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Two U. students have world premieres at Deer Valley Music Festival

Published July 30, 2013 11:55 am

Music • Quartets by two composers will premiere Thursday in Park City.
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Add another feather to the cap of the School of Music at the University of Utah, as two of its doctoral candidates will have their works performed by up-and-coming string quartets.

On Thursday, the Battery and Skyros string quartets will play world premieres of pieces by Haruhito Miyagi and Devin Maxwell, respectively.

Each summer, the Muir String Quartet — resident chamber ensemble with the Deer Valley Music Festival — collaborates with Grammy-winning American composer Joan Tower. The project pairs two emerging, semi-professional string quartets with two promising composers for professional development.

The Battery String Quartet was founded in Chicago in 2012, while The Skyros String Quartet hails from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Miyagi, 36, is a native of Lehi, and his composition is "Three Prominent Peaks for String Quartet"­ — with movements named after three Utah mountains: Olympus, Timpanogos and Nebo. In a recent phone interview, Miyagi said he often retreats to the mountains to think and write music.

He received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and master's degree from the University of Notre Dame in organ performance. In addition to his doctoral studies, he is interim principal organist at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.

"The great joy of a composer is hearing it come alive," he said.

Maxwell, 35, will have his composition "Bouquet Canyon, CA" performed. The piece is named for a canyon near the Santa Clarita Valley in Los Angeles County. A Utah native, Maxwell lived in the canyon in a rustic cabin while earning his master's degree at The California Institute of the Arts.

After studying in California, he ran a music company in New York City and found himself thinking too much about the business side, rather than the music, he told The Tribune. He lived, breathed and ate music in Bouquet Canyon. He has fond memories even though the cabin had no sewer system and he had to use an outhouse.

Now a Park City resident, Maxwell said his composition is a "nod back" to an earlier, idyllic time that he is recapturing in Utah.

"Our cabin is nicer here," he said. —

Skyros & The Battery String Quartets

The Skyros and Battery string quartets will perform two world premieres by local composers: "Three Prominent Peaks for String Quartet" by Haruhito Miyagi and "Bouquet Canyon, CA" by Devin Maxwell. Also on the program are works by Beethoven and Shostakovich.

When • Thursday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m.

Where • Saint Mary's Catholic Church, 1505 W. White Pine Canyon Road, Park City. Parking is limited. Carpooling and public transportation recommended.

Tickets • In advance, adults, $25; youth 18 and younger, $10. Prices increase $5 on day of show. Available at 801-355-2787, arttix.org or deervalleymusicfestival.org.