Musically Speaking column: Top 10 favorite moments of the 2013 Bravo! Vail season |

Musically Speaking column: Top 10 favorite moments of the 2013 Bravo! Vail season

Jim Palermo
Musically Speaking
The Cirque de la Symphonie with the Philadelphia Orchestra was one of hte highlights of the Bravo! Vail's 2013 season.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily |

Here is my top 10 list of favorite moments from Bravo! Vail’s 2013 season.

1. While it’s yet to happen, tonight at the Vail Mountain School we close in “grand piano” style with a Four Piano Bash featuring Anne-Marie McDermott, Pedja Muzijevic, Stephen Prutsman and Joyce Yang in a wide variety of works from different eras. Don’t miss this closing night piano extravaganza.

2. July 30: Music of Barber, Kernis and Beethoven at the Donovan Pavilion. The Silver Oak and Twomey series returned this summer with a slightly new format. The music was as good as ever, but audience members enjoyed the concert while seated at small tables of four, with hors d’oeuvres and fine wines, all set to candlelight. It was the perfect date night for couples of all ages.

3. July 24: Broadway Night with the Philharmonic. The New York Philharmonic’s first ever Broadway presentation at Bravo! Vail became the most attended concert in the festival’s history. A capacity pavilion and lawn audience enthusiastically welcomed a mix of old Broadway favorites and newer selections. It was a dream come true to hear the Philharmonic perform music made famous in its own hometown.

4. July 19: Opening night of the New York Philharmonic. Tchaikovsky’s melodramatic score found the perfect interpreters in music director Alan Gilbert and his band. The power, the majesty and the precision of their playing left those of us in attendance breathless. This kind of orchestral virtuosity is jaw dropping.

5. July 18: Cantus at the Vail Interfaith Chapel. Hearing the all-male vocal ensemble Cantus perform rarely heard Slavic gems before a capacity audience in this sacred space was electrifying. The Festival offered a new series of free concerts at the chapel and other locations throughout the Valley and many, many of you responded enthusiastically by attending, and attending, and attending.

6. July 15: Mozart’s Piano Concertos with string quartet. Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and the Calder Quartet unveiled a new CD of Mozart Concertos for piano with string quartet, which coincided with a spectacular performance at the Vail Mountain School. The audience loved the performances so much that every single CD was sold and autographed before the night was over.

7. July 13: Verdi’s Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra, four vocal soloists and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Think of Italian grand opera all wrapped up in church vestments. When the “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath) began, the skies opened up as if on cue and nature’s fury unfolded along with the musical drama on stage. Somehow, it seemed just perfect ­— thunder and lightning choreographed especially for the occasion.

8. July 9: In Beaver Creek, Anne-Marie McDermott, piano, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin, and members of The Philadelphia Orchestra tackled Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet. This rarely heard concerto is a rich, warm-sounding, melodic example of late French Romanticism — and the performers that night were on fire. When it ended, I heard an audible gasp from the audience. Music like this comes alive in an intimate space. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

9. July 6: Cirque de la Symphonie with the Philadelphia Orchestra. A capacity crowd was mesmerized by the spellbinding acrobatic and aerial feats of fantastic cirque performers, choreographed to rich classical favorites as performed by one of the greatest orchestras in the world. It doesn’t get much better than this.

10. June 30: Dvorak’s New World Symphony with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This wonderful performance was even more special because it was the festival’s first-ever orchestral concert broadcast on Colorado Public Radio.

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

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