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August 2018

Far-Flung Pianos: Distant Steinways Tell Diverse Stories

Piano Care on a Rugged Trail: At the Moab Music Festival, located at the gateway to Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands national parks, three chamber music concerts are held each summer in a red-rock grotto on the banks of the Colorado River. Before each performance, a Steinway Model B is transported to the secret location by jet boat. Operations Director Dave Montgomery says that the move starts before dawn, when a team of six to nine workers load the tightly-wrapped instrument onto the boat from a launch site forty-five minutes upstream. 

August 2018

The Moab Music Festival is a Feast for the Senses

I turn down a dirt road off Highway 128, the serpentine Scenic Byway along the Colorado River that ends in Moab, Utah. Eroded red sandstone cliffs jut out of the landscape; a rock formation known as the Priest and Nuns looms on the right. It’s the kind of road I’ve traveled for years here on my way to mountain-biking trails. Fifteen minutes later, I’m standing on a shaded patio, sipping a glass of rosé and chatting with virtuoso jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, the evening’s performer, and Jamie Bernstein (daughter of Leonard)...

July 2018

No mountain-town summer is complete without live music. While concert series abound in Park City, you need to venture just a short distance to partake in Utah’s summer festival scene. Here are a few nearby music festivals to add to your summertime calendar. 

August 2009

“Grotto concert kicks off Moab Music Festival”
The Moab Music Festival launches its 17th season Sept. 3 with one of its iconic grotto concerts along the Colorado River.

August 2009

The Moab Music Festival showcases southern Utah's spectacular canyonlands in ways mountain biking never could. Julie Dugdale writes, “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 its chamber music or a jazz ensemble—set against the canyonlands background is, in a word, stirring.”

August 2008

As the Moab Music Festival's 16th season approached, USA Today exclaimed " If climbing, hiking, river-rafting, mountain-biking and the scenery in Arches National Park aren't enough to draw you to Moab, here's another reason to visit: three weekends of music - [at] The Moab Music Festival..."

August 2008

Writing for Smithsonian Magazine, Jamie Bernstein (daughter of American legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, and frequent guest performer) provides a glimpse into the magic of the Moab Music Festival. “With its stunning red rocks, the area around Moab is an adventurer's paradise…But when the summer heat tapers off around Labor Day, the region becomes an extraordinary concert hall for world-class musicians…Music lovers hear anew some of world's best classical music as it resonates off the rocks or finds acoustical purity in the dead silence of the remote settings.” Visit Smithsonian Magazine to read Bernstein’s big picture of this most unique venue.

September 2004

In Nature's Own Concert Hall, Sound Is Forever
It is a rare music festival that requires patrons to sign a risk waiver as they purchase tickets, writes Mindy Sink in the NY Times, but that is one of the peculiarities of the Moab Music Festival, which takes the idea of outdoor concerts to the extreme by ferrying musicians, guests and instruments - including a Steinway grand piano - 15 miles along the Colorado River for a late afternoon performance in a towering red-rock grotto. The festival neatly combines culture with the area's reputation for adventure travel. It's the rare natural acoustics of the grotto that attracts musicians from all over.”

Nestled along the Colorado River and wedged between the Arches and Canyonlands national parks, the town of Moab mostly draws visitors in search of extremes. Mountain bikers test their mettle on the bone-jarring Slickrock Trail; off-road 4x4s with outlandishly big tires crawl up petrified sand dunes; flocks of Cessnas drop skydivers over the baking-hot desert. Yet for two weeks a year, this adrenaline-fueled town makes room for a small crowd of classical-music lovers and out-of-town musicians who come here for a series of concerts that explore more subtle extremes of intimacy with nature—and silence.