13th annual Montana Baroque Music Festival takes place July 19-21.
They come from all corners of North America, bringing gut-string instruments, virtuoso talent, encyclopedic knowledge of a bygone era and acclaim as the modern masters of their art. One is the founding director of the most prestigious early music program in America. Another won the top prize for soloists at the prestigious Early Music Competition in Bruges, Belgium. Among them they’ve won and been nominated for GRAMMY, Juno, Grammophone and other awards for their recorded performances.
What brings them together is a passion for music of the Baroque era, a love for the beautiful outdoors of Western Montana, and an artistic partnership that dates back more than a decade.
The result is a festival unlike any other in Montana, a hidden gem that year after year draws a diverse and growing audience of families, classical music aficionados and people who simply love to experience unexpected magic in idyllic places.
“There is an unexpected yet perfect harmony between this music of four centuries ago, and this landscape that time forgot on the banks of the Clark Fork River,” said Adam LaMotte, artistic director and violinist with the Montana Baroque Music Festival. “To experience this music outdoors in the shadow of the mountains with the river passing by, you really get a sense of something timeless and deep.
“That’s what attracts us as musicians to perform this music in this place, year after year,” LaMotte continued. “And I think it’s why more and more people keep marking this as a don’t-miss event on the summer calendar.”
The festival dates back to 2003, when violinist Monica Huggett had a chance encounter with Plains resident Jean Morrison during a fundraising bicycle ride across Montana. Morrison took Huggett to visit Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort, where the two discussed the challenge of bringing performing arts to the area. Huggett — founder of the Early Music Program at the Juilliard School — was so inspired by the beauty of the area that she agreed to assemble a festival at Quinn’s the following summer. Thus was born the Montana Baroque Music Festival.
The first concerts took place out on the lawn under Montana’s big sky. Since then, Quinn’s has built a purpose-built, permanent pavilion that shelters the musicians from Montana’s elements while preserving the open-air, close-to-nature experience that makes this festival so special.
The core group of musicians has grown over the years to include luminaries such as LaMotte, who has soloed and performed with Baroque ensembles across America; Canadian recorder soloist Matthias Maute, winner of a 2009 Juno Award (Canada’s equivalent of a GRAMMY); Carrie Krause, concertmaster of Atlanta’s New Trinity Baroque and the Bozeman Symphony; Gregory Ewer, an eclectic violinist known equally for his skills as a Baroque, classical, Irish and bluegrass musician; Archiv recording artist Victoria Gunn; Colombian-born guitarist Daniel Zuluaga and others. Huggett’s stunning performances remain a perennial highlight of the festival.
The 2016 festival will also include special guest Kris Kwapis, a GRAMMY-nominated trumpet soloist who teaches at Indiana University’s Historical Performance Institute and Seattle’s Cornish School of the Arts. Kwapis will appear on the July 21 concert performing concertos by Vivaldi, Corelli and Biber, backed by the festival orchestra.
The Montana Baroque Music Festival is a project of the Clark Fork Enrichment Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering and promoting music through public performances, workshops, education, exhibits and more in the state of Montana.
For tickets, lodging and more information about the Montana Baroque Music Festival, visit www.MontanaBaroque.org.
The 13th annual Montana Baroque Music Festival takes place July 19-21, 2016, at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort. Quinn’s is located at 190 Quinn’s Canyon Road Route 135 in Paradise, Montana. Tickets are $20 per night; $55 for all three nights. Concerts begin each evening at 7 p.m. Limited lodging packages remain available.www.MontanaBaroque.org