Add another feather to the cap of the School of Music at the University of Utah, as two Ph.D candidates in the composition program will have their pieces performed by up-and-coming string quartets this Thursday as part of the Deer Valley Music Festival.
Haruhito Miyagi and Devin Maxwell will have the world premieres of their compositions performed by The Battery String Quartet and The Skyros String Quartet, respectively.
Each summer the Muir String Quartet — the resident chamber ensemble with the Festival — collaborates with Grammy-winning contemporary American composer Joan Tower to offer two emerging, semi-professional string quartets and two promising composers an opportunity for extended professional development and a performance of their compositions during the Deer Valley Music Festival, the summer home of the Utah Symphony.
The Battery String Quartet was founded in Chicago in 2012, and The Skyros String Quartet is the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pursuing doctorates in chamber music performance.
Miyagi, 36, is a native of Lehi and his winning composition is “Three Prominent Peaks for String Quartet”—a piece with movements named after Utah mountains: Olympus, Timpanogos and Nebo.
“Utah has a very unique culture, and that’s definitely influential in how I think about life and music,” said Miyagi in a phone interview. He often retreated to the mountains to think and write music, he said.
Miyagi received a bachelors degree from Brigham Young University and masters degree from the University of Notre Dame in organ performance, and on top of his doctoral studies is the interim principal organist at the The Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.
“The great joy of a composer is hearing it come alive,” Miyagi said of his composition.
Maxwell, 35, is a comrade of Miyagi at the School of Music and will have his composition “Bouquet Canyon, CA” performed. The piece is named for a canyon that branches from the Santa Clarita Valley in Los Angeles County, where Maxwell lived in a cabin while studying at The California Institute of the Arts, where he received his masters degree and met his wife, a Utah native.
Maxwell received a bachelors degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and after studying in California ran a music company in New York City. But he found himself thinking too much about the business side, rather than about music, he told The Tribune, and remembered how much be enjoyed living in Bouquet Canyon, where he lived, breathed and ate music. (Remarkably, he enjoyed his life there even though he was required to use an outhouse, as his simple cabin had no sewage system.)
Now living in another cabin, in Park City, 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
Info • The Skyros and Battery String Quartets will perform world premiere string quartets by local composers Haruhito Miyagi and Devin Maxwell. In addition to playing Miyagi’s “Three Prominent Peaks for String Quartet” The Battery String Quartet will also perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, op. 117. The Skyros String Quartet will also perform String Quartet No.1 in F Major, op. 18 by Ludwig Von Beethoven before its performance of Devin Maxwell’s “Bouquet Canyon, CA.”
Tickets • $25 general admission, with $10 tickets available for youth 18 years and younger, by calling 801-355-2787, in person at any ArtTix outlet or online at www.deervalleymusicfestival.org. Ticket prices are subject to change based on demand and will increase by $5 when purchased on the day of performance.
When • Thursday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m.:
Where • Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, 1505 W. White Pine Canyon Rd., Park City. Parking at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church is limited, so carpooling and taking public transportation is strongly encouraged.