Moab Music Festival: 53 world-class musicians come to Utah and perform in breathtaking venues

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By Usa Express Daily

Sponsored: For tickets and additional information about the artists and pieces being performed, please visit or call the Moab Music Festival box office at 435.259.7003.

(Moab Music Festival, sponsored) Red Cliffs Lodge.

The Moab Music Festival is back for its 31st year, starting August 21st. Once again, the music will be set against the natural backdrop of Moab’s iconic red rocks and along the Colorado River. The festival began as a much smaller event than it is today, starting with just a few concerts each year, but has grown into a true musical force. The idea started when Co-Founder and Artistic Director Leslie Tomkins first visited Moab 35 years ago with Music Director Michael Barrett, himself a protégé of the great Leonard Bernstein.

“I was utterly entranced by the red rocks,” Tomkins says. “I wanted to somehow participate in and celebrate the incredible beauty of the landscape here. As a professional violist, I thought that playing music among the rocks would be the best way to do that.”

(Moab Music Festival, sponsored) An acoustically perfect grotto becomes a concert hall for three benefit concerts on Aug 31, Sept 7 and Sept 11.

This year, concerts will be performed by fifty-three world-class musicians, performing in twenty-three concerts, in thirteen different wilderness, outdoor and historic venues—every one as breathtaking as the next. Two of this year’s fifty-three artists include Timo Andres and Pius Cheung, who will each perform world premieres of their original compositions. Andres is a prodigious pianist with a dazzling repertoire of compositions and performances. You can see him perform this year at two concerts: New Music at Red Earth on August 24 and American Minimalism: A Retrospective on August 25, where he will unveil the world premiere of Tooth and Claw.

Cheung is hailed as one of the most important percussionists of his generation, whose compositions are internationally sought after. He will have several performances in Moab, including New Music at Red Earth on August 24 and Water World: Rivers, Bridges, Droughts, and Floods on September 3, where his world premiere will be performed. Other performers featured in the festival’s lineup are some of the best chamber musicians playing today in addition to young up-and-coming instrumentalists.

(Moab Music Festival, sponsored) World-class artists come to Moab, Utah each year to create the festival’s signature music in concert with the landscape.
Among the array of wilderness and outdoor concert venues are two Music Hikes on Sept 2 and Sept 10.

The inspiration of this year’s programming is “a musical exploration of desert landscapes with a special focus on water.” This includes water-inspired music as well as the festival’s signature concerts held on water, like the raft trips down Westwater Canyon and the San Juan River, a floating concert, and multiple concerts held on the banks of the Colorado River. A screening of the documentary film “River” is also scheduled. The water theme culminates in the Water World concert, to be opened by Howard Kennedy, a Hopi flutist and elder. Pieces dedicated to the theme of water and the surrounding Utah wilderness will include Delibes’s “The Flower Duet” from Lakmé and a reading of Terry Tempest Williams’s “Red.”

Other concerts include 100 Years of Ragtime on September 2, Hot House West Swing Orchestra on September 9, The Four Seasons According to Glass and Piazzolla on September 10, and many more.

(Moab Music Festival, sponsored) The Red Earth Venue.

“We strive to make our concerts approachable and welcoming,” says Tomkins. “All of our events are informal and intimate, and you don’t have to be a classical music buff to enjoy them. We’re the only festival in the country that has this remarkable landscape,” she continues, “and we hope every one will come and enjoy it with us.”

For tickets and additional information about the artists and pieces being performed, please visit or call the Moab Music Festival box office at 435.259.7003.

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