Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Italians play for Sun Valley

Sun Valley Artist Series to present Italian quartet

Express Staff Writer

The Italian Saxophone Quartet will play the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum on Friday, March 25. Courtesy photo

The Sun Valley Artist Series will present a classical and contemporary music recital by the Italian Saxophone Quartet. The foursome of Federico Mondelci on soprano sax, Marco Gerboni on alto sax, Mario Marzi on tenor sax and Massimo Mazzoni on baritone sax will play a concert at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum on Friday, March 25, at 7 p.m.

A meet-the-artists reception will take place in the lobby after the performance. Tickets are $37, available at Iconoclast Books and Chapter One bookstore in Ketchum or online at

The Italian Saxophone Quartet will perform classical pieces and contemporary works that include blues, jazz and tango. The musicians were described by the Roman news website Messaggero Veneto as "a scintillating whirlwind of a performance ... jaw-dropping virtuosity." Four-time Grammy Award-winning composer Joe Harnell said, "Never before have I heard anything quite as wonderful."

The diverse program selected for the group's Sun Valley debut covers a wide range of composers, genres and musical eras with the four instruments of the saxophone family. Each saxophone presents a complementary pitch. The early works in the program by Bach, Scarlatti and Mozart predate the saxophone and have been transcribed for saxophone by various musicians, including Gabriel Pierné and Salvatore Sciarrino.

"Think you don't like saxophone quartets?" wrote the Monterey Peninsula Herald. "Oh, my—think again!"

The second half of the show will include more modern works with blues, jazz and tango selections, including pieces by George Gershwin and Scott Joplin. Other pieces will include works created by lesser-known but nevertheless innovative and talented composers including Spanish saxophonist Pedro Iturralde, Argentine jazz composer Javier Girotto, Argentine tango musician and composer Anibal Troilo and a third Argentine tango composer, Astor Piazzolla. Piazzolla is known for his development of "nuevo tango," a form distinct from traditional tango in its use of counterpoint, extended harmonies, dissonance and various elements of jazz.

The Sun Valley Artist Series will conclude its winter season on Saturday, April 30, with the St. Petersburg String Quartet. Susan Spelius Dunning's concert, originally scheduled for Jan. 8, has been rescheduled for July 17 as part of a Sun Valley Artist Series fundraising event at the Sun Valley Pavilion. All tickets sold for Dunning's Jan. 8 concert will be honored at this event.

For details, call 725-5807 or visit

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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