Music in the Mountains celebrates the future

Yeon Min Park Enlarge photo

Yeon Min Park

Music in the Mountains’ newest star is pianist Yeon Min Park, who was named the Grand Prize winner of the Next Generation Conservatory Competition on Monday. She will join the Festival Orchestra to perform a piano concerto for the July 28 performance of the “Classical Brilliance” program at Durango Mountain Resort.

The honor also includes a $750 cash prize.

The 21-year-old from Seoul, Republic of Korea, studies at the Seoul National University with longtime Music in the Mountains pianist Aviram Reichert, who will himself star in Saturday night’s “Russian Rhapsody” concert.

There were plenty of other accolades to be shared during the competition. First Prize ($500) went to 16-year-old cellist Katherine Audas, who will play tonight at the Conservatory Gala at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. The Boise, Idaho, native also has local ties, having performed previously with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra as well as a February concert with the San Juan Symphony. She studies with Clavier Trio member Jesus Castro-Balbi.

Also appearing tonight will be 18-year-old pianist Hong Yu Jin, the Second Prize ($250) winner in the Conservatory Competition. Like Yeon Min Park, she also is a student of Reichert’s and attends Seoul National University. The Director’s Award ($150) was given to cellist Le Gao, a 26-year-old from China who is also a student of Castro-Balbi at Texas Christian University. Also receiving $150 was Audience Favorite winner Mimi Jung, an 18-year-old violinist from Palos Verde Peninsula High School in California. She’s well-traveled for her years, counting performances at Carnegie Hall and Bucharest, Romania, among her impressive portfolio.

After the youngsters’ concert tonight, Music in the Mountains has another promising lineup for the weekend. On Saturday, the aforementioned “Russian Rhapsody” program at Durango Mountain Resort will include Reichert taking center stage for Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The second half will be Tchaikovsky’s full Symphony No. 4, which epitomizes the power of fury of the Russian composers.

On Sunday, the orchestra will head down the hill to the Community Concert Hall for “Symphonic Sights & Sounds.” The afternoon concert will be a multimedia event with images projected on the big screen to accompany the music. The show will kick off with Carl Nielsen’s “Helios” overture followed by Michael Daugherty’s “Fire and Blood” for Violin and Orchestra featuring soloist Ida Kavafian. The photos that are used for “Fire and Blood” were taken by the Detroit Museum of Modern art of the four walls painted by Diego Rivera, depicting the Ford assembly factory.

Modest Mussorgsky’s famous piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition” should send concertgoers home with the unforgettable melody trapped in their heads and smiles all around. The Russian based the 1874 piece on 10 drawings and watercolors by his artist friend Victor Hartmann and the audience will see firsthand what inspired the music as the orchestra plays along.

ted@durangoherald.com