Elissa Greene's "This Week in Strings" column appears Mondays in Steamboat Today.
Steamboat Springs The performances at Strings Music Festival this week offer a kaleidoscope of regions and influences, from dance and drumming traditions of West Africa to European classical masterworks and uniquely American sounds of jazz. If you’ve never attended a Strings performance, consider checking out any of the three free offerings this week.
Fara Tolno and Kissidugu return to the Strings stage Tuesday for two new concerts of African dancing and drumming. These are fun and energetic performances for all ages. The new programs this year feature the storytelling traditions of Guinea. The first performance is entitled “Buhumasse” and is about a wise snake observing the activities of a village from a tree during the time of a drought as people and animals come together. The second performance is called “Dja” and is the story of preparing for a marriage celebration. The concerts are at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. There also are drum and dance workshops for adults and children today and Tuesday at Strings Music Pavilion.
On Wednesday, the resident Classical artists of Strings present a varied program, featuring virtuosic violin pieces by Kreisler, Wieniawski, Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Also featured is Peter Schickele’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” featuring CBS Sports commentator Verne Lundquist as narrator in this humorous rendition of the popular children’s story.
Also Wednesday is a presentation of the new Meet the Composer Series at the Bud Werner Memorial Library featuring jazz pianist and composer Mike Garson. This presentation is presented free of charge.
On Thursday, local band The Easy Peaces presents a free concert at 12:15 p.m. at Yampa River Botanic Park as part of the Music on the Green series.
On Friday, trumpet phenomenon Chris Botti takes the stage. Not only was he voted one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, but he has two Grammy Awards under his belt and has recorded more than a dozen solo albums. He tours more than 250 days a year and has played for the World Series and the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. His star-studded performance with Sting and Aretha Franklin at Boston’s historic Symphony Hall is a PBS favorite broadcast.
Strings comes back with a new addition Sunday. Strings Music Festival’s first free matinee takes place at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1. This concert features classical and jazz favorites performed by Strings’ finest musicians, such as composer-in-residence Mike Garson and his band; Wendy Chen, piano; Strings Music Directors; and the featured artist from Strings School Days in May, marimba player Simon Boyar. In this performance, you will hear selections you know from George Gershwin, Johann Pachelbel and Antonio Vivaldi in addition to American jazz selections. Bring the entire family for this fun, free community concert of exceptional music. There will be open seating throughout the Pavilion and Strings Park.