The Utah Music Festival & School was founded by New York flutist, Alison Griffiths Samuels, and cellist, Eric Samuels in 1994. After having been students at many of America’s best known music festivals, they sought to create a friendly and encouraging environment for students to coach and perform with major orchestral players, soloists, chamber musicians, and faculty from the top conservatories and university music departments around the nation.
The Samuels’ education included Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, SUNY Stony Brook, Rutgers, The University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Notre Dame, and New College. Alison’s major influences were her teachers, Julius Baker, Sam Baron, Albert Tipton, and Brad Garner; Eric’s teachers included Bernard Greenhouse, Leonard Rose, Ron Leonard, Harvey Shapiro, William Stokking, Bob Gardner, Channing Robbins, and Warren Lash.
The festival is based in the spectacular alpine ski resort town of Park City, Utah. Having been the home of the Winter 2002 Olympics, Park City is a perfect summer spot for a large variety of recreational activities. The close proximity to Salt Lake City Airport makes it easier to access than most every music festival in the nation!
Four weekly faculty/student concerts, plus daily informal performance opportunities, build students’ performance skills and confidence. Daily rehearsals with faculty, frequent group and private lesson, masterclasses, excerpt audition training, theory, and ear training, add up to improve the students technical and musical abilities on their instruments.
While great emphasis is placed on the students’ musical development, there is always plenty of time available for the faculty and students to experience the beautiful out-of-doors, and take advantage of the multitude of recreational activities such as hiking, tennis, soccer, swimming, golf, mountain-biking, horse-back riding, gondola rides, fishing, boating, and even balloon rides!
The festival also provides personal growth and “world-view” seminars to create a better-informed musician, who will be prepared to influence the culture with a positive and uplifting message which beautiful music can bring to the world around them.