Opening week of Moab Music Festival features eclectic mix of modern and classical sounds
Aug 29, 2013 | 2412 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The Moab Music Festival’s opening week includes two concerts at scenic Red Cliffs Lodge.                                                                                                 Courtesy photo
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Chamber music is at the heart of the 21st Moab Music Festival, but here, unlike the salons of old Europe, the musical styles go beyond classical and the chambers are the natural grottos, riverbanks, and the red rocks of the area.

The 2013 festival kicks off Thursday, Aug. 29, with the first of three signature Grotto Benefit Concerts. The grotto concerts feature a 40-minute boat trip down the Colorado River to a red rock wilderness grotto. Programming for the first grotto concert will include John Musto’s “River Songs” and works by Brahms and Schubert.

On Friday, Aug. 30 at Moab’s historic Star Hall, 125 E. Center St., two new works will anchor the evening program – a world premiere by singer/songwriter Carla Kihlstedt based on Kenneth Koch’s 1,000 Avant-Garde Plays, and a film, “Self-Portrait,” by festival cellist Nick Canellakis with music by festival pianist Michael Brown. The program also includes two Schumann clarinet quintets, Prokofiev’s “Overture on Hebrew Themes” and Brahms’ powerful Clarinet Quintet.

The following morning, Saturday, Aug.31 at 11 a.m. at Star Hall, festival musicians will hold an open rehearsal for Sunday evening’s concert. There is no charge for the open rehearsals, but space is limited and tickets are required. Contact the festival box office for reservations and more information.

Red Cliffs Lodge, located along the Colorado River northeast of Moab, will host the Saturday evening program, “The Future of American Song,” featuring Gabriel Kahane’s “Line Up!” The New York Times called Kahane “a one-man cultural cuisinart.” Kahane, Carla Kihl-stedt and Mathias Bossi of Rabbit Rabbit Radio are at the forefront of a “new movement of sophisticated songwriters who have embraced popular culture and the rigor of classical music, making their marks with original songs drawing from pop and classical music, and American folk idioms,” according to Moab Music Festival organizers.

On Sunday, Sept. 1, the festival will hold its first “music hike” of the season, where festival musicians will perform a trio by Dohnanyi and a Mozart duet. The walks almost always sell out, festival officials said.

Red Cliffs Lodge will also be the setting for the Sept. 1 evening concert, “The Wisdom of the Earth.” The program will feature works by Kenji Bunch, Russell Goodluck and a world premiere by Juantio Becenti. The program considers the legacy of Native Americans’ earth-centered world view in contrast to modern humanity’s disconnection from Mother Earth, according to a festival news release.

“American Songs Then and Now” is the theme for the Monday, Sept. 2 free Labor Day Rocky Mountain Power Family Picnic Concert in Old City Park. The performance will highlight 300 years of American song heritage, including traditional folk songs and songs by Bolcom, Bernstein, Ives, Gershwin, Carla Kihlstedt and others. The concert begins at 2 p.m.

Representatives from Rocky Mountain Power will be on hand at the Labor Day concert to encourage local utility customers to save energy and resources by signing up for paperless statements. Currently, about 25 percent of Rocky Mountain Power’s Moab customers use the company’s online paperless billing system, according to information from the company. RMP officials will have a booth at the concert entrance and will guide interested customers through the process.

On Sept. 3 and 4, the festival will hold its two Ranch Benefit Concerts. “Home on the Range” will be the theme of the Sept. 3 event, which will be held at an historic ranch overlooking the Colorado River and featuring selections highlighting the “Great American Songbook” as well as fireworks. On Wednesday, Sept. 4, a concert will be held in one of Moab’s private homes. The concert will feature piano trios and electric violin.

For more information about Moab Music Festival concerts, or to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 435-259-7003, or visit the festival office at 58 East 300 South.

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