Steamboat Springs Q. What kinds of things are different about the Strings in the Mountains concert series this season?
A. The biggest change for the 2002 Strings season is our schedule of concerts. This year's theme is "We're going to play all summer long"! Strings has traditionally been focused into a six- to seven-week intense season. This year the festival will open May 26 and continue through the end of August. The Different Tempo Series, which presents jazz, country, bluegrass and other forms of pop music, will be Fridays with many other concerts presented during late May, June and the latter part of August. The Classical Concert Series will be held Wednesday and Saturday evenings instead of Thursday and Saturday. The Youth Concert Series will occur Tuesday or Thursday mornings and the Family Series will be presented Tuesday or Thursday early evenings. The free Musical Talk educational lectures have been moved to Wednesdays at noon and will be held in Centennial Hall.
Q. Are there any artists you are particularly excited about having?
A. There are several new artists coming to Strings this summer and we are excited to meet and hear them all. To name a few, Strings' classical programs will host the new Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, Nurit Bar-Josef; 24-year-old Jonathan Crow, who is currently the Associate Concertmaster and youngest member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; on Aug. 20 the Gold Medal winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Olga Kern, will dazzle the Strings audience; and July 6 the Gala Concert will present Andrichel Schub, Chee-Yun and Andres Diaz. Strings was very fortunate to receive a very generous donation to bring this caliber of "star" for the opening concert of the classical series.
New artists in the Different Tempo Series will be television star and Grammy nominee Loudon Wainwright III, whose show promises to be a marvelous combination of music and jaw-dropping observations about death, family and romantic failure. Tickets are hot for Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks where 30 years of music memories will be presented, and the Friday night audience always looks forward to our Cajun night, which will feature BeauSoleil and lots of dancing!
Q. Strings has earned a national reputation in a relatively short period of time. What do you think it is that draws world-class artists back year after year?
A. There are a few things we haven't changed at Strings since our beginnings in 1988 it's a prerequisite that everyone who participates must have fun. To ensure this, we have kept the audience capacity at 550, which allows for an intimate concert experience where the audience and musician feel connected.
With the help of the board, guild and community members, many activities are planned that bring the musicians into the community and our lifestyle we hike, play golf, picnic, and entertain at our homes those musicians who are here for the week. Their Steamboat experience is really what the musicians want to enjoy we're fun, friendly and we enjoy introducing newcomers to our lives in this beautiful valley. It's really a lot of fun getting to know them their joy in learning about this community and becoming part of it is one of the major reasons why they return year after year.
Also, Strings has mastered the ability to combine musicians who have never played together before and offer them the wonderful chance to make music together. The caliber of musicianship is very high at Strings world-class is an apt description and it is a treat for them to come together and play at a level that is professionally exciting. They enjoy meeting each other and often form relationships at Strings that carry over throughout the years.
Q. Strings has plans to move to a site near Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads. How will the move benefit the concert series?
A. The festival has been looking for the appropriate piece of land to purchase for the past five years. Strings needs a permanent home a place where the tent can be left up on a year-round basis, a place where there is room to eventually build a permanent concert hall, a place that has ample parking, and a place where the outside noise can be managed. Torian Plum has been a superb location for us for the past 11 years and has helped us grow and achieve our national recognition. We want Strings in the Mountains to be a long-lasting legacy in the Yampa Valley and we need to own our own piece of ground to continue to build for our future. The new location will be highly visible and easy to find and we hope to eventually transform the area into a "crown jewel" of a performing experience for musicians and audience attendees.
Q. What's the long-term visions for Strings in the Mountains? How do you see the concert series being different in five or 10 years?
A. The (proposed permanent) facility will provide a permanent home for Strings in the Mountains to:
n Continue the world-class performances of Steamboat Springs' Summer Music Festival.
n Enhance its mission to present quality music to the community by expanding its presentations.
n Expand the music education programming for children and adults.