A collaboration in music

The front of the Browning Center building.

World-class musicians came together for the 15th anniversary of the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival held at Weber State University. It was a three-day concert series on Sept. 14-17 in the Allred Theater.

This was the first time since the pandemic that the festival was back to normal with its three days of concerts. Only the finale was broadcast in hopes to encourage people to attend in person.

World-class musicians from Italy, Armenia, Brazil and the U.S. came to create the festival and to share their music with audience members.

Having the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival at WSU was a big opportunity. Jeffrey LaDeur, a pianist in the U.S, said any one of these performances could have been performed on the world stages.

Established and well-known musicians played in the concerts sharing their passion for the music they love.

“We are fortunate here in Ogden to have such world outstanding musicians,” Robert Harris, an audience member, said.

Viktor Uzur, artistic director for Bonneville Chamber Music, invites these musicians who might not know each other in hopes they will collaborate and inspire each other.

The music festival is different from the performing groups. Musicians arrived two days before the first concert and had their first rehearsal the day before. They had one day to prepare, meet and learn how the others play before performing to an audience.

LaDeur likes a smaller number of rehearsals because when there are many, they rehearse until every small detail is figured out. With a smaller amount, they can all be focused and have fun living in the moment.

During the performance, audience members never would’ve guessed that the musicians had only a few days before the concerts.

Uzur said there is a “spark” that is in chamber music compared to performing groups.
“When it comes to the performers, the energy and the reaction between them is so alive.”

Audience members could see that spark. The musicians showed their passion for their art and played off each other during the performances.

Yulia Goff, an audience member, loved seeing how the musicians at this level played with each other and how alive they were.

The musicians could also feel that spark between them. They played off each other, giving encouraging smiles and moving to the music.

“You come knowing the piece, but the piece itself takes a life of its own with these other people,” LaDeur said. “Because we’re all playing the same notes, when you come together and develop an interpretation, then it’s alive and it’s something different.”

The first night of the concert was performed by the Fry Street Quartet, who are based in Logan. The second night of the concert had a solo performance by Suren Bagratuni, an Armenian cello player. Bagratuni had audience members lost in the music with his performance of J.S. Bach.

The second night ended with the showing of the 1927 Buster Keaton silent movie “College,” with the soundtrack played by the musicians.

“I love how they incorporated jazz music, then transitioned into classical and then folk tunes,” Abby Andersen, an audience member, said. “I thought it was ingenious how they combined it all and then turned it into a score for a movie.”

During the movie, the musicians hoped the audience would collaborate with them, to help make the experience memorable. Audience members were laughing, making remarks and booing when the villain came on screen.

Yu-Jane Yang, director of keyboard studies at WSU and audience member, said the live music added to the experience of the movie.

For the finale, there was a string duet and a solo by Fábio Zanon, a Brazilian guitarist, who shared classic Latin music with the audience. The night ended with a piano quintet that highlighted each of the instruments played.

The musicians let the instruments sing. LeDeur and Zanon didn’t travel with their instrument and had to use a different instrument. Both had to find the way the instruments wanted to play and sing.

By the end of the concert, audience members were on their feet giving standing ovations.

Audience members who attended all three concerts could feel the energy and collaboration between the musicians and the audience grow throughout each performance.

The Bonneville Chamber Music Festival brought musicians together to collaborate and inspire each other while also bringing the audience members along by sharing inspiring music and allowing the audience members to participate with the music.