Violinist Chee-Yun returns to the Strings Music Festival on Wednesday for an evening of classical pieces.

Courtesy photo

Violinist Chee-Yun returns to the Strings Music Festival on Wednesday for an evening of classical pieces.

Elissa Greene: Big week at Strings

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— This is always one of my favorite times in Steamboat Springs and at the Strings Music Festival.

The flowers are blooming - it has finally stopped raining - summer visitors are arriving, and Strings musicians are coming and going. It is great to see some of our old Strings favorites return, such as Chee-Yun and Evan Premo, and also really fun to meet artists new to our stage. The Pavilion, in its second season, is a phenomenal space, unlike anywhere else in the area. I encourage you to come visit us for a concert this week.

On Wednesday, Chee-Yun returns to Strings for an evening of short and showy pieces. Of particular note is Claude Bolling's Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio. French-born Bolling was a child piano prodigy. Although he spent most of his time devoted to ragtime, blues, New Orleans jazz, boogie-woogie and swing, he is best known in the classical world for his crossover suites written and arranged specifically for virtuosic classical soloists and a jazz rhythm section, such as the one performed Wednesday night by Chee-Yun, violin; Wendy Chen, piano; Evan Premo, bass; and Todd Reid, percussion.

Thursday and Friday bring in legendary musicians, The Neville Brothers. This marks the largest production Strings has ever presented. Band members are Art (a.k.a. Poppa Funk), Charles, Aaron and Cyril Neville. Individually, their performing history spans 50 years, and they have been recording together since 1978. Displaced from their hometown of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, they made a triumphant comeback at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

As I mentioned last week, even though the Youth Concert featuring Taiko With Toni at 11 a.m. is sold out, we have added an encore performance at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Taiko drumming unites percussion and dance. Toni Yagami, of Denver, will present a Japanese folktale, performing in traditional costume and playing different sizes of taiko drums, various hand percussion, bamboo flutes and the koto, a Japanese harp. At $10 for adults and $1 for children, this is a great concert for the whole family.

There is no Saturday concert this week because of the holiday. Enjoy your Fourth of July.

Elissa Greene is the education and information technology director for the Strings Music Festival. Contact her at 970-879-5056 x 100, or elissa@stringsmusicfestival.com.

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