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Colorado River Grotto Concert Site                      Photo: Neal Herbert
Three Weekends of Adventurous Programs Featuring Mini Operas, A Rarely-Heard French Piano Masterpiece, and Tango with Paquito D'Rivera

August 28 to September 13, 2008


The getaway, the retreat - time out is a necessity, but what do you require from your trip? Allow us to propose this brief checklist: natural beauty, cultural enrichment, and good company. Now throw in an opportunity to hear world class music, including a Western premiere in historic Star Hall, a fabulous spa, some of the country's best hiking, biking and 4X4 trails, and charming shops and restaurants, and you've got the makings of the perfect sanctuary: the MOAB MUSIC FESTIVAL.

For its 16th season, August 28 to September 13, the 2008 Festival truly presents “music in concert with the landscape, as many of the performances take place in spectacular outdoor venues along the Colorado River and in other indoor and spectacular outdoor sites. As CBS Sunday Morning raved, it's a perfect way of combining music with the land's ancient beauty.


In planning for the season ahead, co-founder and Music Director Michael Barrett is calling upon the talents of over 30 world-class artists to perform works ranging from the classical masters to contemporary surprises, from Latin instrumentals to the magic of the fiddle and pipes. According to Barrett, The quality of our artists creates a musical experience that truly rivals the splendor of our surroundings. Everyone who loves music of any kind will find something to savor in our 16th season.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND (August 29 - September 1):

Weekend 1 highlights include the first of three of the Festival's signature Colorado River benefit concerts on Thursday August 28, when piano virtuoso Christopher Taylor will perform the mighty Vingt Regards sur l'enfant Jésus by Olivier Messiaen, a work which the composer described as a joy which is for me an ecstasy, an intoxication in the most liberated sense of the term.

The next night, Friday, August 29, on the stunning grounds of Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River, the Festival officially opens with an evening of chamber music by George Frideric Handel and Bohuslav Martinu performed by an all-star MOAB MUSIC FESTIVAL ensemble including violinists Tim Fain and Karen Gomyo, violist and Festival co-director Leslie Tomkins, cellist Edward Arron, and pianist Christopher Taylor.

Red Cliffs is also the location on Saturday, August 30, when Latin jazz great Paquito D'Rivera will lead his stellar ensemble in an exhilarating tango concert. The weekend wraps up on Labor Day, with a festival favorite -- the free Rocky Mountain Power Family Picnic concert in Old City Park, on Monday, September 1, where picnickers will hear Early 20th Century Popular Songs, piano rags, Latin selections and more, featuring D’Rivera and the dazzling team of pianist William Bolcom and mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.

WEEKEND II (September 4 - September 7):

The second Colorado River Benefit concert, launching Weekend 2 on Thursday, September 4, features Cesar Franck's towering Quintet for Piano and Strings f minor and the honeyed clarinet of the brilliant (New York Times) Derek Bermel in his own Thracian Sketches for solo Clarinet and Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Sonata Op. 120 No. 2 in E-flat Major.

Twin concerts featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-in-residence William Bolcom make up the electrifying center of the weekend. The Western Premiere of a pair of charming “pocket” operas in English based on Italian farce takes place on Friday, September 5. Lucrezia by Bolcom and Bastianello by Festival favorite John Musto will be sung by an outstanding cast of New York Festival of Song artists: soprano Lisa Vroman, tenor Paul Appleby, baritone Patrick Mason, and bass Matthew Boehler.

A lively evening on Saturday, September 6 at the Festival Tent at Onion Creek at the stunning Fisher Towers features rags by Scott Joplin, Darius Milhaud's Saudates do Brazil and Derek Bermel's Soul Garden for String Sextet featuring violist Leslie Tomkins, and Bolcom's own Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano In Memory of Joe Venuti, and Clarinet Concerto performed by clarinetist Bermel. Other artists for the weekend include pianist David Shimoni, violinists Maria Bachmann and Ayano Ninomiya, and cellists Alexis Pia Gerlach and Tanya Tomkins.

Rounding out the weekend is what has become a much-loved event at the Festival, one of our intimate House Concerts, offering a night of luminous chamber music with a Castle Valley sunset for a backdrop on Sunday, September 7, featuring Johannes Brahms Trio in a minor for Clarinet, Cello and Piano and Felix Mendelssohn‘s Quintet in A Major for Two Violins, Two Violas and Cello for Strings with violinists Maria Bachmann and Ayano Ninomiya, cellists Alexis Pia Gerlach and Tanya Tomkins, violists Leslie Tomkins and LP How and clarinetist Bermel.

On Wednesday, September 10 Pianist and Professor Paul Hersh and masterful violinist Axel Strauss team up at Star Hall to share with audiences their inimitable, in-depth insights before they perform Beethoven’s first and last Sonatas for Violin and Piano

WEEKEND III (September 11 - 13):

The final weekend of the MOAB MUSIC FESTIVAL begins with the last of the three glorious grotto concerts, on Thursday, September 11. Audiences cruise to the wilderness grotto by jet boat and delight in the pleasure of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Sonata Op. 102 in D-Major for Cello and Piano and Maurice Ravel‘s Trio in a minor for Violin, Cello and Piano performed by volinist Strauss, cellist Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian

On Friday morning, September 12 at 10AM, is the sold-out event that made its debut last season and was a hit with audiences -- the free Musical Walk. Hikers will be taken down a trail to a “secret location concert hall and be treated to the unaccompanied violin and cello sonatas of Bach performed by violinist Jesse Mills and cellist Tanya Tomkins on September 12 at 10am.

Completing the weekend are two evenings at Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa. Friday, September 12 features a rollicking evening of fine traditional artistry with long-time Festival favorites fiddle player Paul Woodiel and Christopher Layer on pipes and flutes. And on Saturday, September 13, watch the sun set over the red rock landscape as the 16th Season of the Moab Music Festival closes with an evening of spectacular chamber music including Mozart's Sonata in D Major for two pianos, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor, and Antonin Dvorak's beloved Quintet for piano and strings performed by violinists Axel Strauss and Jesse Mills, violists Paul Hersh and Leslie Tomkins, cellist Tanya Tomkins, and pianists Michael Barrett and Eric Zivian.

For tickets or more information, go to the Moab Music Festival’s website
Purchase tickets by phone at (435) 259- 7003 or at the Festival office at 58 East 300 South, Moab, Utah 84532.



To list an upcoming event please contact


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