Come see chamber musicians play up close at Bravo! Vail this summer |

Come see chamber musicians play up close at Bravo! Vail this summer

Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and the Calder Quartet in the recording studio. Photo by Chris Lee.
Chris Lee |

One of Bravo! Vail’s biggest assets is its chamber music series. The world’s greatest collaborative musicians come to Vail every summer at the invitation of artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott and director of artistic planning Jacqueline Taylor. This summer, this elite roster of hand-picked artists are featured throughout the Vail Valley performing in a variety of colorful and accessible programs.

So, what is chamber music?

This is music written originally to be performed in “chambers” or smaller rooms in palaces or stately homes, and now places like the Vail Mountain School and Donovan Pavilion. Chamber music is composed for smaller groups of instruments and performers, with one musician to a part. The excitement of chamber music comes from being in close proximity to the music and the musicians, and the intimate, direct and personal nature of the music making.

Playing chamber music requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from the skills required for playing solo or symphonic works. A sense of teamwork, compromise and respect for everyone’s input is required to be a successful chamber musician. Witnessing this form of music provides an intimate opportunity to see renowned performers up close and personal in an entirely different way.

This season Anne-Marie McDermott has created an immersion into the world of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, who crafted more than 40 pieces of sublime chamber music. Noted for his natural affinity for melody, characteristic folk rhythms and life-affirming character of his scores, Dvorak occupies an important place in the pantheon of great composers. Many of Dvorák’s most important and melodious chamber music works will be featured this summer at Bravo! Vail.

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On July 15, at 6 p.m. at the Vail Mountain School, the Calder Quartet and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will give the first live performance of a recording project they completed this spring — that of three Mozart Piano Concertos in the composer’s sanctioned renditions for string quartet. All these concertos are from the early 1780s. Mozart was fully in favor of the concertos being played with string quartet because he knew they would receive far more performances that way. Bravo! Vail is happy to announce that the new McDermott/Calder Mozart Concertos recording will be released for the first time to the public the night of the concert. Come experience this concert and purchase your own autographed copy of the recording.

Throughout July, Slavic chamber music delights will fill the schedule at the Vail Mountain School. Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds and the Piano Quintet No. 2 are slated for July 11 with musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, McDermott and the Calder Quartet. The all male choral ensemble Cantus and the Calder Quartet join violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott on July 16 and 17, for two varied programs full of works by Dvorak, Janacek and Bartok.

At the final concert of the Festival, on Aug. 3, also at the Vail Mountain School, McDermott has invited three pianist friends to join her on stage for a Four Piano Bash. Featured is Carl Czerny’s Quatour Concertant, Op. 230 for Four Pianos, a work he wrote for three of his female students. On the same program Joyce Yang, Stephen Prutsman, Pedja Muzijevic and McDermott will also perform Bach’s Concerto for Four Keyboards.

The world’s great chamber musicians converge on Vail this summer. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience these glorious performances with some of the best musicians anywhere in intimate, elegant spaces throughout the Vail Valley.

Jim Palermo is Bravo! Vail’s executive director. For more information, visit or call 970-827-5700.

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