Pick up the tempo

Strings expands in 2002 summer season

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— Lovers of Strings in the Mountains will have more options for catching shows this summer. While those who haven't seen a show in the big tent may just find something they like this summer, because some of the best musicians in the world will stop by Steamboat Springs to perform.

Usually Strings packs all of its concerts into July and August, hosting multiple shows in one week. This year things have changed. The concerts are spread out over three months beginning in late May.

"The decision came from the community," Strings Executive Director Kay Clagett said. "When we were offering four or five nights of programs, no one could go to them all."

This year Strings in the Mountains' shows begin in late spring and run over the entire summer. There will be the same number of shows as normal and the nonprofit organization still stays true with its major goal to bring the best musicians in the world to Steamboat Springs for a bargain price. Ticket sales for Strings concerts cover 22 percent of the costs to bring the artist and put the show on in the big tent. The rest is made up by donations.

The first artist to perform is singer and saxophone player Curtis Stigers next weekend.

"It's really encouraging people to buy more tickets," said Sheri Steiner, Strings' director of development and marketing.

The next concert, Locals' Jamboree, is June 8. That show is aimed at folks who may never have been in Strings' big tent on the mountain. Three local bands, The Steamboat Jazz Group, Shenanigans and Flashback, will take the stage with $2 admission fees. All the proceeds go to purchasing and repairing instruments for the high school band.

Officials at Strings also are excited with at least a couple of acts coming this summer.

Olga Kern, winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will stop in Steamboat at the end of the summer. Kern, a 26-year-old Russian, won the most prestigious piano competitions in the world last June. Strings in the Mountains usually gets Van Cliburn participants but rarely gets a visit from the winner.

Pianist Andre-Michel Schub, violinist Chee-Yun and Andres Diaz on cello all world-class musicians also will play a Gala concert in July.

"This is the first time they've played together. This will be a very special, and almost once-in-a-lifetime, concert," Clagett said.

A few of the other artists to play Strings this summer include Louden Wainright III, Brent Rowan and Friends, and nine-time Grammy Award-winning Asleep at the Wheel playing western swing.

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