Monthly Archives: July 2013

By Valerie Powell

Nicolo Spera guitar 

After listening in on rehearsal this morning, I decided that after a long hiatus I would return to the Friday song of the week. Of the three pieces on Saturday night’s concert, the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo caught my attention for a few reasons.

First of all, of the European composers, we rarely hear Spanish music. The sound is quite distinct and different from the traditional roster of German, French and Russian composers. The piece made me feel as if I were sitting on a rooftop, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, while below vendors hustle and bustle on cobblestone streets. Secondly, this is the first time we have introduced the guitar as a classical instrument at Strings Music Festival. Most people associate the guitar with rock and roll and country, but it is also fascinating when backed by a full orchestra, rather than a drum kit.

You can listen to the piece in the video below, which shows John Williams performing the Concierto at Royal Albert Hall in London.


Live Music Steamboat
Guitarist Nicolò Spera will perform this piece tomorrow night, Saturday July 27 with the Strings Festival Orchestra. Today only you can buy a Rush Seat for only $25!

Posted on July 26, 2013
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By Ali Mignone

strings music festival chairs

Being Stage Manager at Strings is all about moving chairs. Seriously.

Ok, there are other responsibilities, but this week is all about the chairs. With multiple performances onstage and rehearsals, rentals, load-ins and dress rehearsals happening in-between, here’s what the chair round-up looks like:

     – 12 chairs on
     – 12 chairs off

     – 12 chairs on
     – 12 chairs off
     – 12 chairs on

     – 18 additional chairs on

     – 30 chairs off
     – 30 chairs on

     – 30 chairs off
     – 30 chairs on

     – 20 chairs off

     -10 chairs off

By the end of this week I will have moved 228 chairs. At 15 pounds apiece, that’s 3,420 pounds. That’s over a ton. A ton. By my estimate, that earns me approximately 400 brownies or as much beer as I can carry. Brilliant!

And this list doesn’t include the two pianos and the music stands—I’m telling you that this is the best gig in the business. Working with world-class musicians, technicians and staff; hearing amazing live music of all genres; and getting my workout in at the same time? Who else can say that?

Now if I can only convince Strings to open a second venue across town so that I can get some cardio in, my cross-training plan for ski season will be complete…


Ali Mignone is the Stage Manager at Strings, bringing 20 years of experience in the theater world and in arts/business administration. Ali recently moved to Steamboat from Connecticut, and she’s frantically cramming in all the hiking and biking she can do before ski season–when she plans to be stealing powder from sharing powder with the amazing people she’s met here. When she’s not backstage or outside, Ali works as a Senior Consultant for Theatre Projects Consultants and as a freelance writer and editor.

Posted on July 25, 2013
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Vadym Kholondenko - 2013

On June 9, 2013, Vadym Kholodenko was pronounced winner of the 14th International Van Cliburn Piano Competition, one of the most prestigious awards for a pianist in the world. In addition to taking home the grand prize, he also took home prizes for best performance of the piano quintet and best performance of the commissioned work.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Vadym Kholodenko (pronounced Vah-DEEM Ko-lo-DENK-o) was the first musician in his family. He told the Huffington Post that his mother started him with piano lessons at the age of five, but that she did not push him. At the age of 13, he made his first appearances in the United States, China, Hungary and Croatia at the age of 13. Since then he has performed across the globe in more than 15 countries and has also won first prize at the International Schubert Competition and the Sendai International Music Competition.

For winning the competition, Kholodenko receives $50,000, a live recording of his competition performances, a studio recording and performance attire. Kholodenko will perform in over 50 engagements in 2013–2014 as part of his debut season as gold medalist, including with the Mann Center with The Philadelphia Orchestra, La Jolla Music Society, CU Presents, Cliburn Concerts, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Lied Center of Kansas and Portland Piano International.

Critic Reviews
“For Kholodenko, that was Mozart’s C Major Concerto…. He was able to communicate its joy from the first moments and added his own tasteful embellishments. His cadenzas were fascinating and well-constructed, calling upon techniques such as imitation and fugue and with unexpected harmonic turns. I found them inventive and stylistically true. He built excitement with momentum, but pulled back to savor a phrase. The slow movement was deeply felt, and one was captivated by the beauty of his phrasing.” – Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer

“Judging from his Prokofiev Concerto No. 3 in C Major (Op. 26), Vadym Kholodenko (Ukraine) is a powerhouse of a pianist who is also capable of great delicacy. His concentration was intense and he seemed to be entirely caught up in the music. The Prokofiev 3rd is the music of youth, with ample wit, nose-thumbing cheer and some ridiculously difficult writing for the soloist, especially in the final movement. Mr. Kholodenko captured all of that and did it with precision and flare. There seemed to me to be a real joy in his playing that communicated itself to the highly appreciative audience. It certainly won me over.” – Chuck Lavazzi, Stage Left

About the Competition
Van Cliburn was the first winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. It was a time of pride and nationalism for Americans, and so the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was established in 1962 as a legacy for the young star. The mission of the Van Cliburn Foundation is to identify and sustain the young talents of classical music. The awards not only include cash prizes, but professional development as well. The winners of each competition are awarded three years of career management and artist services, including the booking of national tours and international engagements for the gold medalist. Today the competition is regarded as the most prestigious of its kind in the world.

Cliburn devoted his life to spreading classical music worldwide and nurturing young artists. This February, Cliburn died at the age of 78 at his Fort Worth home after battling bone cancer. The concert on July 31 is dedicated in his memory.

Live Music Steamboat – Vadym Kholodenko
Pianist Vadym Kholodenko will perform a solo piano recital at the Strings Music Pavilion on Wednesday, July 31 at 6:00pm. Buy tickets online now or call the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943)
Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, op. 28
     Allegro moderato
     Allegro molto

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Nocturne in B Major, op. 62, no. 1
Nocturne in E Major, op. 62, no. 2
Polonaise in A-flat Major, op. 53 “Heroique”

Posted on July 23, 2013
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