Of classical music's many charms, vitality is hardly one of them; most of the big names are long-dead white guys. So Eclectic Concerts, a chamber music series now in its third year, is remarkable for including music from around the world and from this century alongside the powder-wigged Europeans.
Eclectic Concerts founder Dianne Wachsman Betkowski saw a concert in St. Louis years ago that combined jazz guitar and cello (Betkowski's instrument), Brahms and tango. The concert spoke to her eclectic tastes and she decided to bring these and other seemingly disparate styles together in Denver. She is well positioned to begin a concert series because she's also director of the Intermezzo Chamber Music Sessions, a weeklong series of chamber music classes open to all instruments.
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Eclectic Concerts is a nonprofit and has classical music as its backbone, but most of the shows also feature folk or ethnic music and improvisations. The series' goal, according to Betkowski, is, "To offer more really good classical music and to create opportunites to be really creative by having other kinds of music on the same concerts." One concert in February of 2008 featured traditional Columbian ballads alongside jazz saxophone and classical piano.
The concerts are held at Kirk of Bonnie Brae church. Betkowski describes the atmosphere as intimate and says that attendees can expect to be, "exposed to music they didn't even know existed. It takes a little bit of flexibility from a concertgoer."
There is also a distinctly Denver flavor at the concerts. Most of the musicians are from the area, and tomorrow night's performance by the Intermezzo faculty will include works by local composer William Mullikin, in addition to Bach and Mozart and the like. The concert is at 7 pm at Kirk of Bonnie Brae, 1201 South Steele Street. Tickets are $10 at the door.