Bravo! soars to new heights
Sixteen years ago, the musicians outnumbered theaudience members at the Bravo! Vail Valley MusicFestival’s debut. Today, this celebrated event drawsclose to 50,000 people to spend blissful eveningssurrounded by sublime mountain scenery, listening to the heavenly music of some of America’s vaunted orchestras.This summer’s Bravo! lineup promises to be no lessdivine. In fact, the 16th annual Bravo! Vail ValleyMusic Festival begins this season with a musicalcoupe, with the New York Philharmonic, America’sflagship orchestra, joining the series for a three-year residency."This is the first time the New York Philharmonic has ever been in residence outside Manhattan," says Liana Carlson, director of marketing and public relations for Bravo! "We’re extremely pleased to have them join us. It brings not only to our festival, but the cultural arts in the Vail Valley to a whole new level.”This musical feat would not have been possible if the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival had not risen to such anticipated heights during the past decade. This past summer alone the festival drew around 48,000 people, breaking festival records."It’s been amazing to see the growth," Carlson says. "When we first started, musicians were playing out in a field in Beaver Creek. We have slowly grown to three orchestras. To have the New York Philharmonic here is a great honor."Yet, as exciting as bringing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to Vail is, it is only one piece of a thrilling new musical season for Bravo! From June 27 through Aug. 4, more than 40 acclaimed soloists, ensembles and world-class orchestras will take to the stages of Vail and Beaver Creek.Kicking the season into high gear is a Bravo! favorite, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The Rochester Philharmonic was the first orchestra to join the festival many years ago."We are very pleased to have the Rochester Philharmonic back," Carlson says.Now, in its 12th year with the music festival, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra begins its residency on June 27 at the Gerald R. Amphitheater Vilar Pavilion as music director Christopher Seaman leads an overture by Wagner, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and the Sibelius Violin Concerto, played by the brilliant Chee-Yun. On June 28, extraordinary pianist Jon Nakamatsu will perform Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Rochester, as well as Corigliano’s To Music and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. On June 29, a lively Pops concert, entitled Romancing the West, will be performed, and on July 2, the gifted young bassoonist, Peter Kolkay, will be the soloist.The residency ends with a flourish as the orchestraperforms two free Patriotic Concerts on July 3 inBeaver Creek and on July 4 in Vail. These stirring concerts are sponsored by the Vail Valley Foundation and are always well attended."It’s by far our biggest concert," assures Carlson.On July 6, another perennial favorite takes center stage at the Amphitheater in Vail. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is celebrating an anniversary of its own, with its fifth residency at Bravo! Music director Andrew Litton begins the Symphony’s residency with Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and the renowned contemporary composer John Adams’ Violin Concerto, played by Leila Josefowicz. Festival favorite Anne-Marie McDermott joins the Dallas Symphony on July 9 for a performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto, and superb pianist Adam Neiman will be the soloist on July 11.Be sure not to miss the ever-popular Broadway Pops concert on July 12, followed by the final performance on July 13, featuring Mozart’s Haffner Symphony and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who will perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto."With the new direct flights from Dallas to Vail weare hoping that this year’s Dallas season will be more popular than ever," Carlson says. Carlson is talking about the new, direct American Airline flights this summer between Dallas and the Eagle County Regional Airport. "It’s great to see how much excitement people from Texas, and even Florida, and all the hot, humid areas have to get away for the summer and hear some great music while they are here."The New York Philharmonic will close out the Bravo! orchestra season in style at the Amphitheater. Since its founding in 1842, the New York Philharmonic has been considered America’s premier musical institution, with almost every great musician of the last two centuries appearing with it at one time or another.Beginning July 18, the orchestra will offer six performances under the direction of the legendaryLorin Maazel. Performances will include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.3 and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, played by the 17-year-old prodigy, Yura Lee.On July 19 and 23, the Philharmonic’s newly appointed associate conductor, Roberto Minczuk, will offer works by Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland and others. The New York Philharmonic will end its six-concert series on July 26, with opera arias by Verdi and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.Although the orchestra music is the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s biggest concert series, it is far from its only series. This summer hills will be filled with the sound of music on a variety of levels.When classical music enthusiast John Giovando and acclaimed flutist Ida Kazasian began the musicfestival 16 years ago, it started with small, sparselyattended chamber music concerts. But those selectchamber music venues have remained at the center of the Bravo! music festival and will be held throughout the 2003 season at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek on Tuesdays, from July 8 through July 29, with a grand finale on Sunday, Aug. 3. Musical highlights will include the exciting Tchaikovsky Piano Trio, a Brahms String Sextet, the powerful Dvorak Piano Quintet and the romantic Franck Piano Quintet.Also featured will be classics by Schubert, Haydn,Smetana, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Beethoven, Schumann, Prokofiev and Mozart.The series will also include two Baroque programs at the Vail Chapel and at the Vilar Center, with works by Bach, Handel, Corelli, Marcello and Telemann. The Festival’s 2003 Commission, a Piano Trio by American composer-in-residence Jennifer Higdon, will enjoy its world premiere on Tuesday, July 15. On July 14 and 28, two noontime chamber concerts will return to the Vail Chapel.Back by popular demand, too, is the Introduction to Chamber Music series. Whether you are a novice when it comes to chamber music, or an aficionado, these are fun, informal venues to hear some beautiful music in diverse settings. This summer there are three introduction evenings on Mondays at Eagle Ranch and at Cordillera, featuring world-class musicians, topped off by wine and cheese."It’s a great way to learn about classical music. Ittakes away the barriers between the audiences and the world class musicians," explains Carlson. And, it offers an opportunity to ask questions about themusic, the instruments some of which are 500 years old or about the musicians themselves.Finally, there is the Soiree Series, a truly intimatemusical experience, with chamber music offered in a rotating backdrop of private homes throughout the Vail Valley. The Soire Series also rotates days, so it gives every music lover the opportunity to attend these elegant evenings, preceded by a cocktail hour and followed by a sumptuous dinner, catered by some of the valley’s world-class restaurants."Every year we take a look at how the past year hasgone and make improvements," says Carlson. Carlson credits the vision of Ida Kazasian, who has served as the festival’s artistic director since 1998, with the festival’s ability to draw world-class orchestras, ensembles and soloists from around the country. "I don’t think there are many other places in the world that you could hear this quality of music in this beautiful and natural atmosphere."For a complete list of events and times, or to purchase tickets for the Bravo! Vail Valley MusicFestival, call (877) 812-5700, or visit http://www.vailmusicfestival.org.