Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Grand Teton Music Festival Provides Matchless Scenery as Backdrop to Unrivaled Music-Making

Guest Musicians and Top Festival Orchestra Led by World-Renowned Conductors

Music Director Donald Runnicles; Guest Artists Christine Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Frank Lopardo, and Eric Owens; Guest Conductors Osmo Vänskä and Nicholas McGegan; and Other Artists Will Participate in Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s Exciting Seven-Week Festival as It Continues to Grow to New Heights; Program Highlights Include World Premiere of New Work By Stephen Paulus

Wyoming’s 48th Grand Teton Music Festival opens officially on Wednesday, July 1 with a spotlight concert by the genre-busting trio “Time For Three”, followed by two evenings of concerts featuring the Festival Orchestra with guest conductor Thomas Wilkins and violinist Cho-Liang Lin. The festivities really kick off on Saturday, July 4 with the 13th annual free outdoor Independence Day concert, tagged “Music in the Hole”. A picnic and other fun events precede a concert by VIP Grand Teton guest and powerhouse soprano Christine Brewer, who has programmed patriotic songs with the Festival Orchestra under Maestro Wilkins.

The Festival continues for seven weeks, playing its indoor concerts in the acoustically renowned Walk Festival Hall, which reopened in 2007 after a renovation costing nearly $5 million. Since 2006, Donald Runnicles has served the Festival as Music Director, leading the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra – made up of top musicians from orchestras all over the U.S, Canada , and Europe – in Friday and Saturday evening concerts. This year’s guest stars include singers Ms. Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Thomas Hampson, Frank Lopardo, and Eric Owens; instrumental soloists Mr. Lin, Lynn Harrell, Yevgeny Sudbin, Paolo Bordignon, and Norman Krieger; and conductors Osmo Vänskä and Nicholas McGegan.

“The virtuosity and power of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra are as breathtaking as the splendor of the Tetons themselves,” comments Music Director Donald Runnicles. “The Grand Teton Music Festival deserves to be a compulsory stop on any music lover’s summer itinerary.” Not least because of the region’s stunning beauty, the Grand Teton Music Festival attracts musicians to its Festival Orchestra from top orchestras in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

The San Francisco Festival Chorale joins the orchestra and a quartet of soloists – soprano Twyla Robinson, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Frank Lopardo, and bass Eric Owens – for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under Maestro Runnicles in the first of his four pairs of concerts (July 17 & 18). He and the orchestra support pianist Norman Krieger for the great Piano Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms, programmed with John Adams’s delightful Harmonielehre for his second weekend (July 24 & 25); and then, in his third week, the Spotlight Artist is Thomas Hampson, who performs Adams’s moving Wound Dresser, to words by Walt Whitman, on a program with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Aaron Jay Kernis’s heavenly Musica Celestis for strings (Aug 7 & 8). Midweek, on Wednesday, August 5, Mr. Runnicles will be the evening’s pianist with Mr. Hampson and cellist Lynn Harrell, for a program to be announced later. For the season’s grand finale, Maestro Runnicles conducts the world premiere of a new concertante work for cello and orchestra by Stephen Paulus – commissioned by the Grand Teton Music Festival – with Lynn Harrell as soloist. The world premiere is preceded by Smetana’s flowing portrait of his homeland’s famous river, “The Moldau”, and the final work is Richard Strauss’s dramatic “portrait of an alp” – the Alpine Symphony – a poetic mirroring of the grandeur surrounding the beautiful Grand Teton Music Festival (Aug 14 & 15).

On Tuesday evenings, members of the Festival Orchestra form smaller groups for Chamber Music Concerts, and on Wednesdays a wide variety of lighter fare is offered, from New Orleans Jazz to The Gypsies, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and Time for Three. There are also free community and family concerts on weekdays.

The complete GTMF schedule is available at www.gtmf.org.

Tickets are available for purchase through the Grand Teton Music Festival Ticket Office by phone at (307) 733-1128 or online www.gtmf.org. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges are permitted. All programs, artists, and dates are subject to change.

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