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UNLV Hosts Inaugural Las Vegas Baroque Festival April 18-23

The program features the Bay Area's Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, prize-winning Notre Dame University organist Craig Cramer, faculty and student performances, and more.
Arts & Culture  |  Apr 4, 2017  |  By Jennifer Vaughan
Media Contact: Jennifer Vaughan, 702-895-1575

Music professor Jennifer Grim and harpsichordist Jonathan Rhodes Lee prepare for the Las Vegas Baroque Festival April 18-23.

The UNLV campus will be immersed in the rich, wide palate of all things baroque during the inaugural Las Vegas Baroque Festival, which will be held in multiple campus locations April 18 - 23. The program is open to the community and features the Bay Area's Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, prize-winning Notre Dame University organist, Craig Cramer, faculty and student performances, and a baroque play-along welcoming musicians who want to join in.

Music professor Jonathan Rhodes Lee's lecture, "What is 'Baroque' about Baroque Music?", opens the festival on the 18th, and members of UNLV's dance department will head an audience participation dance party on the 23rd.

The festival also includes Las Vegas Philharmonic concert master DeeAnne Letourneau performing in UNLV's Chamber orchestra, led by violinist Taras Krysa, music director and conductor of the UNLV Symphony Orchestra. Faculty soloists include Jennifer Grim, Stephen Caplan, Lee, trumpet player Barbara Hull, and harpsichordist Timothy Hoft. College of Fine Arts dean and concert violist Nancy Uscher also will perform. Baroque choral music will be performed by UNLV's Chamber Chorale, as well as the Las Vegas Master Singers, led by David Weiller. 

"A chance to hear a baroque orchestra in Las Vegas is so rare," Lee says, calling the San Francisco Bay Area Archetti group a definite main-ticket item. Archetti musicians perform on original and replica baroque instruments that use catgut strings and shorter bows, allowing for a different sound: "It's not as loud, but more resonant and ringing in a richer way." 

The festival was initiated by music professor Jennifer Grim who received an $18,000 Faculty Opportunity Award in 2015 from the UNLV Division of Research and Economic Development and embarked on a semester studying all over the states and in Amsterdam, learning new repertoire and fingering techniques of the baroque flute, an instrument different from the modern flute — and she returned to UNLV with new knowledge and two baroque flutes for students to use — and the determination to make the Las Vegas Baroque Festival a reality.

"Learning the historical instrument gives a better perspective," Grim says, adding that the experts opened her ears. "Playing on that opens you up to the sounds you'd hear in Bach's time."

Las Vegas Baroque Festival

April 18, 7:30 p.m., University Forum Lecture Series: Jonathan Rhodes Lee, "What is 'Baroque' about Baroque?," Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium.

April 20, 7:30 p.m., Baroque Chorale Masterworks, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

April 21, 7:30 p.m., The Archetti Baroque String Orchestra, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

April 22, 3:30 p.m., UNLV Student Ensemble, Doc Rando Recital Hall

April 22,  7:30 p.m, UNLV Faculty and Guests Chamber Concert, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

April 23, 1 p.m., Baroque Play-Along, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

April 23, 2 p.m.,  Baroque Dance Party,  Alta Ham Fine Arts dance studio.

April 23, 4 p.m., organist Craig Cramer, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

April 23, 6:30 p.m., Gregory Brown, "The Baroque Era and Cultural History," location TBA.

April 23, 7:30 p.m., UNLV Chamber Orchestra, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

More information is available online.