There are outdoor concerts and then there are concerts in the outdoors. The Moab Music Festival is an event that has perfectly combined music with the surrounding landscape and invites guests to come along for one-of-a-kind performances.
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Where will the sounds of music take travelers in 2018? The destination may depend on your favorite song, but whether that means jazz, Afropunk, rock or another rhythm entirely, there’s definitely a place to go.
Moab Music Festival celebrates a century of Leonard Bernstein: As the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth approaches in August 2018, Michael Barrett is doing what he can to keep the great American composer-conductor-pianist’s memory alive.
“It’s bittersweet for me. There’s a whole generation that has grown up in his absence,” said Barrett, who was Bernstein’s assistant and rehearsal pianist for seven years, up until the legendary maestro‘s death in 1990, and has been a musical adviser to the Bernstein family since then. “People kind of forget who he was,” Barrett said. “A kid might know ‘West Side Story,’ but there’s already a remove. It’s nice to be able to share all the music of someone who was like my musical father … with younger people and show them what’s so wonderful about it.”
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Twenty-five years ago, violinist Leslie Tomkins and her pianist/conductor husband Michael Barrett took a rare vacation to Moab. Like so many before them, they fell in love with the red rock and the magical landscape of southeastern Utah, and decided to pay homage to the breath taking surrounding by adding to it the joys of music-making. And so in 1992, they created the Moab Music Festival.
It’s possible to hear chamber music in some pretty unorthodox settings these days, but few blend the intimacy of the concert hall with the expansive freedom of the outdoors as well as this Utah festival.
From violin solos amid the red rock to Latin jazz in a concert hall, here are some of the sights from the first weekend of the Moab Music Festival, with its 24th season running through Monday, Sept. 12, in locations in and around the scenic southern Utah town.