Dinner concert at 320 Ranch and riverside benefit for Montana Land Reliance

EBS Staff

The Montana Chamber Music Society will bring two nights of powerful and inviting ensemble music to Big Sky this July as a part of the 29th annual Montana Chamber Music Festival. Members of the Grammy Award-winning Muir String Quartet will play under the accompaniment of three other internationally acclaimed musicians in different configurations and settings each night.

Friday, July 14, the musicians will perform the annual Strings Under the Big Sky chamber music dinner concert in the banquet hall at the 320 Ranch, following the festival’s opening concert on July 13 at Montana State University’s Reynolds Hall. This year, the Strings Under the Big Sky concert features more than just strings. Muir String Quartet violinists Peter Zazofsky and Lucia Lin will be joined by Bill Scharnberg on horn, Kathleen Reynolds on bassoon, and cellist Sara Stalnaker.

The musicians will perform a program featuring three works by composers Messaien, Danzi and Martinu. Hors d’oeuvres are at 5 p.m., with dinner following at 6 p.m. The concert will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Reservations are required. For more information visit stringsunderthebigsky.org.

The Muir String Quartet, long acknowledged as one of the world’s most powerful and insightful ensembles, began making annual trips to Bozeman in 1990, ultimately initiating the Montana Chamber Music Festival. In 1997, the Big Sky Association for the Arts brought these musicians to Big Sky for the first time where, undaunted by cool weather, they performed in the Big Sky Community Park. They returned two years later in 1999 and again in 2005 after a successful fundraising concert event in 2001.

The now yearly chamber concerts in Big Sky were given the name Strings Under the Big Sky in 2008 and have repeatedly raised funds to support the music program at Ophir and Lone Peak High School, raising more than $60,000 to support the arts at both schools.

Following the Strings Under the Big Sky performance, the Muir Quartet will perform in its entirety at Confluence: A Musical Celebration of Open Space on Saturday, July 15, as a special benefit event for MCMS and Montana Land Reliance. Held at the picturesque Kelly Ranch near Four Corners, this musical event celebrates the confluence of majestic open landscapes and fine music in Montana.

Confluence is the first of several events to commemorate MLR and celebrate the one million acres of conserved lands across the state this year.

The Muir String Quartet will play along the banks of the Gallatin River as guests enjoy fine food and beverages. The event will feature a live and silent auction, with items ranging from fishing packages on exclusive waters to fine art and music offerings. Other auction items include a private concert by Michael Reynolds of the Muir String Quartet, a Clyde Aspevig original painting and visit with the artist at his studio, “glamping” with Under Canvas near Glacier National Park, and participation in a women’s fly fishing school and outfitting with Gallatin River Guides.

The evening begins at 4 p.m. with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres followed by a live auction and the Muir String Quartet at 6 p.m.

The final performance for this year’s Montana Chamber Music Festival will be held July 16, in partnership with St. Timothy’s Summer Concerts in Georgetown Lake, Montana.

For more information about the MCMS Montana Chamber Music Festival and concerts, visit montanachambermusicsociety.org. To purchase tickets to Confluence call (406) 443-7027 or email kim@mtlandreliance.org.