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Classical music at its finest

June 21, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - An Upper Peninsula favorite as well as an ensemble of U.P. musicians will be performing this week as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival Schedule.

The Bergonzi String Quartet - a perennial performer at PMMF - will take the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, while UPStarts - a group of U.P. musicians looking to hit it big - will play the Ontonagon Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Bergonzi String Quartet is comprised of four faculty members of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.: first violinist Glenn Basham, second violinist Scott Flavin, violist Pamela McConnell and cellist Ross Harbaugh. Basham and Flavin are concertmasters of the Naples (Fla.) Philharmonic Orchestra and Florida Classical Orchestra, respectively, and McConnell and Harbaugh have performed as soloists around the United States and world. Despite their renown, they keep coming back to the U.P. because of their love for the area.

"These guys have been coming up here since the mid-1990s," PMMF Artistic Director Joshua Major said. "They're an extraordinary group - they have character, personality and a connection to the community."

The quartet will be joined in its concert by pianist Tian Ying for an arrangement of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."

In addition to their performance at the Rozsa, the quartet will be hosting a free children's concert at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Portage Lake District Library.

"They're going to be doing 'The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant,'" PMMF Executive Director Sandra Lewin said.

The arrangement of "Babar" was put together by McConnell and will be narrated by Major.

Meanwhile, in Ontonagon, four Western Upper Peninsula musicians will combine forces for a new addition to the festival, UPstarts. Miles Mykkanen, a tenor from Bessemer; Amanda Boundy, a soprano from Eben Junction; Savannah Clayton, a flutist from Calumet and Susan Byykkonen, a pianist from Calumet, will take the Ontonagon Theater stage to show off some of the talent the U.P. has to offer.

"The (UPstarts) program features professionally oriented musicians from the ... Western Upper Peninsula," Major said. "They are all great musicians who want to have a profession in music, and these are people of our own.

"This is a way they're given an experience to support their development and show that the U.P. is able to produce first-level, high-rate musicians."

The concert will have a variety of musical styles, according to Major.

"They'll be featuring music from Bernstein to opera to flute music," Major said. "It's got classical variety."

Tickets for the Bergonzi show are $25 and are available from Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at 487-2073 or at the door. Tickets for UPstarts are $12 for adults and $10 for children/students, and are available at or by calling 1-877-746-3999.



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