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Beethoven Festival Begins This Sunday

Park City Beethoven Festival

The 37th annual Beethoven Music Festival is running now through August 16th. The first concert of Utah’s longest-running classical music festival is this Sunday July 7th at Temple Har Shalom.

Over the seven weeks, The Beethoven Music Festival will hold 18 concerts in the Park City community. The concerts include five shows at Temple Har Shalom on Sundays, Five shows at City Park bandstands on Mondays, six concerts at Park City Community Church and two gala fund raisers in Park City homes. The festival is trying something new with two additional concerts outside of Summit County in Moab and Ogden.

The Beethoven Festival founders Russell and Leslie Harlow spoke with KPCW ahead of the festival. Leslie Harlow says their artists are a mix of charter members who return every year and those who are brand new to the festival.

“All of our players are outstanding classical soloists and recording artists,” Harlow explained. “We bring them and put them together. We choose all of our players because they’re really expressive. They like to expand the boundaries of the chamber music, because we have no conductor and it's one person on every part. The audience really picks up on this too because they can see the interaction of all the players when we play. These are very intimate concert you can get really close. We talk with our audience, not just at our audience. We enjoy having people sitting right with us as we perform, and I think that's one of the hallmarks of this festival.”

The concerts in the park are free, while the rest are ticketed. Prices range from $15-$45, the fundraisers range from $50 to $100 a person.

Although the festival is named after the German composer, the Beethoven Music festival will feature performances from a variety of classical music from trained artists. Harlow says the name of the festival comes from an experience she and a board member Annie Amendola had while using a Beethoven bust as a marketing tool.

“She and I were running around doing something like the Travelocity gnome where we carried a Beethoven bust with us,” Harlow continued. “We were having pictures made with the concierge at the hotels and people in the shops, people in the street and taking their pictures. Everyone recognizes Beethoven, and they recognize Beethoven as classical. One of the things we had run into was first we were the Deer Valley Chamber Music Festival; then we changed to the Park City International Music Festival and it's really not clear when you say that what we are. It doesn't separate us from all the other Park City events. So, as Annie and I were walking around and realized that everyone knew that Beethoven was classical, we said well this is perfect. Let's name it the Beethoven Festival. So, we don't only play Beethoven, but we do play some concerts that are all Beethoven.”

The artists in the concert have impressive credentials and include those classically trained in playing the piano, violin, cello, viola, clarinet and harpsichord. Harlow suggests concert goers read the artists bios on the festival website before attending a concert.

“Look at the calendar and they can click on the different concerts and those lead to the bios of the great players,” Harlow said. “I think it's really interesting to see where all they’re from. From Poland and we have several from China. Most of them work in the United States now and teach at universities or perform or run their own series somewhere and we bring them all together here.”

You can find the full calendar of the concert series and purchase tickets here.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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