David Park, the assistant concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, is a classical music expert, a connoisseur of wine and — because of those twin passions— a world traveler.
With his performances canceled during the coronavirus, Park, who is also an adjunct professor of music at the University of Utah, has been passing the time by listening to his favorite composers and, of course, sipping from his personal cellar.
“What I eat and drink at home,” he said, “makes a big difference in how I cope with the current situation.”
In the process, he has come up with five of his favorite classical music and wine pairings and shared the list with readers of The Salt Lake Tribune who might be missing the symphony or wanting to learn something new.
This week, Utahns may also see Park on a new billboard in downtown Salt Lake City promoting his “virtual” concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
“Last month, I was supposed to make my London debut on a rare Stradivarius violin, but it was postponed,” he said, “so I will play that program for Utah.”
The concert, with pianists Melissa Garff Ballard and Alex Marshall, will be livestreamed from the Gallivan Center on Saturday at 8 p.m. View it on the Excellence in the Community Facebook page.
Especially passionate about France’s famed Bordeaux wines, Park was inducted into one of the oldest and most exclusive wine societies in Bordeaux, France — Commanderie du Bontemps de Medoc et des Graves Sauternes et Barsac. Some of its distinguished members include Prince Philip, Queen Paola of Belgium, Placido Domingo, Ben Kingsley and Hugh Grant.
And while Park likes to splurge on a good wine, he said, “I always try to find table wine that tastes much more expensive than the actual price.”
His musical picks are listed below by mood. His wine suggestions are — for the most part — available at select state-run liquor stores. Use the “locate a bottle” link on the abc.utah.gov to find the store closest to you.
Elegant and Festive
“The Four Seasons” • Antonio Vivaldi’s best-known work is a showcase for the violin and is divided into four sections — one for each season.
Petrolo Toscana Torrione ($24.99) • A blend of sangiovese, merlot and a touch of cabernet grapes, this wine, according to one online review, “screams ‘drink me now with unbridled joy.’”
Bubbly and Spirited
“Barber of Seville” • A simple but true masterpiece from Gioachino Antonio Rossini. The renowned Italian composer was also an epicure who had foods and drinks named after him, including Rossini, a cocktail made with prosecco.
Bisol Prosecco ($19.99) • This popular Italian sparkling wine has a crisp citrus profile and offers a taste of Champagne for a fraction of the price.
Structured and Dramatic
“Moonlight Sonata” • This is one of Beethoven’s most popular melodies. The iconic composer’s last words — “Pity, pity, too late”— were supposedly a reference to receiving a bottle of wine from his publisher.
Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet ($24.99) • This California cabernet has smooth tannins with floral aroma, reminiscent of luxury but at an affordable price.
Exquisite and Refined
“Symphony No. 40” • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s transforming and mysterious work was said to have influenced Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony. Mozart loved wine, said Park, and especially Champagne with oysters.
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Champagne ($101) • Queen Elizabeth drinks one glass of this rich and vibrant Champagne every day for good health and spirit.
Deep and Brooding
“Air on G String” • Johann Sebastian Bach, considered the godfather of music, is associated with Bordeaux wine — deep and brooding.
Chateau Latour • A celebration wine that is dense, multidimensional, complex and a splurge at more than $1,000 a bottle. (In Utah, it’s available only through special order.) “I once tasted a ’66 Latour,” Park said, “and it was like drinking earth — everything life has to offer.”