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San Juan Chamber MusicFest

San Juan Chamber MusicFest

The annual San Juan Chamber MusicFest, OCPAG’s flagship event, features a small group of musicians of international renown, under the artistic direction of renowned concert pianist Max Levinson.

A SJCMF festival concert at the Wright Opera House.

Together, they produce a number of concerts and events in Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose over the course of a week each August. The dates for this year’s MusicFest have been set for Aug. 17-22! 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. Guest musicians in 2017 include Nurit Pacht, violin; Allison Eldredge, cello; Rami Vamos, classical guitar; and Jessica Pickersgill, viola.



Tickets for the Classical Cafe and Festival Concert may be purchased online. Salon tickets go on sale to the general public on July 16, and must be purchased in advance by calling Sue Hillhouse, OCPAG president, at 970-626-2970.


Meet the Musicians:

Max Levinson – Artistic Director, Piano

Max Levinson

Max Levinson

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.


Nurit Pacht – Violin

Nurit Pacht

Violinist Nurit Pacht was selected as one of the “Stars of the Year 2000” by Le Monde de la Musique and since then her career has blossomed with appearances in London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Moscow’s Great Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, The People’s Hall of China in Beijing and at Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series. Chosen by director Robert Wilson to be the featured musician in his multi-media piece Relative Light   featuring solo violin works by John Cage’s and J.S. Bach, Nurit is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the contemporary.

Last season, Nurit performed as soloist in collaboration with the dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones in one of Europe’s greatest Cathedrals, the Duomo in Milan as well as at Kennedy Center and on tour in many U.S. capitals with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company culminating in performances at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival.    She is now in her third season serving as the artistic director of the “Alliance Players,” a dynamic group of musicians who perform innovative programs in New York City.   Nurit performed in duo recitals with Philip Glass playing the composer’s works for violin and piano.


Allison Eldredge – Cello

Allison Eldredge

Allison Eldredge

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.  


Rami Vamos – Classical Guitarist, Music Educator

Rami Vamos

Rami is a performer, educator, writer and composer producing a wide array of creative output, ranging from Children’s musicals to chamber compositions. For the past ten years he has used these creations to share an appreciation of classical music with people of all ages. He is now serving as a teaching artist for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Portraying “Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry,” at the San Juan Chamber MusicFest Family Concert, Rami will delight and educate us all! He will also perform classical guitar at the Dinner Salon.

As a classical guitarist Vamos has performed extensively throughout the United States. This last year Music in The Loft in Chicago commissioned a work by Ricardo Lorenz for him to perform with the Pacifica String Quartet. He is a founding member of the Sap Dream electric guitar quartet, which performed at the Norfolk Summer Music Festival, New York Guitar Festival and at Princeton and Yale Universities. Twice a month Rami does volunteer bedside performances at hospitals throughout New York City.  


Jessica Pickersgill – Viola

Jessica Pickersgill

Violist Jessica Pickersgill’s passion of music started at a young age and has since blossomed into a genuine wish to allow others to fall in love with music though her performance. As a result she has played for audiences at home in Canada and around the world including Italy, Russia and America.

Jessica attended the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance. She then continued to expand her education and performance practice at the renowned New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, and graduated Cum Laude with a Masters in Viola Performance. Jessica has worked and studied with many world renowned musicians. Her enthusiasm for chamber music was fostered through coaching’s from eminent ensembles including The Emerson String Quartet, The Borromeo String Quartet, The St, Lawrence String Quartet and a host of others.