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Fri, June 05

Calder Quartet returning to GC Music Festival

The Grand Canyon Music Festival continues this weekend with concerts by the Calder Quartet on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Shrine of the Ages.

The Calder Quartet are violinists Benjamin Jacobson and Andrew Bulbrook, Jonathan Moerschel on viola and celloist Eric Byers. Based in Los Angeles, the group gets its name from American sculptor and mobile artist Alexander Calder who inspired Sartre to write, "His one aim is to create chords and cadences of unknown movements. His mobiles are at once lyrical inventions, technical, almost mathematical combinations and the perceptible symbols of Nature."

Their concerts are described as "elegant chamber music performances and a touch of the avant-garde" and energy "somewhere between a hip hop show and monster truck rally."

As they did last year, the quartet offers the best of both worlds with concerts titled "Old Traditions" on Friday and "New Traditions" on Saturday.

Old Traditions explores classics such as Smetana's String Quartet No. 1, From My Life, and Hugo Wolf's Italian Serenade.

New Traditions showcases the quartet members' individual personalities with Andrew and Benjamin performing selections from Bartók's 44 Duos for Two Violins, based on the folk music of eastern Europe, and Eric and Jonathan offer Hindemith's Duet for viola and cello. The group also performs Ghost in the Machine, a 25-minute multimedia composition in three movements, created for the quartet by composer Matt McBane with video by Lucy H.G.

The festival grew out of an impromptu concert that founders Robert Bonfiglio and Clare Hoffman gave for a retiring ranger while they were hiking in the Canyon in the early 1980s. After their performance at Cottonwood Campground, they were encouraged by local businesses to launch a series of concerts. The first season, in September of 1984, featured three concerts. Over the past two decades, it has grown to nine concerts over three weeks.

Bonfiglio and Hoffman continue their involvement with the festival as director and artistic director respectively.

Tickets for concerts at the Shrine are $25 each for adults, $8 for students and children six years old and above. Season tickets for all eight Grand Canyon concerts are $160 for adults, $64 for children and students. Festival organizers ask that no children under six attend, out of consideration for the musicians and audience.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 800-997-8285 or 928-638-9215, or visit

Tickets are also available at the concierge desks at El Tovar and the Squire Inn, the front desk at the Quality Inn, Books and More at Canyon View Information Plaza and Flagstaff Gallery in Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon Music Festival is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Arizona Commission of the Arts through appropriations from the Arizona state legislature and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; partial funding is provided by Arizona ArtShare, the state arts endowment fund, through public and private contributions. Funding has also been received from WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Major funding is also provided by generous contributions from Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Yamaha Corporation of America, Cynthia and Norman Lawrence, Elizabeth Smith through the Ralph Smith Foundation, and Canyon Plaza Quality Inn and Suites / Mountain Ranch Resort.

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