Long summer evenings are about to get even better as
the 17th annual Music in the Mountains series kicks off.
Over the next month, the local community will have the
chance to sample 25 separate performances featuring the
talents of more than 300 musicians.
Music in the Mountains is a nonprofit group that brings
world-renowned soloists, choirs, chamber ensembles and
the Festival Orchestra together to perform classical music,
primarily on the tented slopes of Durango Mountain Resort.
Festival highlights follow.
Festivities kick off Sunday, July 13, with “Brass
and Barbecue,” a combination of a brass quintet
and a county western duo – Narrow Gauge –
playing at the Silver Mountain Guest Ranch. Buses to the
opening event will leave the First National Bank of Durango’s
parking lot at 4 p.m. Susan Lander, general manager of
the festival, said the event will be the first collaboration
of its kind.
“The Brass and Barbecue began when Sterling Procter
(horn player and composer) and Tim Sullivan (of Narrow
Gauge) met, and decided to combine the two,” Lander
said. “Sullivan composed the music himself.”
on the heels of the Brass and Barbecue, renowned violinist
Vadim Gluzman will play at the DMR tent on July 17. Gluzman
will play selections from Mozart, Prokofiev and Bruch
with guests including his wife, Angela Yoffe, on piano.
Gluzman has performed throughout the world and has been
called “capable of both delicate nuances and incendiary
passion” by the Washington Post. Born in the Ukraine,
he began studying violin at age 7. He studied at the Rubin
Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard
School in New York. Yoffe was born in Latvia and began
piano at age four. She has won top prizes in various competitions
and performs as a soloist and chamber musician. This is
the seventh season the couple will return to Music in
the Mountains, and they also will play a special duet
at the BootJack Ranch in Pagosa Springs later in the week.
“Pagosa didn’t used to have much of an opportunity
for classical music,” Lander said. “Having
concerts in Pagosa was the brainchild of David Brown,
a patron from Pagosa, and our president, James Foster.”
Another definite festival highlight is sure to be Pops
Night on July 23, which will feature music from Hollywood
to Broadway. Inside the DMR tent, the festival orchestra
will perform “Hollywood” theme songs from
“Superman,” “E.T.” and “Star
Wars” alongside Broadway pieces like Gershwin’s
“Rhapsody in Blue” and songs from “Oklahoma”
and the “Music Man.” This show also is a benefit
dinner with an auction during the intermission.
“This show is a hit,” Lander said. “It’s
informal and is a fun initiation into the world of classical
Families will want to head to the Durango Arts Center
on Sunday, July 27, when the center will host a free concert
and instrument expo for children. The concert will include
music from Tchaikovsky and selections based on poems by
“The expo is great for kids, because you can’t
get them to participate until they see what they are participating
in,” Lander said.
Family Festivo, a free concert for children and families,
will be held two days later, at Durango’s Rotary
Park. The festival orchestra will play selections from
Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” while
members of the Durango Children’s Theatre enact
it. The event also will feature the Ballet Folklorico
dancers, games and food.
Shortly after Family Festivo, students from the seventh
annual Music in the Mountains Conservatory will have their
premiere performance at Roshong Hall at Fort Lewis College.
The conservatory, a school for pre-college string instrument
or piano players, offers students a chance to fine tune
their musical skills by learning from teachers from all
over the world. This year, more than 100 students are
enrolled and come from as far away as Alaska. Conservancy
students will perform the following night as well.
The festival will come to an end in the DMR tent Aug.
3, when the festival orchestra plays Prokofiev’s
music from “Romeo and Juliet.”
In addition to this brief sampling, there will be diverse
shows nearly every night, and there should be something
for everyone. The festival also is a pleasure for each
of its 300 musicians who come together only in this setting,
said conductor, founding father and festival artistic
director, Maestro Mischa Semanitzky.
“All of the musicians who come to perform together
in the clear air of this spectacular mountain setting
relish the opportunity to enjoy a new level of intimacy
among world-class musicians,” he said.