Elissa Greene: Whales, harps and a world premiere

Strings lineup offers 100 years of modern music performances this week

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Elissa Greene

Elissa Greene's "This Week in Strings" column appears Mondays in Steamboat Today.

Tonight is the second installment of New Frontiers of Modern Music, a series celebrating music written in the past 100 years.

This concert features the works of American composer George Crumb. Vox Balaenae, or "Voice of the Whale," perhaps one of his most well-known pieces, was conceived for electric flute, electric cello and amplified piano. Oh, and the composer wanted the performers to wear masks. Seriously. Tonight at Strings, the musicians will not be masked, but the instruments will be amplified and the stage lighting most unusual. This is going to be a unique and superb concert.

Tuesday night is a family concert featuring the Dream Jam Band, whose songs have been topping the Sirius radio charts. This is another great event for the whole family.

Wednesday night's program is "Bold and Beautiful" with music by Camille Saint-Saens, Felix Mendelssohn and American composer Peter Schickele. This concert offers a rare opportunity to hear (and see!) a full concert grand harp, played by Canadian harpist Heidi Krutzen. She performs in three colorful pieces by Impressionist masters Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Thursday and Friday nights feature Canadian flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook and his band. Thursday night's performance is a fundraising event at the beautiful home of John and Chris Kelley at Lake Catamount, and it includes cocktails, dinner and dessert. Friday night's concert in the Pavilion is sold out, but lawn seating will be available Friday morning, weather permitting.

Ending one very long week of music, Saturday night offers a show entitled "Classics to Crossover," featuring a world premiere of "Lullaby For Our Daughters," written by Mike Garson. Mike has been Musical Director/Keyboardist for David Bowie and the Smashing Pumpkins, among his many credits. Performers of this piece include the composer (piano), six-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the New York Philharmonic's Mark Nuccio on clarinet. Colorado jazz musicians Erik Applegate (bass) and Todd Reid (drums) will round out the jazz trio. Mike composed this piece in honor of the first season of the new Strings Pavilion.

Elissa Greene is information technology director and development coordinator for the Strings Music Festival. Contact her at (970) 879-5056 ext. 100, or elissa@stringsmusicfestival.com.

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