Friday, December 4, 2009

Classical music series takes off

Sun Valley Winter Artist Series will present world-class musicians


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Winter Artist Series Artistic Director Susan Spelius Dunning and Executive Director Steve Gannon introduce the valleyís new classical music event at the series foundersí cocktail party. Photo by Sabina Dana Plasse

Gayle and Fred Bieker opened their Elkhorn home on Monday, Nov. 30, to welcome many guests and supporters for the new Sun Valley Winter Artist Series. The evening featured a performance of Beethoven's "Spring Sonata" with the Boise Philharmonic concert master and Sun Valley Summer Symphony musician Geoffrey Trabichoff on violin and Susan Spelius Dunning on piano.

Dunning is also the artistic director for the Sun Valley Winter Artist Series. Dunning and Executive Director Steve Gannon have garnered overwhelming support for the classical music concert series, which will make its debut on Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum.

"I think what we are doing has never been done here," Dunning said. "The community is ready for it. I don't think this could have happened 20 years ago."

The concert series is intended to provide classical music enthusiasts with exceptional performances as well as to educate young music students. The series will provide free concert admission to selected students enrolled in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music as well as to music students studying with private teachers and at other schools throughout the valley.

The series is also working on building a resource guide on its Web site for music students and teachers in the Wood River Valley and eventually to include Boise. Young people are encouraged to attend the performances at a reduced ticket price.

"The concert series is an echo to what the Sun Valley Summer Symphony does in August," Dunning said. "The performances will be with several world-class musicians who play in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. These musicians wanted to come back to Sun Valley to play in the winter."

Dunning said she had attended a similar series in Aspen but the concert series in Sun Valley will be much more affordable.

"Our motto is excellence in classical music," she said. "We can improve the consciousness and the potential of what is here."

The series will also feature two pre-concert talks by pianists Peter Henderson, who plays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Sun Valley Symphony, on Saturday, Feb. 27, and R.L. Rowsey, Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music artistic director and Company of Fools core company artist, on Wednesday, March 10.

"People are stepping up to support the series," Dunning said. "It will be an experience."

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com

Performance schedule

· "An Evening of Chamber Music" on Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. Featuring Rudy Kremer on violin, Marylene Gingras Roy on viola, David Premo on cello and Susan Spelius Dunning on piano performing Mendelssohn's D minor trio and Brahms' G minor piano quartet.

· "Classical Guitar Recital" on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. featuring the young Swedish virtuoso Mattias Jacobssen performing Spanish and Latin classical guitar music.

· "Classical Piano: An Evening of Russian Music" on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. Featuring Peter Henderson and Susan Spelius Dunning on two pianos performing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1.

· "A Gershwin Celebration" on Wednesday, March 10, at 8 p.m. Featuring baritone Zachary Prince, R.L. Rowsey on piano and Susan Spelius Dunning on piano performing Gershwin songs, classical preludes and "Rhapsody in Blue."

· All performances will take place at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum. A Meet the Artists reception will take place in the lobby after each concert. Tickets are $120 for the series. Individual tickets for general seating are $35 and for students $15. For details, call 725-5807 or visit svwas.org.




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