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Santa Fe comes to Durango

Montage Trio performs “Art Songs,” by Stephen Paulus, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., with Breughel’s “The Peasant Dance” projected above. (Courtesy of Montage)
Recital series opens with chamber trio celebrating the visual arts

With a generous burst of imagination, Marilyn Garst has reinvigorated her chamber music series by inviting Santa Fe musicians to Durango.

The first of four programs in the Unitarian Universalist Recital Series features The Montage Music Society of Santa Fe. It is a conglomerate of Southwest musicians assembled by pianist Debra Ayers.

“I draw from the best of my players in the vicinity of where we are performing,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to previously perform in Marilyn’s wonderful series, and I am happy to return.”

For the opening program in the 2021-22 season, Ayers, founder and director of Montage, will be joined by violinist Carla Kountoupes and cellist Sally Guenther. The trio will perform works inspired by visual art.

“We project images of the artwork during the performance in order to encourage dialogue about how each composer connects to the music – literally, figuratively or in a purely abstract manner,” Ayers said.

If you go

WHAT: Santa Fe Montage Music Society Recital, works by Still, Cohen, Paulus and Wolosoff.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 419 San Juan Drive.

Tickets: $20 adults, $8 students with ID and children; four-recital subscription $70 adults, $30 students with ID and children, at the door.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit durangouu.org/events/recital-series; Marilyn Garst: 385-8668; mmgarst1940@gmail.com.

Note: Because of the pandemic, masks will be required inside the sanctuary. Hand sanitizer will be provided, and social distancing encouraged.

Montage will perform four works and open with William Grant Still’s “Suite for Violin and Piano” with projections of works by artists of the Harlem Renaissance. San Juan Symphony goers may remember Still’s orchestral arrangement of the lullaby movement performed last May. Now, you’ll have the opportunity to hear the complete violin and piano composition and see all of the artworks that inspired the composer.

Nell Shaw Cohen’s “Transforming Forest” was inspired by four earthwork installations by British artist Andy Goldsworthy in San Francisco. They include “Wood Line,” “Tree Fall,” “Earth Wall” and a 100-foot natural spire titled “Observing.”

“Art Songs,” the third work on the program, was originally composed by Stephen Paulus as a song cycle for tenor and piano. It’s been adapted for cello and piano. The movements were inspired by four paintings by Breughel, Degas, Seurat and Larry Rivers.

Montage will conclude the recital with a work for violin, cello and piano by Bruce Wolosoff titled “The Loom.” Watercolors of dancers by Eric Fischl inspired the composition.

“Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” by Seurat, 1884, is a work that inspired composer Stephen Paulus for “Art Songs.” (Courtesy)

Maybe Montage can be enticed to return with their “Starry Night Project,” dedicated to the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh. The CD is available on the MSR label.

Series tickets for the season include: the Southwest Piano Trio on Dec. 3 featuring violinist Lauren Avery, cellist Anastasia Nellos and pianist Garst; John O’Neal, marimba, vibraphone and drums, with trumpet player Joe Nibley on Feb. 11, 2022; and flutist Andreas Tischhauser and Garst, who will conclude the season on April 22.

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