often asking the musicians to play a particular thematic line.

Tickets range from $10 -$35, or $26-$90 for all three concerts, and may be purchased by calling (970) 468-4774. Group discounts are available for Sunday’s performance.

Home sweet home

Two home soirees take place: one on Thursday at a Keystone home and one on Saturday, Aug. 24, at a home in Three Peaks. Though Saturday’s concert is sold out, tickets for Thursday’s concert are $60. To reserve a seat, call (970) 468-4774.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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