Summit Right Brain: Violinist performs contemporary, classical music in Dillon |

Summit Right Brain: Violinist performs contemporary, classical music in Dillon

Summit Music and Arts presents a concert with violist Basil Vendryes (pictured) and pianist James Howsmon on Sunday, March 6.
Jim Mimna / Special to the Daily |


What: Summit Music and Arts presents violist Basil Vendryes with pianist James Howsmon

When: Sunday, March 6; 3 p.m., local visual artist exhibit, 4 p.m. concert

Where: Dillon Community Church, 371 La Bonte St., Dillon

Cost: Tickets in advance are $20; $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, go to or call (970) 389-5788. Students 18 and under are free. Students to age 18 are free.

On Sunday, March 6, Summit Music and Arts presents a concert with violist Basil Vendryes with pianist James Howsmon. The pair will be performing contemporary and classical music, including Sonata No. 2 for Viola da Gamba and piano, BWV 1028 by Bach; Sonata No. 1 in C minor (1924) by Röntgen; Phantasiestücke, Opus 117 by Fuchs; Magnificat (2012) by Pigovat; Elegie by Vieuxtemps; Liebestraume #3 (arranged by Lionel Tertis) by Liszt; Arlechino’s Waltz by Mullikin.

Vendryes — former member of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Rochester Philharmonic orchestras — has been principal violist of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 1993. He performed extensively with the Aurora String Quartet from 1986 to 1995. He is the founder and director of the Colorado Young Sinfonia, now in its 15th year.

He serves on the faculties of the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver, the Quartet Program at SUNY Fredonia, New York and the Green Mountain Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont.

Summit Daily News: Where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to your music?

Basil Vendryes: Primarily from the music itself — the period, the composer, his or her stresses, triumphs or failures as they are reported through the music they have written. Certainly there are non-composer related factors, like who I am playing with — and in this case it is particularly special, as Jim and I have been dear friends for many years — how I’m feeling, the weather, the venue. But the bottom line is trying to find a parallel between the composer’s inspiration to write the work — what is in the work — and how I see and feel it. Hopefully, those paths run somewhat parallel.

SDN: What is your first strong memory of knowing you wanted to be a performer?

BV: I can’t really say when I decided I wanted to be a performer, but the moment I first heard my father put on the Mozart Clarinet Quintet — shortly after I started learning about string instruments in middle school — I knew that I wanted music to be a large part of my life. I could hear special things in the music that went beyond great melodies. My dad was a tremendous lover of chamber and symphonic music, and I think he gave me that gift of how to feel it. Being a performer is a stroke of luck, but being a musician and an artist, that came from my dad.

SDN: Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

BV: As I grow older, I only hope that I’ll be in a place where I can continue to make music at a high level and continue to inspire people, whether audiences or students or colleagues with what I do. It’s a privilege to be able to share the art form with people, so it would make me happy to still be able to do that for years to come.

SDN: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

BV: Practice. Work hard. Have high standards for yourself. Above all, listen between the notes — that’s where all the good stuff is.

SDN: What can people expect from the concert next week?

BV: A variety of music — some familiar and others a new presentation of great viola music. It’s a pretty standard program with absolutely nothing to “fear” in it. Julius Rontgen was a composer who wrote in the late romantic tradition of Brahms. Boris Pigovat, a living composer, writes music that clearly feeds the soul, and David Mullikin’s music is a charming waltz. It should be a fun program.

SDN: What are you most looking forward to with the concert?

BV: I’m excited to play again for the audiences in Summit County, after a few years absence. I’m grateful to Len Rhodes and Summit Music and Arts for allowing me to re-schedule this program after having to cancel last year with an injury. And I am thrilled to present this program with Jim Howsmon, a great pianist, collaborator and friend.

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