Music in the Gardens with the Belin Quartet
Picture a warm summer evening, sipping wine with friends and family in a beautiful garden, being entertained by the music of a classical string quartet. Like what you are imagining? Then look no further than the Belin Quartet Summer Concert Series hosted by the Civic Music Association.
Held from late May through July, the quartet hosts free, weekly concerts on the lawn of Salisbury House and Gardens. Just short of an hour, the performances consist of one to two pieces composed by notorious composers like Schubert and Haydn. Attendees are welcome and encouraged to bring their own drinks and food, with some packing entire picnics to enjoy during the concert.
History of the Belin Quartet
The Belin Quartet was established in 1999 in honor of the late David and Connie Belin. The two were a notable Des Moines couple, David a prominent law attorney and Connie, a leader of education. Beyond this, the Belins were strong advocates for the arts, as Mr. Belin himself was a string player and lover of classical music. It was through their passion they developed the Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment and the Arts which bestowed a grant to CMA for the quartet’s conception.
The ensemble’s talented musicians have helped keep alive the Belins’ impactful legacy. There are six rotating members of the quartet, with some having played since the first season and others with the group for the first time. Made up of some of the region’s top string players, there is no shortage of experience or skill.
Belin Quartet Musicians
Among the seasoned players is Jonathan Sturm, who has been with the group from its start. Both a violinist and violist, Sturm is also concertmaster of the Des Moines Symphony. He is joined by his assistant concertmaster, Julie Fox Henson on the violin. Julie has been with the ensemble since 2001 and performs regularly in the community as both a soloist and chamber musician. Also on violin is John Helmich, who received his Master's in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. To round out the violinists, there is Des Moines native Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn. Tracy has been a music faculty member at several top universities including Northwestern, where she also earned her Doctor of Music degree. Next on cello is George Work, who is nearing his 15-year anniversary with the quartet. When not performing with the Des Moines Symphony, George is a professor of cello at Iowa State University. Lastly is the ensemble’s newest member, violist Rebecca Vieker who joined this season. Rebecca has played in various ensembles around the country and is also a registered Suzuki teacher.
Also new this year is Brian Coyle, the Executive Director of Civic Music Association. An energetic and passionate leader, Brian has expressed great enthusiasm for the Belin season. “This is an amazing opportunity to hear some of the world's greatest music performed by outstanding musicians in a breathtaking setting.”
The current season is in full swing following the kick-off concert on May 24. A full schedule can be located on the CMA website linked below, where program notes are also available.
In addition to their regularly scheduled performances at Salisbury, the quartet will also host a children’s concert at the Des Moines Public Library on Friday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m. The ensemble works to promote the joys of classical music through such performances. Overall, the Belin Summer Season has established itself as a fun and free family friendly activity for when the kids are out of school.
Whether you’ve never been to a classical performance or are a seasoned veteran, there’s a little something for everyone at Belin concerts. Bring a friend, a snack and a drink and have an enjoyable evening each Tuesday with the quartet.
For more information, visit: civicmusic.org/belin-quartet-summer-2022.
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