San Juan Chamber MusicFest
The San Juan Chamber MusicFest, our flagship event, features a small group of musicians of international renown, under the artistic direction of pianist Max Levinson, producing a number of concerts and events throughout Ouray County over the course of a week each August.
MusicFest concerts showcase the full repertoire of chamber music classics by the great composers, as well as more contemporary and lesser-known pieces.
Levinson, as artistic director, is a constant presence at MusicFest with his sparkling piano virtuosity. The San Francisco Chronicle has proclaimed him “one of the brightest, most intellectually fearless pianists of his generation.”
Each year, Levinson selects several guest musicians to perform with him at MusicFest. This year’s guest musicians are Harumi Rhodes, violin; Marcus Thompson, viola; Allison Eldredge, cello; and apprentice artist Hea Su (Christy) Cho, violin.
Concerts for our 2016 season include:
- “Musical Postcards”, a Classical Café with music depicting different places in the world, featuring the Dvorak “American” Quartet, Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center;
- “Russian Soul”, a Festival Concert featuring the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, Friday, Aug. 5 at the Wright Opera House;
- A free Family Concert, Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Wright Opera House;
- “Child’s Play”, a Montrose Concert featuring music by or about young people, including Schumann Scenes from Childhood, Stravinsky “Divertimento” (based on “The Fairy’s Kiss” by Hans Christian Anderson), and works by Mendelssohn and/or Mozart written when they were teenagers, Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Montrose Methodist Church;
- “Schubertiade”, a Salon Dinner Concert on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at a lovely private home in Pleasant Valley.
Max Levinson – Artistic Director, Piano
Pianist Max Levinson is known as an intelligent and sensitive artist with a fearless technique. The Washington Post writes, “You can hear gasps in the audience – Max Levinson displays technical wizardry. His playing has solid, assured technique, clarity of vision and a sense of the permanent values in music that underlie surface variations.” He has performed widely as soloist throughout the US, Canada, and Europe.
Levinson is a graduate of Harvard and the New England Conservatory, receiving an Artist Diploma and the Gunther Schuller Medal. His teachers include Patricia Zander, Aube Tzerko and Bruce Sutherland. An active chamber musician, Levinson has collaborated with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman, the Tokyo , Vermeer, Mendelssohn, and Borromeo Quartets, and regularly appears at major music festivals including Santa Fe , Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Killington, and Switzerland ‘s Davos Festival.
He is currently on the faculty at Boston Conservatory and Brown University and is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Boston with his wife, cellist Allison Eldredge, and their daughters Natalie and Jessica.
Harumi Rhodes – Violin
Acclaimed by the New York Times as a “deeply expressive violinist,” Harumi Rhodes has gained broad recognition as a multifaceted musician with a distinct and sincere musical voice. Her generosity of spirit on stage is contagious, making her one of the most sought after violinists and chamber musicians of her generation.
She is a founding member of the Naumburg Award–winning ensemble, Trio Cavatina, one of today’s leading piano trios.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Rhodes has been a participant at many notable music festivals. After completing her residency with Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, Ms. Rhodes was appointed as an Artist Member of the Boston Chamber Music Society where she performs regularly at Sanders Theater at Harvard University and Kresge Hall at MIT.
Ms. Rhodes is also a frequent solo performer, and is a member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), a conductor-less chamber orchestra made up of world-class chamber musicians and soloists.
An avid supporter of contemporary music, she is deeply committed to the process of commissioning and premiering new music.
Ms. Rhodes attended The Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory. Her principal teachers have been Shirley Givens, Earl Carlyss, Ronald Copes and Donald Weilerstein. She has served as Head of Strings and Chamber Music at Syracuse University, Assistant Violin Faculty at the Juilliard School, and was most recently appointed Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall of 2015.
Marcus Thompson – Viola
A brilliant violist who has been heralded for “major mastery of his instrument” and called “the complete interpreter,” Marcus Thompson is indeed a remarkable violist.
Since his exciting and heralded New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1968, Mr. Thompson has continued to delight audiences with his wide breadth of repertoire spanning four centuries on both the viola and viola d’amore as concert soloist, recitalist, and in chamber music.
Born in New York’s South Bronx, Marcus Thompson began violin studies at the age of six. At fourteen, he continued violin with Louise Behrend at Juilliard Pre-College, and later attended The Juilliard School where he studied viola. Ten years later he was awarded Juilliard’s first doctoral degree following studies with Walter Trampler.
Mr. Thompson has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Czech National Symphony. In recital, Mr. Thompson has appeared in series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and other notable venues.
His recordings include the standard and the unusual – ranging from Bartok concertos to the premiere recording of Frank Martin’s Sonata da Chiesa for Viola d’Amore and Strings.
In addition to his busy performing career, Mr. Thompson serves as a member of the Viola Faculty at New England Conservatory of Music, and as the Robert R. Taylor Professor of Music and a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he founded performance programs in private studies and chamber music.
Allison Eldredge – Cello
Allison Eldredge, cello, is a recipient of the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and Musical America’s “Young Artist of the Year” Award.
The Chicago Tribune heralded her as “a musician of remarkable gifts” and the Chicago Tribune hailed her as “a cellist afraid of nothing.”
Other distinctions include a critically-acclaimed sold-out debut as soloist at Carnegie Hall, a special performance in tribute to cellist Pablo Casals at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, a guest invitation as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and a command performance at the White House.
Ms. Eldredge has been the featured soloist of orchestral tours throughout Great Britain with the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields and has made four tours of Israel with the Haifa Symphony. She toured Russia for performances with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov, which culminated in a nationally televised gala concert, at the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall. We are delighted to have Allison back to the SJCMF once again.
Heasu Christy Cho – Violin
A rising star in the world of classical music, Heasu Christy Cho joins the San Juan Chamber MusicFest this year as an apprentice artist.
Ms. Cho was born in Korea 1996. She studied with Stephen Larsen and Natalia Lomeiko in New Zealand, and spent her freshman year at Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute with a full scholarship. She is currently completing her sophomore year with Soovin Kim at the New England Conservatory.
Among Ms. Cho’s numerous accolades, she took 1st Place in violin at the Korea Heyri National Music Competition in 2012, and won the Grand Prize in violin at the Korean Music Contest in 2008. In 2010, she played Mendelssohn’s Concerto in e-minor Op. 64 and the Bach Concerto for 2 Violins in d-minor with the Incheon Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.