By GRANT R. MADSEN
A trio of accomplished musicians will be performing a free concert Friday at 8 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center, as part of the summer season of the Utah Music Festival.
Performing at the concert will be the principal pianist of the Detroit Symphony, Robert Conway; cellist and president of the festival, Eric Samuels; and co-founder of the festival, flutist Alison Griffiths, stated a news release.
This is Conway’s third year with the festival.
“Our trio will be performing a variety of delightful pieces,” Conway said. “There will be two more serious pieces by Beethoven and Prokofiev, and three lyrical and delightful pieces by Bach, Poulenc and the nationalist Martinu.”
Conway said he is excited to perform for the Provo audience.
“I look forward to coming down to the university and playing,” he said. “The pieces we will be performing contain a variety of colors. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.”
One of the festival’s goals is to help chamber music become more popular, said Samuels, who is also the festival’s founder.
“We want to put a friendly face on chamber music,” he said. “We want people that would regularly attend a rock or country concert come and say, ‘Chamber music is good, too.'”
Samuels said he hopes the price will attract a large crowd.
“Normally you’d be paying $15 a ticket to attend a performance like this. I think people will be more willing to take a chance on something that’s free,” he said.
Those that wish to attend the concert should not feel like they have to dress up, Samuels said.
“We might have white jackets and a bow tie on, but the audience should come and be comfortable,” he said. “That’s the attitude of the whole festival.”
The Utah Music Festival began five years ago and is patterned after the Marlboro Festival held in Vermont, Samuels said.
Professional musicians, university professors and students all participate and perform in the festival.
“Professional musicians tutor students that come to the festival to receive one-on-one training at a lower cost than they would normally have to pay,” Samuels said. “It’s like having your own personal tutor.”
The festival tries to attract as many Utah musicians as possible, Samuels said.
“We’ve been delighted to have some of the wonderful BYU faculty come and participate in the festival,” he said. “There are great people at BYU. They help in fulfilling our goal of having more of our people from in-state.”
Students, normally those in college that are considering music as a profession, pay a fee to be part of the festival, Samuels said. Some of the fees are covered by scholarships or subsidized by outside foundations or businesses, he said.
“People are very generous to help with the festival. This year’s main supporters are the George E. & Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, First Security Bank and Maverik Country Stores,” Samuels said. “We couldn’t do the festival without their help.”
The community support is a big element of success for the festival, Samuels said. The festival is opened to the community through free concerts and workshops in which people may enroll.
Samuels said growth is a long-term vision for the festival.
“We’d eventually like to develop a year-round influence,” Samuels said. “We are excited to perform and want everyone to come be a part of it.”