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Fast and furious: A battle of violin virtuosos

Music in the Mountain Concert brings two great talents to the stage

In one corner is seasoned veteran Vadim Gluzman, a long-time Music in the Mountains violin performer and Juilliard graduate whose music has been heard around the world.

In the other is challenger Phillipe Quint, a multifaceted and Grammy-nominated American violinist who is known for mastering everything from operas to tango.

On Thursday, the two heavyweights will meet under one tent for an epic battle of strings, sonatas and suites.

Or something like that.

In truth – and rhetoric aside – Music in the Mountains’ “Dueling Violins” will be a good-spirited showcase of the prodigious talent and stunning versatility of two world-class musicians.

And if the past is any indication, the event will be a festival favorite for many classical music fans. Music in the Mountains staged a “Dueling Violins” in 2006 with Gluzman and Quint, and the audience was delighted, said Greg Hustis, the festival’s artistic director. It’s back by popular demand.

“It was an incredible success,” Hustis said. “It’s a success musically, and it’s a success in terms of entertainment.”

“The Fast & The Furious, Dueling Violins,” will feature a full evening of violin, with Gluzman and Quint performing solos as well as joining together for duos and ending the night with a “shoot-out a la carte.” Gabriel Sanchez will accompany the men on piano.

The musicians have a long history together. They first met while they were studying at Juilliard almost 20 years ago, Gluzman said, and have remained friends and colleagues.

Gluzman said that from the beginning of their relationship, they have individual approaches to music. And that hasn’t changed.

“In every possible way you can imagine styles could be different, they are,” Gluzman said. “Nothing that he likes I like, nothing I like he likes.”

Despite that, Gluzman said, they admire one another. And when they did join together on stage in 2006, the effect was fantastic – they pushed one another’s limits and played off of the energy of the duel.

“It worked marvelously, and it was so much fun,” Gluzman said.

“Vadim and I had a blast,” Quint wrote in an email. “That is, as in ‘fun blast’ – not blasting our violins against each other ... Having a friend and colleague on stage is an absolute pleasure.”

It was such a success, in fact, that the pair have repeated the performance several times in other venues and festivals.

“We loved it so much we pushed it on our friends all over,” Gluzman said.

According to the schedule, the men will open the night with Louis Spohr’s “Duo Concerto for two violins No. 2 in D major, Op. 67.” Gluzman will then perform Mozart’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major” and Quint will answer with Jean-Marie LecLair’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Major.”

And that’s just round one. Round two promises Moszkowski, Corigliano and de Sarasate, plus the finale.

Quint said the pair chooses a new program each time they “duel.”

“Selecting a program is a bit like being a chef at a restaurant,” he wrote. “We try to select the perfect menu that has some favorite and some very authentic special trademark courses ... It will be a mix of serious and fun repertoire.”

Quint added it’s a delight to perform in a show that puts the spotlight on the violin.

“Having a program that is focused around the violin always gives us a great opportunity to talk about the subject we love – our craft – and of course performing on these special instruments that we have from Stradivari Society is always an honor and it is a magical experience,” he wrote.

Hustis said both performers really get into the spirit of the duel, making for a great night of entertainment. Being able to feature one of these performers would be a feat, he said; having both together on the Music in the Mountains stage is remarkable.

“They are both world-class, A-level soloists,” he said.


If you go

“The Fast and the Furious: Dueling Violins,” featuring Vadim Gluzman and Phillipe Quint, will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Music in the Mountains Festival Tent, Durango Mountain Resort, 1 Skier Place. Tickets are $49/$39/$15 and are available at www.musicinthemountains.com.

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