Wine tasting, lecture and open rehearsal added to schedule
By Brian Hurlbut Arts Council of Big Sky

BIG SKY – The second annual Big Sky Classical Music Festival is returning for three nights this summer, again bringing a broad spectrum of world-class music to the stage in the Town Center.

Hosted by the Arts Council of Big Sky, the event is Aug 10 – 12, and is free and open to the public. Each night begins at 6 p.m. with an opening ensemble featuring young regional performers.

The world-renowned Boston Brass will kick off the festival Friday, Aug. 10 with a mix of classical, jazz and brass arrangements. This lively ensemble has been together for 26 years, creating a one-of-a-kind, fun musical experience. The 11th Avenue String Quartet will open the evening.

The following night, on Saturday, Aug. 11, the award-winning Enso String Quartet will bring what the Houston Chronicle called “edge-of-the-seat vitality” to Big Sky. The young, New York-based ensemble was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for a Best Chamber Music Performance. Performing before the Enso Quartet will be the Bridger Brass Quintet, a youth ensemble from Bozeman.

The Imani Winds will close the festival on Sunday, Aug. 12. North America’s premier wind quintet, the group is also one of the most successful chamber music ensembles in the U.S. Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated group has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence with dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations and inspirational outreach programs. It’s played at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Disney Hall and Kimmel Center. Opening the show that evening will be the Montana State University Cello Ensemble.

Local composer and educator Eric Funk will again serve as the festival’s music and artistic director. A faculty member at MSU and the 2007 President’s Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, his Montana PBS-TV show “11th & Grant with Eric Funk” has won an Emmy award. During the festival, Funk will give a free lecture, “How to Enjoy Classical Music,” on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Talus Room.

Additional events include a wine tasting on Friday, Aug. 10 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Town Center Park, and an intimate open rehearsal and discussion with the Enso Quartet at 10 a.m. in the Talus Room at the Summit Hotel at Big Sky Resort.

The Big Sky Classical Music Festival is supported by funding from the Big Sky Resort Tax District, the Gilhousen Family Foundation, the Smith Family Foundation and the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation. More information is available at bigskyarts.org.