vermont mozart festival @ the radiator, event #2

7/27/09 - Jennifer Grim

7/27/09 - Jennifer Grim

World of Music is taking a short summer break, we’ll be back in business later in August with a fresh collection of tunes from every corner, with the usual unusual assortment of  jazz, poetry, blues and world sounds.

‘Til then, “Mondays with Mozart” on The Radiator feature visiting performers from the annual Vermont Mozart Festival. Last week we talked with oboist Marc Schachman. This week the spotlight turned to another veteran wind player, the Festival’s principal flutist Jennifer Grim. (Next week we’ll complete the trio with bassoonist Andrew Schwartz.)

At the start of the conversation she remarked that it’s especially nice to come back to New England to work with the Festival now that she’s moved away. I wasn’t sure quite how to take that, but she quickly explained herself. As an associate professor at UNLV (“a place where they still look forward to rain”, noted Exec. Director Tim Riddle), Dr. Grim’s landscape has changed much since she moved from New York City to Las Vegas. Summers in Vermont, rainy or not, are a welcome change of scenery.

Change of pace? Well, probably that too, but maybe not in the expected way. With around 10 concerts in the three weeks of the Festival (and no repeated programs!), the schedule is demanding, performers are chosen for their deep experience with a wide variety of repertoire, and precious rehearsal time is spent “coming to a concensus about dynamic and tempo markings,” Grim said, “we don’t have time to spend hours discussing it.”

As the studio’s temperature and humidity escalated in the late afternoon sun, the audience questions dwindled and Grim offered to play a Bach Partita. It was elegant and lovely – light, while the day hung heavy and hot. She performed standing. Sort of. The lilting Partita was accompanied by Grim gracefully and naturally moving with the music: raising up on her toes in the high register, leaning in (as if listening, or encouraging listening) to the pianissimo passages, and dipping and swaying to dig into the arpeggios.

Executive Director Tim Riddle and Jennifer Grim

VT Mozart Festival Executive Director Tim Riddle and Jennifer Grim

“Do you have training as a dancer?” asked one audience member in the short followup q & a after the performance “Yes, I do,” Grim admitted shyly, “I took ballet lessons from four years old to college.” Though she also confessed that it often took observers to let her know afterward she’d been moving with the music she was playing.

Along with the work she does in the full Festival Orchestra, Grim often takes on solo or ensemble work over the course of the summer’s programs. Like the all-Bach and Prokofiev concert coming up on the 31st. She’ll be seated for that performance, I’m guessing, but that won’t keep you from enjoying the dancing lightheartedness she brings to her music.

Listen to the final “Mondays with Mozart” event next week, starting at 3pm. It’s 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator.

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