Bravo! Vail’s closing night to be piano extravaganza |

Bravo! Vail’s closing night to be piano extravaganza

Jim Palermo

Most people think Bravo! Vail’s season ends with the last concert of the New York Philharmonic, but actually another week of exciting, intimate music making follows through Aug. 3.

The Silver Oak and Twomey Series returns for its second season at the Donovan Pavilion, juxtaposing a wide variety of repertory. Artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott is keen to share the passion that she and her colleagues have for discovering the resonances and interplay between what is considered “new” in music to that which we now term as “old” — that revered body of work that stretches back at least five centuries. Availability still remains for concerts on Tuesday and Thursday, featuring works by Barber, Kernis, Beethoven, Mozart and Messiaen.

The festival’s closing night on Aug. 3 is a convening of musical friends, a Four Piano Bash. McDermott and director of artistic planning Jacqueline Taylor have assembled a program of well-loved and brand-new piano works waiting to be discovered by local audiences.

Joining McDermott are three of her closest and most cherished musical partners, pianists Pedja Muzijevic, Stephen Prutsman and Joyce Yang. Destined to be one of the most popular and highly anticipated chamber music performances of the season, this finale follows on the heels of similar concerts from the past two years. This time, McDermott has doubled the number of pianos on stage to four — her latest and largest feat yet.

The program begins with an arrangement by the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni of Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute for Two Pianos. Busoni was a child prodigy who spent his youth touring with his musician parents. Many of his works are effective arrangements based on great music of the past — as is the case with the Mozart. His compositions were largely neglected for many years after Busoni’s death, but the 1980s saw a revival of interest in his work. This arrangement of Mozart’s musical rollick is the perfect way to begin a program that celebrates the culmination of Bravo! Vail’s highly successful 2013 season.

Next is American composer Patrick Zimmerli’s Crazy Quilt for Two Pianos. Zimmerli is a New York and Paris based composer-saxophonist whose music fuses a sophisticated yet approachable hybrid of contemporary classical and jazz music. Zimmerli has worked with the greatest classical and jazz musicians on the planet and Crazy Quilt promises new yet familiar sounds for local audiences.

Taking a step backward in history, we next hear a classic by Saint-Saens, his Danse Macabre for Two Pianos. This is vintage Halloween spookiness for adults, all wrapped up in just plain fun.

The meatiest work on the program is Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos, displaying the full array of sounds and colors possible when a quartet of virtuosos come together to perform music considered both heavenly and profound.

And, if you hadn’t yet had your fill from this musical feast, an attractive dose of musical whipped cream concludes the evening with Carl Czerny’s Quatour Concertant, for four pianos. This light hearted and humorous postlude to a colorful program was written to be performed by Czerny with three of his female students.

While in town, Yang and Muzijevic both will perform free concerts at the Vail Interfaith Chapel. Yang tackles Schumann’s Fantasiestücke and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Muzijevic offers Chopin’s romantic Twenty-four Preludes — short, expressive piano pieces, one in each of the 24 keys.

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

Support Local Journalism