High Altitude Society: Opening night thrills Bravo! Vail crowd June 22
High Altitude Society
It’s been 30 years since Bravo! Vail founder John Giovando paired with Ida Kavafian, as artistic director, to collaborate at the classical festival in Angel Fire and brought music to Vail.
For the first three years of the festival, chamber music was the theme. In 1990, that changed with the booking of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra — making it what we now know as one of the most famous summer classical festivals in the United States. Each year, note by note, the festival has grown to now encompass the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and now, in its second year, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
The six-week-long series opened with a first — an orchestral commission created specifically for the Academy of St Martin in the Fields to play at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at the opening night of the season, June 22. The composer, Edgar Meyer, has known Joshua Bell, the artistic director and famed violinist, for about 30 years, so the collaboration was steeped in history and mutual admiration, which brought the audience to its feet at the end of the piece.
“The orchestra played their hearts out and gave so much of themselves,” Bell said at a reception held at the Sonnenalp after the concert.
Reflecting Bravo! Vail’s history, this summer is filled with chamber music, including seven string quartets, such as the famed Emerson String Quartet.
For the musicians of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Vail offers a respite from weeks on the road. The orchestra is known as a traveling and recording group, so the opportunity to perform and relax in the beautiful Vail Valley is looked forward to with great anticipation.
“It’s wonderful to be here for the second year,” Bell said.
The Academy will be back next year for the third year of their contract, but rumors are whirling it may be extended. With the sold-out performances and standing ovations, the patrons and classical music aficionados certainly concur.
Board member Jeremy Krieg summed it up nicely: “I thought 25 was good, but 30 is even better.”