Music in the Mountains ready for season 26

Four Corners Broadcasting Business Manager Kristin Dills looks on as Maestro Guillermo Figueroa records a radio spot on June 15 for the 26th annual Music in the Mountains festival. The festival will begin Monday with performances at the Glacier Club and Fort Lewis College. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Four Corners Broadcasting Business Manager Kristin Dills looks on as Maestro Guillermo Figueroa records a radio spot on June 15 for the 26th annual Music in the Mountains festival. The festival will begin Monday with performances at the Glacier Club and Fort Lewis College.

There will be new faces and familiar ones as Music in the Mountains enters its 26th season Sunday.

It will be the fist time in 10 years that the festival will begin without Susan Lander at the helm. Lander stepped down as executive director earlier this year, and 2012 will be the first under the leadership of former board member Annie Simonson.

But thanks to the work of festival veterans Gregory Hustis (artistic director), Arkady Fomin (conservatory artistic director) and Maestro Guillermo Figueroa, along with 87 world-class musicians, expect another diverse program of 23 concerts and special events featuring orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music during the next three weeks.

Some of this year’s guest artists (an incomplete listing) include: violinists Ida Kavafian and Dmitri Berlinsky; German violist Barbara Westphal; pianists Aviram Reichert, Andrey Ponochevny and David Korevaar; Sinatra-esque crooner Steve Lippia; and Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul will fill the world music slot. Lippia will be the featured performer July 18 at the popular Pops Night benefit dinner.

Additionally, more than 150 students and faculty members will participate in Conservatory Music in the Mountains, with the top young musician earning the right to perform with the Festival Orchestra at the penultimate “Classical Brilliance” concert July 28 under the festival tent at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort.

The music will get under way Monday with two events, priced for audiences of all tax brackets. “Alpenglow” will be an intimate piano concert by Music in the Mountains favorite Aviram Reichert. He’ll play the well-known sonatas “Moonlight” by Beethoven and Chopin’s “Marche Funebre Sonata No. 2” (the Funeral March). That one’s a “Special Event,” which is a euphemism for fundraising concert – such events are indispensable entries on the lineup each year to ensure that there’s a next year.

A more accessible but no less enjoyable alternative the same night is “String Power,” a Conservatory concert on campus at Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College. The evening stars the visiting Amernet String Quartet, a group of former Julliard students who now perform as the ensemble-in-residence at Florida International University. The quartet will play a trio of string quartets by Mendelssohn (No. 2), Mozart (No. 2) and Tchaikovsky (No. 3).

This year’s featured artist will be Colorado native Albert Dreher, whose art reflects the beauty of the Southwest’s indigenous landscapes and ancient cultures. The circular sun/moon symbol seen in all of Dreher’s pieces is a constant symbol of new beginnings versus passing time.

His artwork, “Music Majesty” is featured in the festival’s 2012 promotional materials. The work has been donated by Toh-Atin Gallery in Durango, and it will be auctioned at the Pops Night Benefit Dinner and Concert at Durango Mountain Resort.

ted@durangoherald.com