GUEST APPEARANCE: The Geneva Music Festival ends with star concerts | Entertainment

The Geneva Music Festival concluded its last concerts of the 2022 season penultimate weekend. From May 20 to June 12, he brought a group of world-class musicians to perform in front of city audiences for eight concerts.

In total, the festival attracted over 1,000 spectators and involved 450 children in outreach programs and free community concerts.

It included a gem of a concert, the Montrose Trio performance on June 9, with piano trios by Schubert and Mendelssohn. It was a great deep dive into the contrasting moods and characteristics that different composers can bring to the same art form.

Jon Kimura Parker, the trio’s pianist, said of the selections: “The Montrose Trio really wanted to present two substantial masterpieces in this program. We thought it would be a good contrast to some of the other programs that we knew would be more likely to have shorter works in different combinations. Schubert and Mendelssohn each wrote two stunning piano trios, and playing one of each felt right to me.

It is rare, in adulthood, to encounter such wonder and freshness, like going to a concert for the very first time. This is what the Montrose Trio is able to create for its audience. Even listening live, stuck at home with COVID-19, from the first notes their playing was absolutely spellbinding. They play with such finesse and connection – both with the music and with each other – and with such obvious pleasure, even within the stylistic constraints that chamber music imposes on its performers.

“We like to play together as a trio,” added Parker. “Our secret weapon is that Martin and Clive have played together in the world famous Tokyo String Quartet for 10 years, so have an amazing experience playing together. Our schedules don’t allow for a lot of touring, but when we play together it makes me always seems magical.

It was certainly magical for the audience.

The last star chamber concert on June 11 was also a treat. It featured Parker — an Officer of the Order of Canada — and Clive Greensmith of Montrose, as well as festival director Geoffrey Herd and several other talented GMF artists in residence. The varied program and varied permutations of musicians led to a highly engaging musical evening themed loosely in American-influenced classical compositions – a fitting finale to the theme of this year’s New Beginnings festival.

Selections included a piano quintet by Florence Price; a masterful rendition for solo piano of Chick Corea’s composition, “Got a Match?”, which Parker first learned by ear; Samuel Barber’s harrowing Adagio; a Dvořák Piano Quartet in E flat major; and William Grant Still’s “Danzas de Panama”, embellished with percussive techniques.

Hannah Collins, the cellist who has played in the ‘Danzas de Panama’ and the Dvořák Piano Quartet, and who has won both the Presser Music Award and the De Linkprijs, said: “This year’s festival line-up was a wonderful combination of returning musicians and GMF newbies like Jon Kimura Parker and Grace Park, who have created wonderful opportunities for new musical relationships and friendships. As a Genevan, playing at the Geneva Music Festival is always a highlight of my year because it allows me to share the music I love with my family and friends in this community. Geneva is a very special place with so much energy for music and the performing arts.

The violist of the evening, Ettore Causa, added: “I had a really wonderful time at the GMF, with the most wonderful colleagues, it was absolutely enchanting to play with them and we had a lot of fun together. This is my third time in Geneva and I must say that during all this time I have met a lot of kind people, I have also enjoyed many charming restaurants and cafes and last but not least the beautiful views of the lake.”

Causa is on the Yale faculty and has received a number of prestigious accolades for his work.

Every musician I spoke to commented on the warmth and friendliness they found in Geneva, and the community the festival forges among its musicians.

“Festivals thrive when the community supports the artistic vision of their artistic director,” Parker said. “I feel like the GMF audience passionately believes in Geoffrey Herd’s programming and vision, making it a unique experience for everyone.”

If you missed any of the concerts, you can still enjoy the festival artists performing at the Smith Opera House via the Digital Concert Hall. Buy your tickets at GenevaMusicFestival.com. Season ticket holders who wish to relive the highlights of the Festival can also find the concerts broadcast live on the GMF website. Live recordings will be available on the GMF website for two weeks.

In all the fun the festival had to offer, it would be remiss not to also mention GMF’s major corporate sponsors this season – Banque Nationale de Lyon, which has been a valued season sponsor for several years, and Banque Generations, a new godfather. To learn more about FMGs or to volunteer next year, visit https://genevamusicfestival.com/.

Emily Grazier is a freelance writer and editor living in Geneva. She is the public relations editor for the Fête Musicale de Genève.