Monthly Archives: March 2012

Asleep at the Wheel

Chris Botti -Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
“Chris Botti rocked my world but so many performances have here. Thank you!”
“Two step, three steps all night long to Asleep at the Wheel every time they played. And I loved that steel guitar.” -Chris and Gary
“You’ve come a long way since Asleep at the Wheel.”
“Seeing Brent Rowan in his first concert, his hand shaking until he started playing.”
“My heart melts each year when Brent Rowan sings “80477” – it’s my piece of heaven as well.”

These Strings Music Festival favorites return for another great season of music in Steamboat Springs. Don’t miss their concerts!

Brent Rowan – July 6
Chris Botti – July 27
Asleep at the Wheel – August 17

For the full schedule of Steamboat concerts, please visit stringsmusicfestival.com. Tickets on sale now, online, by phone, or in person.

Posted on March 30, 2012
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“The pianist Jon Nakamatsu plays with the calm assurance that comes of having both a solid technique and a gentle, introspective, interpretive spirit.” -The New York Times

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu

Now well-known as an established pianist, Jon Nakamatsu resides with the San Francisco Symphony and has performed all over the world. What isn’t so well-known is that he was once considered an amateur with no hope at a musical career. In fact, his degree is in German Studies and Secondary Education and he didn’t even go to a music school. A judge even told him that he had neither the talent nor technique for playing the piano and that he should find something easier to do with his life.  

Despite not following the traditional music career path and being rejected from the 2003 Van Cliburn screening audition, Nakamatsu never gave up playing the piano and returned to win the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Since then, Nakamatsu has judged other piano competitions, which he says he enjoys much more than actually being in the competition. In the video below you can watch his speech during the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs awards ceremony, which has the audience howling with laughter and encourages all the “losers” to keep on playing.

About the Competition
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was started in 1962 a few years after Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His achievement was celebrated with a parade in New York City, which is the first and only time the city honored a classical musician with such a grandiose ceremony. From there Cliburn established a foundation to spread classical music worldwide and launch and nurture young artists’ careers. Today the competition is regarded as the most prestigious of its kind in the world. 

Live Music in Steamboat – Jon Nakamatsu
Pianist Jon Nakamatsu will perform a solo piano recital and chamber music at the Strings Music Pavilion on Wednesday, July 25. Tickets on sale now! Buy tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on March 27, 2012
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Mass Ensemble – Strings Music Tent – 2004

“The string harp strung up in the tent on opening night.”
“Mass Ensemble opening celebration when the tent moved here.”
“When Strings was ‘strung’. The grand opening with the room sized harp.”

If MASS Ensemble is your favorite memory, you’re in luck because they’re returning to Strings Music Festival to open the Different Tempo Series. To learn more about the instrument that spans the length of the Pavilion, visit stringsmusicfestival.com. They will perform in Steamboat Springs on Saturday June 30th at 8:00pm. Tickets on sale now, online, by phone, or in person.

Posted on March 23, 2012
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“I love going where I’m not supposed to go. I love being the underdog. I love feeling like I’m starting at square zero again. I thrive on it.” –k.d. lang


k.d. lang has explored it all from country, to pop, to rock, and back to country again. She’s performed solo and with a band, recorded her own original songs, produced albums, and interpreted unforgettable covers, including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the Olympics Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia. One might say she’s the ultimate music Renaissance Woman.  

While many musicians begin as a singer and then switch to the role of songwriter, k.d. lang moves easily between the two. She explains how she does it to Out and About Newspaper: “My main instrument is being a vocalist, so I just enjoy going back and forth between being a songwriter and being an interpreter. As a writer, there’s such an emotional connection to the song that’s innate and it’s something where you know something so intimately. As an interpreter, the palate is way more open and there’s more subtext to play with, so that can be interesting.”

Sing It Loud

It’s easy to hear lang’s emotional and intimate connection to her songs in her newest album, Sing It Loud.  She recruited a band called “The Siss Boom Bang” to explore a new sound which relates both to rock ‘n roll and country.  

When speaking about the album, lang describes how she developed a new sound: “It was a big learning curve for me because it was a lot more rock and a lot more electric guitar than I was used to playing with, and a lot of it is live off the floor. So, it’s just reactionary, natural, instinctual singing, which is what I do best, really. I think when I’m on stage, that’s when I feel most comfortable, when I’m reacting to the moment, and that’s what we were able to capture.” 

While the album weaves in and out of different genres and styles, lang’s expressive voice is the thread that connects all the songs together. Powerful and tender, sweet and longing, k.d. lang pulls the audience up on stage to experience an emotional journey first hand. 

Best Country Vocal Collaboration – “Crying”
Best Female Country Vocal Performance – “Absolute Torch and Twang”
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance – “Constant Craving”
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album – A Wonderful World

Live Music in Steamboat – k.d. lang
k.d. lang will play at the Strings Music Pavilion on Friday August 3rd. Tickets on sale now! Order tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on March 21, 2012
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Wendy Chen – Strings Music Pavilion – 2010

“David Hardy’s brilliant cello, warm most secure smile and a strong but not bone crushing handshake.”

“Anne Williams”

“When David Deveau played Liszt’s consolation No. 3 in 2005. I fell in love with the piece and asked my piano teacher to help me learn it. It took me months, but I finally could play it quite well. David’s job is secure, I could never equal him.”

“We always look forward to hearing Wendy Chen play the piano and also to seeing what she is wearing – stunning music and outfits.”

“Wendy Chen, playing powerfully and peacefully: Grace, beauty and a smile to melt every heart!”

If these are your Strings Music Festival favorites, then you’re in luck because they’re coming back! Here’s when you can see them perform:

David Hardy
July 28 – Appalachian Spring ~ Heritage Concert
August 1 – Orchestral Music from the Movies ~ Heritage Concert
August 4 – Finale Orchestra

Anne Martindale Williams

August 1 – Orchestral Music from the Movies ~ Heritage Concert
August 4 – Finale Orchestra

David Deveau
July 28 – Appalachian Spring ~ Heritage Concert

Wendy Chen
August 4 – Finale Orchestra

For our full classical schedule, please visit stringsmusicfestival.com. Tickets on sale now, online, by phone, or in person.

Posted on March 16, 2012
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Chris Botti

The trumpet, an instrument mostly known for dramatic fanfares announcing the arrival of the king, takes on a completely different tone in the hands of Chris Botti. His sound, described as dark, smooth, and round, is unlike any other, and it has made him one of the most popular jazz artists of our time. 

But Botti refuses to be limited entirely to jazz. His most influential work blends genres and his greatest example of this talent was demonstrated in a PBS benefit concert titled Live in Boston. In an interview with PBS after the concert, Botti touches on how great musicians can break out of their boxes. 

“We spend a lot of time in the world these days putting artists in different genres and pigeonholing them into different kinds of music – you’re a jazz musician, you’re a classical musician, you’re a rock musician, you’re this, you’re that. I think that show in Boston made it apparent that all of those artists rise above the genre placing and they just sort of operate up here and communicate rather easily.” 

At this concert, Sting, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, and Yo-Yo Ma all performed on the same stage with the Boston Pops orchestra. If you didn’t think classical music could be combined with rock n’ roll, pop, and jazz, check out the videos below to see how Botti artfully arranged these musicians to blow away all genre lines.

Others have begun to notice that genre lines are more fluid now than they were in the past. NPR‘s article about jazz and the Grammys noted that in 2009, 27 “jazz” artists had been nominated in 13 categories other than jazz. Perhaps this means that jazz artists are just better than other musicians at crossover music. Or maybe Chris Botti is actually changing the way we appreciate and rate music. He points to a future where musicianship transcends the genre and Grammy Awards are category free. 

Live Music in Steamboat – Chris Botti
The audience doesn’t care whether Botti plays classical, jazz, or pop music, they just love to see him on stage. A fellow blogger wrote this after seeing a Chris Botti Show: “Chris is an amazing entertainer. Whether he was playing, talking to the crowd, directing the band, or bringing two young trumpet players down from the balcony to the front row, he was always in command and had the audience eating out of his hand from the first note to the last note.”

Chris Botti will play at the Strings Music Pavilion on Friday July 27th. Tickets on sale now! Order tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Posted on March 14, 2012
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Jesse Cook – Strings Music Pavilion – 2010

“Loved Jesse Cook’s high energy and talent.”
“Who could forget the gypsy rhythms of Jesse Cook? Hot Spanish memories are made of him.”
“Our first Jesse Cook concert when the audience danced in the aisles.”
“Jesse Cook by the lake!” -Karen Vincent Lindeman

Jesse Cook performed at a Different Tempo Concert at the Strings Music Pavilion and an Encore Concert in 2010. Check out the 2012 Different Tempo Series on Strings Music Festival’s website. Tickets on sale now!

Posted on March 9, 2012
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“My heritage has been my grounding, and it has brought me peace.”
      -Maureen O’Hara 

To ground you firmly in music and bring peace to your soul, Strings Music Festival presents the 25th Anniversary Heritage Concerts. The idea of the Heritage Concerts was conceived by Strings Executive Director Kay Clagett as a way to celebrate both Strings’ 25th Anniversary and the history of Steamboat Springs. The concerts honor the past, showcase the present, and speak to the future by immersing you in a new classical music experience with dance, visuals, and young faces on stage.
Sleeping Giant / (c) Rod Hanna
July 7: Dance and Camaraderie – Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp
What better way to celebrate today’s arts and culture than with the oldest continually operating performing arts school and camp in the nation – the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. With the help of choreographer Thang Dao and Music Director Andrés Cárdenes, the musicians and dancers will come together to perform Two Dances from Roots II by David Baker.

July 28: Appalachian Spring – Steamboat’s Top Photographers
First used by Westwater Arts, photochoreography displays a series of images in time with a performance of a classical work. The large-scale photographs and live music experienced as one will stir your emotions just like perfectly synchronized dancers. Our original photochoreography presentation will take the history of the Yampa Valley, documented in photographs, and set it to the music of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Thank you to our contributing photographers, Jim Steinberg, Judy Jones, and Rod Hanna and Fox network professional producer/videographer Michael Burks.

August 1: Orchestral Music from the Movies – Steamboat’s Young Musicians

The future of classical music exists in our youth.  To envision what lies ahead, this concert will include a small chamber orchestra with Strings musicians and local music students. A professional and a student will both play the same instrument part, as if they were colleagues sitting side-by-side in the same orchestra. Before the concert, the professional musicians will teach and mentor the music students.

Tickets for all concerts on sale now! Buy tickets online, by phone, and in person. For complete concert agenda, please visit stringsmusicfestival.com.

Posted on March 7, 2012
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Strings Music Festival Park

My favorite memory of Strings is…

“Making the silent auction quilt for the 2000 season.” -Madeleine Vail
“Painting clothespins black.” -Ted G

Along with ushering at concerts, checking tickets, and helping in the box office, some volunteers go above and beyond – like making sure that musicians have clothespins so their music won’t blow away. Thank you to all our volunteers – we couldn’t do it without you!

Interested in volunteering for Strings Music Festival this summer? For more information, visit our website.

Posted on March 2, 2012
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