Backstage Access: 4 highlights from 30th Bravo! Vail season |

Backstage Access: 4 highlights from 30th Bravo! Vail season

Bravo! Vail filled Vail with classical music June 22 through Aug. 4, celebrating the festival's 30th season. The planning for 2018 is underway.
Chris Dillmann | |

The Bravo! Vail Music Festival ended Friday night, with the final Bravo! Vail After Dark performance. It’s a fitting way to end six weeks of classical music — a free performance in a casual location, Vail Brewing Co. in Eagle-Vail.

The Calder String Quartet closed out the music festival. They are the seventh string quartet to perform in Vail this summer, ending the 30th season of Bravo! Vail. About 250 years ago, string quartets played in “chambers” at a palace or in grand living rooms. Today, chamber music can be played in almost any setting — a library, a restaurant, an intimate pavilion or a bar (Bravo! Vail presents music in all these locations).

I adore the big orchestral performances, of course, but the free concerts in unusual settings are among my favorite offerings in the Bravo! Vail lineup.

As the festival closed and I take a look back on the past six weeks of music, I am flooded with wonderful moments. Here are my top memories from the 30th season:

No. 1: Danish String Quartet at Crazy Mountain Brewery Co. — The place was packed with people spilling out to the parking lot. We listened to quartet arrangements of Scandinavian folk songs on a warm night with a beautiful sunset.

No. 2: Maestro Alan Gilbert’s Mahler Symphony No. 7 with the New York Philharmonic — For me, it was spellbinding. Even though the final movement was difficult to follow, I let the music just wash over me and when the symphony ended (after 77 minutes), I felt a sense of calm and serenity. I was transported to a place of contemplation and felt thankful for the 30-minute drive home to Eagle during which I could just “be” with the experience.

No. 3: The Emerson String Quartet’s performance of Shostakovich’s Opus 110 string quartet in C minor — The first movement had me in tears, and I was grateful to have the rest of the piece to recover!

No. 4: “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” — That’s right, this classical music geek loved watching the movie while hearing The Philadelphia Orchestra perform this epic John Williams score. I also loved the lawn that night. I learned from other experienced movie-going lawn audience members to bring blankets and a pillow for movie night. So, my third-grade daughter and I arrived prepared with her purple down sleeping bag, pillow and snacks which made for a snuggly and satisfying concert experience as the full moon rose at the end of the film.

While I have many more memories from the 30th festival season, I always love hearing from our amazing audiences. What were your memorable moments? Send them to me at

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 30th season celebration — the planning for the 2018 season is underway, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Jennifer Teisinger is the executive director of the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

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