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Ensembles on the classical brink

Rachel Seiden
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Curtis Johnson
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VAIL, Colorado – The Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival welcomes two musical ensembles to Vail this summer for its Young Professionals-in-Residence program, as part of its Music Matters education program.

The Young Professionals-in-Residence program invites musicians teetering on the brink of major classical careers. As participants in the program, the ensembles immerse themselves in all aspects of the festival, including music-education outreach, professional-level training and concerts. Bravo has been inviting young artists to study in Vail since the beginning of the festival.

This summer, an all-male vocal group, Cantus, and a four-piece string ensemble, The Jasper Quartet, are the Young Professionals-in-Residence.



Cantus has been referred to as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States.” This innovative, all-male group rehearses and performs without a conductor. The group is composed of nine members, and they assign each piece they perform a producer. The producer is responsible for the initial interpretation, leading the allotted rehearsal time and quality control on the fundamentals and facilitates discussion of interpretation and execution from the entire group, according to Cantus.

“We were really looking for a vocal ensemble for Bravo’s 25th season,” said Jacqueline Taylor Bravo’s artistic administrator. “We thought a vocal ensemble could bring a tremendous amount of musical variety to Vail, and it’s a great way to show repertoire we can’t normally do.”

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In years past, the young ensembles would perform at the complimentary Bravo concerts or at the Big Music For Little Bands series. New for 2012, and for the first time in festival history, Cantus will perform with The Philadelphia Orchestra in a special performance of “Luck Be a Lady” on July 11 at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

“We make it very appealing for the young artists to come,” Taylor said. “Surely the opportunity to perform with a top-level orchestra here in Vail is just one of many appealing factors.”

The Jasper Quartet is one of the most promising young chamber groups of the present day and recently won the prestigious 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award.



Taylor said the festival chose Jasper because it is extremely committed to education.

“They are fantastic,” Taylor said. “Of all the young string quartets, they play at an extremely high level and have a commitment to a wide repertoire.”

As a participant in Bravo’s program, the Jasper Quartet will receive exposure to not only the Vail community but some of the greats of the classical-music world, including a special master class with renowned violinist and former Festival Artistic Director Ida Kavafian. In the master class, the Jasper quartet will present a piece of music and will receive feedback and coaching. Master classes are free public events and allow the audience to experience the inner workings of the rehearsal process. Additionally, listeners will be afforded the opportunity to understand musical pacing and lyrical ideas, from conception to realization.

For more information, visit http://www.vailmusic.org or call 877-812-5700.

Rachel Seiden is Bravo’s public relations intern. Email comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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