Musicfest 2.0: From Great Gatsby To Great Music!
Telluride MusicFest is back. The 2022 concert series is now under the co-artistic direction of Kathryn Lockwood and Yousif Sheronick and hosted by Claire Beard’s Telluride Chamber Music in a new collaboration. To find out more, lend your support and purchase tickets, see below.
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For more about the exciting encore of Musicfest, go here.
Go here for more about the history of the Telluride Musicfest.
The term “chamber music” still conjures a small group of people – more than one, but fewer than 15 – performing centuries-old masterworks in an intimate space without a conductor. And, for aficionados, the genre is the height of cultural aspiration: emotional, intellectual, and political dramas played out in sound. For everyone else, however, “art music” is quaint or worse, dull. At least part of the problem is the name: when all too many people hear the word “classical,”they think “Dead White Men” and “not relevant.”
If you find yourself in the “everyone else/not relevant” camp, this year you should give the Telluride Musicfest a chance. For one thing the programming of the three principal concerts includes the internationally renowned drummer Yousif Sheronick, whose unique skills in both world and classical music have led him to perform with a diverse range of ensembles and other renowned including Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Ethos Percussion Group, Lark Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Glen Velez, and Paul Winter.
Musicfest 2.0 marks Yousif’s return to Telluride. In 2019, he performed as an official artist with his wife, violist Kathryn Lockwood in their collaborative venture, duoJalal.
More than just his obvious chops and ability to razzle-dazzle, the local crowd responded to the nuance and musicality of Yousif’s playing, kind of like sound painting or the yummiest kind of ear candy.
Yousif is part of the story on the road back to Musicfest, the remix, which could be summed up as Great Gatsby to great music.
The story arguably begins at the Sands Point Preserve and the original Gould/Guggenheim Estate. The park embodies the grandeur and elegance that defined the Gold Coast period of the early 20th century, when prominent American families – read Robber Barons – built great mansions on large estates as summer retreats along the Long Island Sound. In fact, the Sands Point peninsula was the famed “East Egg” in F. Scott’s renowned novel.
Long story short, the elegant, but empty rooms of Hempstead House and the Great Hall in Castle Gould on the site begged to host a chamber music concert series. Kathryn was tapped to become impresario of “Four Seasons@Sands Point.” And, again as duoJalal, she and Yousif became the Preserve’s ensemble-in-residence.
The addition of percussion on any chamber music program begs for a new and different kind of programming – which rhymes with duoJalal. Today each concert at Sands Point – and very soon in Telluride at Musicfest – is roughly divided into three equal parts: a classical repertoire; new music including commissions; and world-influenced sounds.
Truth be told, Kathryn like her husband, is no newbie to Musicfest. In fact, she performed at the inception of the concert series about 20 years ago.
When designing the 2022 Musicfest program titled “Summer Soirees” – June 25 through July 3 – Kathryn and Yousif decided to bring some of their favorite collaborations from the Sands Point “Four Seasons” series, including two former Pilobolus dancers, Casey Howes and Jake Warren, and long-time friend and collaborator, pianist/composer Inessa Zaretsky, whose original work for Kathryn and Yousif marked the beginning of duoJalal 11 years ago.
To learn more, check out our conversation with Kathryn and Yousif.
Kathryn Lockwood, more:
Australian violist Kathryn Lockwood leads an active and varied career as performer, teacher and artistic director. Since moving to the United States in 1991, she has played with a virtual Who’s-Who in the chamber music world and captured sought-after tributes, including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award.
Kathryn’s career launched straight out of graduate school at USC (CA) where she, along with three friends, formed the Pacifica Quartet (PQ). As a member of PQ she traveled the world concertizing and recording. After moving to New York in 2001, Kathryn soon claimed the viola chair of the internationally renowned Lark Quartet. Always evolving and thinking outside the box, Kathryn formed the innovative group duoJalal with percussionist and husband Yousif Sheronick.
Accolades speak loudly and clearly about Kathryn’s virtuosic ability. The Cleveland Plain Dealer proclaimed Kathryn a “violist of exceptional talents,…Lockwood played the vociferous viola cadenza with mahogany beauty and vivid character.” The Toronto Star wrote: “Lockwood is all slow, sensuous allure with her bowing arm one moment, a tempest of notes the next.”
Kathryn’s creative mind led her to be appointed Artistic Director of the innovative “Four Seasons in Music” at the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, a position she still holds, along with her new appointment at Musicfest in Telluride, where where duoJalal is ensemble in residence.
Yousif Sheronick, more:
Hailed by The New York Times for his “dazzling improvisations” and his “wizardry on a range of humble frame drums,” Yousif Sheronick enjoys an active career as percussionist, composer, producer and educator.
Having studied classical percussion through a Masters degree at Yale, Yousif went on to study music from Brazil, India, Africa and the Middle East, which he seamlessly incorporates into his playing.
Yousif’s unique skills in both World and Classical music have led him to perform with a diverse range of ensembles and musicians including Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ethos Percussion Group, Lark Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Cindy Blackman Santana, Glen Velez and Paul Winter.
Always wanting to build bridges through music, Yousif has become a major force in bringing world percussion into contemporary/classical music settings- like Musicfest.
In demand as an educator, Yousif has conducted residencies and master classes at top universities including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Kentucky, the Queensland Conservatorium and National University in Australia.
With increasing demand from drummers around the world, Yousif established an online frame drum school www.framedrumschool.orgin 2019. The institution now has over 700 enrolled students from 58 countries.
At present, Yousif is actively promoting the amalgamation of “World Music” and chamber music. This has come through work with ensembles and composers such as Philip Glass, duoJalal, Lark Quartet, and Ethos Percussion Group (which has commissioned composers from Palestine, India, Israel, Korea, Argentina, and Italy).
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