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Music lovers unite!

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald file photo

Maestro Guillermo Figueroa, center, and the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra perform with Tom Demer, left, during Pops Night in 2013 at Durango Mountain Resort. Pops Night this year will be July 23 and will feature conductor Carl Topilow and Broadway favorites.

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

Music in the Mountains, one of the biggest arts events in the Four Corners, will kick off Monday for three weeks of classical, Broadway, Hollywood and world music performed all over the area.

It would be easy to call any kind of festival that’s finishing its third decade “venerable,” but as much as Music in the Mountains likes its traditions, organizers aren’t afraid to shake things up, either.

Here’s what to watch, what’s new and the deals and steals of the festival:

What to watch

“It’s hard to pick,” said Angie Beach, executive director of Music in the Mountains, “but if I had to choose just two, it would be the duel between violinists Philippe Quint and Vadim Gluzman (‘The Fast & the Furious,’ July 31) and ‘Carmina Burana’ with the Durango Choral Society (‘A Fortunate Affair,’ July 27).”

Several board members have said for the last few years that Music in the Mountains is fortunate that Gluzman and Quint, who both began performing at the festival as they were beginning their careers, enjoy Durango. Now stars in the classical musical firmament, their regular fees are far beyond what the festival can afford.

Other highlights

Todo Mundo, featuring the rhythms of the Caribbean and Latin America, Friday.

The one-two punch of Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, winners of the 2014 Austin (Texas) Music Award for Best Country Act on July 25 and sensational Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul on July 26 round out the world concert portion of the festival.

“All-Time Greatest Hits,” presenting festival favorite Aviram Reichert playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in E-flat “Emperor,” July 19.

“Baroque My Heart,” featuring Bach, Scarlatti and Vivaldi at St. Columba Catholic Church, July 29.

“Hooray for Hollywood,” a musical salute to Henry Mancini, Walt Disney and John Williams, conducted by Richard Kaufman, Aug. 1.

“The Finest,” featuring Gluzman in a tribute to Arkady Fomin, the founder of Conservatory Music in the Mountains, Aug. 2.

“Red Hot Violin,” with Quint performing both Corigliano’s “The Red Violin” and Ravel’s “Tzigane, Rapsodie de Concert for Violin and Orchestra,” Aug. 3.

What’s new?

New venues: A chamber concert at the River Church and two Conservatory concerts will be held at the First United Methodist Church, both off Florida Road.

New stars: Flutist Carol Wincenc; Richard Kaufman and his daughter, Whitney Kaufman; the Mana Quartet; and a number of vocalists between Pops Night and the “Carmina Burana” performance with the Durango Choral Society.

New partnership: With public radio station KSUT-FM, bringing Todo Mundo to Buckley Park. The group blends rumba, reggae, samba, gypsy and all kinds of Caribbean and South American rhythms.

New events: Enhancing the ever-popular chamber concert at St. Columba Catholic Church is a “tailgate” picnic in Viles Park in front of the church. Pop-up concerts will be held around town, where locals can get a taste of music courtesy of Conservatory Music in the Mountains faculty and students. (Hint: The Durango Farmers Market at 10:15 a.m. July 19 will be a good place to catch a pop-up.)

New shopping opportunity: Local artists will take turns selling their creations at all festival tent concerts, but they’ll all be available at the Rainbow Run Chamber Concert at the River Church on July 16.

The deals and steals

Several events are either free or a real deal at the festival:

Family Festivo, moving back to Rotary Park this year, offers a free concert perfect for children and families – and throws in a free lunch to boot.

Mana Quartet, which features four saxophonists, is performing at a $150-ticket fundraiser while in town, but you can catch them free at noon Monday in the lobby of First National Bank of Durango.

Go early to the First National Bank concert. The High Notes, the Music in the Mountains “auxiliary,” will be handing out free homemade baked goods, and the bank will be giving out a number of vouchers good for two free tickets to any chamber concert.

The festival orchestra rehearsals at the festival tent at Durango Mountain Resort are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 19, July 20 and Aug. 3. If you’ve ever wanted to see how this diverse group of professionals prepare for the big show, this is your chance.

Whether you’re a classical music aficionado or a complete newbie, Linda Mack Berven’s free pre-concert lectures will add to your appreciation of the music. They start at 4:30 p.m. before the 5:30 p.m. concerts July 19, 20, 27 and Aug. 1 and 2. At DMR, they are in the Durango Mountain Club. For the concerts at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, they’re in the Lyceum at Center of Southwest Studies.

Grass passes at DMR cost $5 per person and allow music lovers to enjoy the concert taking place in the tent while taking in the mountain vistas. Bring a picnic and an umbrella – the Music in the Mountains schedule coincides with our monsoon season.

Want to hear the future of classical music? There will be two free master classes, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday with new Conservatory Artistic Director Matt Albert, the second with the entire Conservatory faculty July 23. Or watch the rehearsals for the finale Side By Side from 10 a.m. to noon July 21 through 25 in Room 209 in Jones Hall at FLC.

All Conservatory concerts qualify as a steal, with tickets going for $20 for adults and $10 for students. Music is one discipline where the canard “those who can’t, teach,” definitely does not apply, so expect both faculty and their talented students to put on a great performance.

Whatever kind of music you like – classical, show tunes, Latin, country – Music in the Mountains promises performances that are much more than anyone would expect in a town this size.


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