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A burst of chamber music

Works for piano six-hands will be performed Wednesday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in the 16th annual Durango Chamber Music Festival. (Courtesy of San Juan Symphony)
16th annual festival continues with a fresh makeover

“I am incredibly grateful that the Durango Chamber Music Festival can continue under the San Juan Symphony banner.”

Thomas Heuser, artistic director and conductor of the Symphony, said he stands solidly behind the programs the organization absorbed from Third Avenue Arts last year at this time.

If you go

WHAT: 16th Annual Durango Chamber Music Festival, five concerts, five days.

WHEN: 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WHERE: Monday through Thursday, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 910 East Third Avenue. Friday, Roshong Recital Hall, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: Tickets: $55 adult festival pass, single concert: adults $15, students $5. At the door or online: www.durangoconcerts.com. Friday Student Recital free.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.sanjuansymphony.org or call 382-9753.

“I promised to keep all the programs of 3AA running in this first year of our merged operations,” he said. “We inherited three thriving summer camps and the 12:15 concerts. The short noon programs are designed so that folks can get on with their busy lives. And, our Academy students can get back to class.”

The 16th annual Durango Chamber Music Festival launches at 12:15 p.m. Monday at St Mark’s Episcopal Church on Third Avenue.

“We start with an iconic Mozart string quartet, ‘The Hunt,’ which for me is the best and most timeless example of chamber music,” Heuser said. “Then we have a variety of duos and trios mixed throughout the week, plus music for 4-hand and even 6-hand piano, and an especially unique percussion ensemble that highlights our faculty from the Four Corners Orff Chapter.”

Mozart’s rollicking quartet will be performed Monday by violinists Richard Silvers and Tennille Taylor, violist Lauren Avery, and cellist Katherine Jetter. On Tuesday, Silvers and Jetter return with colleagues including pianist Lisa Campi Walters, former professor of music at Fort Lewis College.

Wednesday is all about percussion and keyboard music. Sibling pianists Mika Inouye and Sarah Inouye Mano will set the place on fire by performing none other than Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance” followed by Piazzola’s “Libertango.” Campi Walters joins the festivities along with pianists Holly Quist and Kristen Chen for more pianistic hi jinks. Expect to learn more about the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and its unique approach to music education.

Thomas Heuser, artistic director and conductor of the San Juan Symphony Orchestra, announces the continuation of chamber music in the 16th annual event at St. Mark’s and also Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College. (Judith Reynolds)

The week’s celebratory mood will continue on Thursday, with a program by Friends of the Festival Trio, meaning flutist Rochelle Mann and former FLC music faculty members Susan Doering and Dieter Wulfhorst. The trio will perform works by Gallo, NiLau, Uccellini and the late, great Peter Schickele.

Friday’s free recital signals the biggest change in festival programming. The student recitals are the culmination of the summer camp, and the time has been moved to noon June 14. The location has also changed to Roshong Recital Hall on the FLC campus. It’s free, and there’s plenty of free parking.

“The recital allows the students at the Summer Camp and Academy to perform in front of a live audience while showing the broader community all the hard work that has been happening throughout the week,” Heuser said. “At 12:15 Friday, the Chamber Academy and Young Musicians will perform followed at 2:30 p.m. by students in the Piano Academy.

“Last year, I was probably the only member of the community who attended the final recitals, and I was blown away by the variety of the music performed and the commitment of the young performers,” he said.

These performances will be free for the public with a suggested donation of $20 to help support our music education efforts.

“Chamber music is now an integral part of the Symphony’s programming, and this Festival presents a great opportunity to showcase a combination of local musicians and members of our extended musical community,” Heuser said.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.