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Red Rock Music Festival brings classical back to Sedona

Jan Simiz

Jan Simiz (Courtesy/RRMF)

Originally Published: August 31, 2022 3:07 p.m.

Red Rock Music Festival has three concerts planned in Sedona for September.

The 21st season of the Red Rocks Music Festival kicks off Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Sedona Creative Life Center.

Violinist David Ehrlich, Fine Arts Outreach fellow, Virginia Tech and former first violinist with the Audubon String Quartet, violinist Yibin Li, faculty at Mannes-New School and Julliard pre-school, violist Christopher McKay, the Phoenix Symphony, cellist Phillipe Muller, artistic director, One Music Project, cellist Jan Simiz, the Phoenix Symphony, and pianist Teresa Ehrlich, founder/executive director, the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia, will perform a Romantic Journey, featuring the sublime Cello Quintet in C major, Op.163, by Frantz Schubert and Dohnanyis’ Piano Quintet No.1, Op.1.

Raised in Israel, David Ehrlich started his professional career as concertmaster and soloist with the Tel Aviv Chamber Orchestra and toured as guest soloist with other Israeli chamber orchestras. In the United States, after studying with Shmuel Ashkenasi, he served as concertmaster and soloist of the Colorado Festival Orchestra, Filarmonica de Caracas, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, and was associate concertmaster with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.


David Ehrlich (Courtesy/RRMF)

Music from Six Centuries

On Sept. 4 at 3 p.m., the Red Rocks Music Festival will collaborate with the Sedona International Film Festival at Mary D. Fisher Theatre in the program “Music from Six Centuries,” featuring Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova and French hornist Howard Wall, New York Philharmonic, retired.

The program will include world-premiers as well as Southwest and Arizona premiers.

Elmira Darvarova, Grammy-nominated recording artist, a concert violinist since the age of 4, and an award-winning performer (gold medal at the Global Music Awards in two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018), Elmira Darvarova caused a sensation, becoming the first ever (and so far only) female concertmaster in the entire history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

With the MET Orchestra she toured Europe, Japan, and the United States, and was heard on the MET’s live weekly international radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, CDs and laser discs on the Sony, Deutsche Grammophon and EMI labels.

Many composers have dedicated works to Elmira Darvarova. Her recital at Bela Bartok’s memorial house in Budapest was broadcast live throughout Europe. A documentary film about her life and career was shown on European television.

Howard Wall, a native of Pittsburgh, was a long-time member of The New York Philharmonic (holding The Ruth F. and Allan J. Broder Chair), where he joined the horn section in 1994, after having been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra for almost 20 years, and a former member of the Phoenix and Denver Symphony Orchestras.

Wall also performs and records with the All-Star Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns multiple times in New York, as well as on New York Philharmonic tours in Europe and South America.

He retired from the Philharmonic ins 2020 and tours internationally with wife Elmira Darvarova.

Howard Wall recorded Poulenc’s Elégie for Horn and Piano with world-renowned French pianist Pascal Rogé. He also recorded (twice) David Amram’s Blues and Variations for Monk for Solo Horn and gave its European Premiere in Paris.

Great Romantics of the German Lied

RRMF September concerts will conclude on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. with a special program featuring tenor Soloist with the Met Opera, Gerhard Siegel with pianist Gabriel Dobner, professor of piano at James Madison University, Virginia. The Great Romantics of the German Lied will feature works by Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler.

Pianist Gabriel Dobner has recorded for Ottavo, MDG and Hänssler Klassik Profil. His first recording for MDG, consisting of songs of Liszt, Dvorák and Mahler with mezzo-soprano Cornelia Kallisch, won high praise from BBC Music Magazine, Fono Forum and the West German Radio in Cologne, referring to Mr. Dobner as a “master among Lieder pianists.”

Dobner is also on faculty at AIMS in Graz during the summers, where he teaches German Lieder.

The German tenor Gerhard Siegel began his musical career as an instrumentalist and composer. After completing his voice training with Liselotte Becker-Egner at the Augsburg Conservatory, he became an ensemble member of the Stadttheater Trier. In 1995 Siegel was winner at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna.

From 1999 to 2006 he was under contract at the Nuremberg Theater, where he was primarily able to expand his repertoire in the field of dramatic and heroic tenor. Here he sang Parsifal, Bacchus, Herodes, Florestan, Laca (“Jenufa“) and Sergej (“Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District”), but also Mephistopheles (“Doctor Faust” by Busoni), Tom Rakewell and Alfredo. He won special acclaim for his debut as Stolzing (“Meistersinger”) and in the title role of “Siegfried.”

As a freelance singer since 2006, Gerhard Siegel has made guest appearances at the Comic Opera Berlin, in Cologne, at the Bregenz Festival, at the Vienna State Opera, at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, at Covent Garden London and at the Met, New York.