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Chamber music returns to Park City's Eccles Center

Jan Gates

Acclaimed pianist John Novacek will be performing with Park City Beethoven Festival artists this Sunday afternoon at the Park City Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.

The performance will feature two pieces by Beethoven – a piano sonata and a trio for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano and a more recent trio from the 20th century by composer Jean Francaix.

The performance begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday and tickets are available online for $35. Seating is general admission and face masks are required during the performance.

Leslie Harlow who plays the viola, will be joined by her husband Russell on clarinet and John Novachek on piano.

“He's incredibly popular at chamber music festivals because he's so dynamic,” Harlow said. “And actually, in one of his reviews, he was referred to as a very, very well virile performer and he is -- he just takes everything to the extreme which we love.”

The three of them Harlow says have been practicing all week. The first Beethoven piece, a trio, was originally written for piano, violin, and cello. She says they transcribed it for the viola, clarinet, and piano. Beethoven wrote it when he was just 25. The piano sonata she says is one of the last pieces of music that he wrote, when he was going deaf.

“So, we have the first chamber piece that he wrote for piano trio and the next to last Sonata so it's the span of his whole lifetime. So that's great. And then in the middle, we have this crazy piece by Francaix, John Francaix. And it's like Paris in the cafes in the 30s and 40s. But it was written in 1990. And he's a wonderful composer and he just kills us it is so hard and we're just flying. Russ and I have been working on this for months.”

She added that the Francaix piece is difficult because of the key it’s played in as well as how fast it moves...

“It's five different movements of all different styles,” Harlow said. “And the fast movements are the fastest I've ever had to play. And so, it's just it's flying scales, and it's up really, really high. And it's so much fun, though. It's full of humor, and I think the audience will love it.”

More chamber concerts are planned at the Eccles Center through May with the next one set for March 13th.

Tickets are online at parkcityinstitute.org. Reduced pricing is available for students, seniors, school district employees and first responders. You will need to call the box office for those specially priced tickets at 435-645-3114.