The Moab Music Festival was founded in 1992 by New York based musicians Michael Barrett, pianist/conductor and violist Leslie Tomkins. On a rare vacation, the husband and wife team fell in love with the red rocks of Moab, and were inspired to combine the magical landscape with the joys of music-making. “Starting a music festival seemed like the perfect way to make sure we would return again and again.” says Tomkins.
Now in its 22nd year of “music in concert with the landscape”, the award- winning Moab Music Festival is noted for its distinctive programming, superb performances and intimate concert experiences of chamber music, traditional, jazz, Latin and music of living composers. The 16 concerts of the 2014 season are held in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues around Moab, with the Festival’s signature events, the Grotto Concerts taking place in a pristine wilderness grotto 30 miles down the Colorado River, reached by jet boat. A 4 day / 3 night Musical Raft Trip through Cataract Canyon immediately follows the Festival.
The Moab Music Festival, from its inception, has been committed to music education and cultural enrichment in the Moab area. It has an annual goal of reaching all children in the Grand County Schools, providing assemblies with visiting musicians for students during the Festival. Educational experiences for interested music lovers of all ages are also provided at other times of the year through an artist-in-residence program.
“Moab’s two-weekend celebration offers a sophisticated exhibition of musical talent. Although I don’t know Tchaikovsky from Brahms, the beauty of this festival is that I don’t have to. It’s about what you feel when the music starts, not about what you know. The combination of music – whether it’s chamber music or jazz ensemble – set against the canyonlands background is, in a word, stirring….as a first-timer, I can’t help feeling as if I’ve discovered the keys to some magic kingdom. At dusk sets in, poignant melodies become the soundtrack to a world-class sunset.”
Denver Magazine 5280
The Festival is governed by a Board of Trustees and managed by a small professional staff, supported by enthusiastic community volunteers, housing donors and advertisers. Recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization, the Festival is funded through ticket revenues and contributions from individuals, foundations, local businesses and grants from local, State and Federal agencies.