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Bravo! Big Sky Music Festival returns for its 11th year

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Renowned harpist Abigail Kent is among the featured artists for the Bravo! festival. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY.

THE ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY

BIG SKY – The Arts Council of Big Sky is pleased to present the 11th annual Bravo! Big Sky Music Festival on August 5-6. The festival, formerly called the Big Sky Classical Music Festival, brings some of the best classical and crossover musicians to Big Sky for two nights of world-class performances.

The festival kicks off with a double-header ticketed concert at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Friday, August 5, with a 4 p.m. performance from the two-time Grammy-winning choir, The Crossing. Conducted by Donald Nally, The Crossing has performed at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, among dozens of others, and has performed over 100 commissioned world premieres of music by contemporary composers. For this concert, the group will present work by vocalist and composer Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond, who has previously performed with David Byrne and the Decemberists. 

Immediately after this performance there will be a reception with food and drink, followed by an Artist Panel and Conversation on the WMPAC stage. Moderated by WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle, the panel will feature Donald Nally, Shara Nova, Big Sky Festival Orchestra conductor Peter Bay and violinist Angella Ahn.

Following the discussion, renowned harpist Abigail Kent and Friends will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. This all-star ensemble will feature solo harp pieces, along with selections from Debussy and Ravel. In addition to Kent, the group features Angella Ahn (violin), Eugena Chang (cello), Alexandra Osborne (violin), Chi-Chi Bestmann (viola), and Immanuel Davis (flute), and Chris Kirkpatrick (clarinet). Tickets for both Friday shows are now on sale and can be purchased at warrenmillerpac.org. The Reception and discussion is included with either ticket purchase, and there is a discount for purchasing tickets for both concerts.

“This is a world-class group of musicians that were assembled just for this concert,” said Brian Hurlbut, ACBS Executive Director. “As an added treat we are thrilled to partner with the WMPAC to offer a special performance with the Crossing and Shara Nova. It’s bound to be a magical night of music.”

On Saturday there will be a free concert in Len Hill Park in the Big Sky Town Center. First up will be a performance from the Big Sky Festival String Orchestra, playing pieces from Ralph Vaugh Williams and Eric Funk, along with Germaine Tailleferre’s Concertino for Harp with guest soloist Abigail Kent. The second half of the performance will feature Beethoven’s spectacular Symphony No. 7, with its stunning second movement. The orchestra will once again be conducted by Peter Bay, who is the Music Director and Conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Bay has appeared with over 80 different orchestras all over the world. In 1994, he was one of two conductors selected to participate in the Leonard Bernstein American Conductors Program. He was the first prize winner of the 1980 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Young Conductors Competition and a prize winner of the 1987 Leopold Stokowski Competition sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra. He was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in May 2016.

Closing the Saturday evening performance will be Gypsy jazz sensations the Rhythm Future Quartet. This acoustic jazz ensemble has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding in today’s musical universe. The virtuosic foursome, named for a Django Reinhardt tune, offers up a newly minted sound, influenced by the classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw upon diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of a vital musical genre.

Len Hill park will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and the orchestra will start at 6 followed by the Rhythm Future Quartet at 8. Admission is free, and there will be food and beverage vendors on site.

For more information about the festival please visit bigskyarts.org.

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august, 2022

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