Ouray, CO, July 24, 2017: The Ouray County Performing Arts Guild proudly presents the 16th annual San Juan Chamber MusicFest, taking place Aug. 17-22.

The festival – OCPAG’s flagship event – features four exceptional guest musicians, under the artistic direction of concert pianist Max Levinson, producing five concerts in Ridgway, Ouray and Montrose, Colo. 

SJCMF has a stellar line-up of guest musicians this year including violinist Nurit Pacht, violist Jessica Pickersgill, cellist Allison Eldredge and classical guitarist Rami Vamos, opening up new possibilities for a huge selection of repertoire.

The San Juan Chamber MusicFest kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center with the Classical Cafe Internationale. This delightfully informal concert features a variety of classical music selections from around the world. Premium ticket holders are invited to attend a catered reception prior to the concert at 5:45 p.m.

Next on the schedule is the Festival Concert on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wright Opera House in Ouray. The program, “Fame and Obscurity”, includes Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio, solo piano music by Schubert and a trio for guitar and strings by Araciel.

On Sunday, Aug. 20 at 3 p.m., the San Juan Chamber MusicFest offers its first ever Montrose salon concert, taking place at a private home in Cobble Creek. SJCMF musicians will perform a program titled “Singing with Instruments” featuring Faure’s G minor Piano Quartet and Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata (violin and guitar arrangement). Prior to the concert, Secret Garden Catering will serve a delectable afternoon tea.

SJCMF musicians let their hair down and delight children young and old on Monday, Aug. 21 at a whimsical family concert featuring Professor Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry (aka classical guitarist and music educator Rami Vamos) at the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway at 10 a.m. Entry is by donation. 

The festival concludes with the highly anticipated Salon Dinner Concert on Tuesday, Aug. 22 from 5-8:30 p.m. This memorable concert offers the same program of chamber music that will be performed at the Montrose Salon Concert and a gourmet dinner by Secret Garden Catering at a private home in a lovely rural setting near Ridgway. 

Tickets for the SJCMF concerts are available at www.ocpag.org with the exception of salon tickets, which must be purchased in advance by calling OCPAG president Sue Hillhouse at 970-626-2970

OCPAG presents the San Juan Chamber MusicFest with generous support from the Western Colorado Community Foundation’s Dave and Mary Wood Fund, the Massard Trust, Flower Motors, Alpine Bank, Citizens State Bank, Michael Hockersmith Law, Scott Middleton Accounting and Consulting, Mountain Market of Ridgway, the Woman’s Club of Ouray County and the Carol Rieger Fund. David and Gaynelle Mize are sponsors for the Montrose Salon.

The Ouray County Performing Arts Guild is a not-for-profit organization bringing quality events in music, dance, theater and other genres to Ouray and Ridgway. Its purpose is to sponsor presentations and performers of the highest caliber in the performing arts for the enjoyment of Ouray County’s residents and visitors.


Max Levinson – Artistic Director, Piano

Pianist Max Levinson is known as an intelligent and sensitive artist with a fearless technique. The Washington Post writes, “You can hear gasps in the audience – Max Levinson displays technical wizardry. His playing has solid, assured technique, clarity of vision and a sense of the permanent values in music that underlie surface variations.” A graduate of Harvard and the New England Conservatory, Levinson has performed widely as soloist throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, and has collaborated with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman and the Tokyo, Vermeer, Mendelssohn and Borromeo quartets. He regularly appears at major music festivals including Santa Fe, Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Killington and Switzerland ‘s Davos Festival. Levinson is a faculty member at Boston Conservatory and Brown University and is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Boston with his wife, cellist Allison Eldredge, and their daughters Natalie and Jessica.

Allison Eldredge – Cello

Cellist Allison Eldredge has been heralded by the Chicago Tribune as “a musician of remarkable gifts” and “a cellist afraid of nothing.” Highlights of her dazzling career include a critically-acclaimed sold-out debut as soloist at Carnegie Hall, a special performance in tribute to cellist Pablo Casals at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, a guest invitation as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and a command performance at the White House. Eldredge has been the featured soloist of orchestral tours throughout Great Britain with the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields and has made four tours of Israel with the Haifa Symphony. She toured Russia for performances with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov, which culminated in a nationally televised gala concert at the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall.  

Nurit Pacht – Violin

Violinist Nurit Pacht was selected as one of the “Stars of the Year 2000” by Le Monde de la Musique and since then her career has blossomed with appearances in London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Moscow’s Great Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, The People’s Hall of China in Beijing and at Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series. Chosen by director Robert Wilson to be the featured musician in his multi-media piece Relative Light featuring solo violin works by John Cage’s and J.S. Bach, Nurit is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the contemporary.

Pacht recently performed as soloist in collaboration with the dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones in one of Europe’s greatest Cathedrals, the Duomo in Milan as well as at Kennedy Center and on tour in many U.S. capitals with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company culminating in performances at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival.    She serves as the artistic director of the “Alliance Players,” a dynamic group of musicians who perform innovative programs in New York City. Pacht performed in duo recitals with Philip Glass playing the composer’s works for violin and piano.

Jessica Pickersgill – Viola

Violist Jessica Pickersgill’s passion of music started at a young age and has since blossomed into a genuine wish to allow others to fall in love with music though her performance. As a result she has played for audiences at home in Canada and around the world including Italy, Russia and America. Pickersgill attended the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance. She then continued to expand her education and performance practice at the renowned New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, and graduated Cum Laude with a Masters in Viola Performance. Pickersgill has worked and studied with many world renowned musicians. Her enthusiasm for chamber music was fostered through coaching’s from eminent ensembles including The Emerson String Quartet, The Borromeo String Quartet, The St, Lawrence String Quartet and a host of others.

Rami Vamos – Classical Guitar/ Musical Educator

Combining his talents as a guitarist, educator, writer, and composer, Rami Vamos has created a wide array of original musical events ranging from children’s theater to concert music. His shows encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to explore music in the classical genre. Vamos works closely with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as a curriculum planner, writer, composer, and host for their Chamber Music Beginnings concert series. He is on the guitar faculty of the Concordia Conservatory where he also serves as string department head. Mr. Vamos writes two musicals each year for Concordia Conservatory’s Musical Adventures for Children concert series. His arrangements and original compositions have been heard on CBS, Fox News and NPR with members of the Turtle Island String Quartet, St. Louis Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Vamos has earned degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, the Yale School of Music and Queens College. He lives in New Rochelle, N.Y. with his wife, violinist Nurit Pacht, and their three children.

Contact: Sue Hillhouse, President, Ouray County Performing Arts Guild

Phone: 970-626-2970

Email: [email protected]

Date: July 24, 2017


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