ABRAVANEL HALL WILL ONCE AGAIN BE FILLED WITH KURT BESTOR MUSIC ENTHUSIASTS…
SERIOUS DECADES-LONG FANS WHO HAVE EARNED THE NICKNAME…BESTORITES
Select Images by Weston Hall
On December 13-15, 2012, Utah’s famed Abravanel Hall will be brimming with avid music lovers. These are not your ordinary music lovers–but loyal followers of Utah’s versatile and beloved composer, Kurt Bestor–thus the nickname “Bestorites”–who have made it their Christmas tradition to attend his concert year after year!
As in Christmas past, Bestor is joined on stage by SPECIAL GUEST musicians–and this year, to help him celebrate his 25th year–he is joined by Grammy-Award Winning Violinist, Jenny Oaks Baker! [For more ticket info go to: http://www.kurtbestor.com/]
OUR PAST HAS A WAY OF CONNECTING US TO OUR PRESENT…
In 1998, I was asked to write and produce a special film tribute for the worldwide humanitarian relief organization known as C.A.R.E. –made famous by the CARE stamped brown boxes filled with basic foods which were air-dropped to survivors of war-torn Europe post World War 2. The film, entitled Womens’ Voices specifically highlights CARE’s tremendous relief efforts in assisting and changing the lives of impoverished women in Central America. While researching to find the appropriate musical score for the film I came across the most moving song that was a perfect fit to set the tone and convey the message that was at the heart of this tribute. The song was Prayer of the Children, with lyrics and music composed by Kurt Bestor.
I was fortunate enough to discover that my longtime friend, filmmaker and Sundance Film Festival Co-Founder, Sterling Van Wagenen, personally knew this renowned Utah composer. Sterling kindly connected the dots for me, and Kurt Bestor permitted me to use the song, free of charge, stating, “I’m honored to assist in CARE’s efforts to help the less fortunate.” I have never forgotten his kind spirit and generosity. In 2010, in Salt Lake City, before his annual Abravanel Concert Hall performance was to begin, we finally met in person!
ESCAPESEEKER SEEKS OUT KURT BESTOR AGAIN…
THIS TIME TO SHOWCASE HIS TALENTS IN THE STUDIO AND ON THE SKI SLOPES TOO!
The selection process that I undertook in deciding to seek out KURT BESTOR as the Utah based musical artist to feature as part of our ESCAPESEEKER Deer Valley/Park City winter episode was quite simple. Knowing that the episode will be anchored around the luxuriously classy Montage Deer Valley resort—I wanted to find a talented artist who was equally at home in such a luxurious environment as well as being out in the elements—the winter’s chilly elements. Well, I quickly learned that not only is Kurt Bestor a gifted composer, but he’s an avid heli-skier as well! What a beautiful match for a resort that caters to skiers of all levels—from novices like myself, to ultimate thrill seekers like Kurt!
But, ultimately, what won me over is the enormous praise that not only Kurt’s loyal fans have shared about this generously gifted individual—but the honest words expressed by those who work closely with Kurt, like Sam Cardon, fellow Utah composer with whom he released a CD entitled “Innovators” in 1995 followed by its sequel in 2001: “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen as many gifts given to one individual. He’s a first-rate composer, a terrific public speaker, a pretty good actor, a great athlete, a bit of a poet and sculptor and artist. An artistic nature just fills him up. And he’s exceptionally bright. He could have chosen to do anything.”
LOYAL LIFELONG FOLLOWERS…HIS MUSIC APPEALS TO EVERY GENERATION
Kurt has an incredible following in Utah, but particularly during the holidays. For the last 25 years, Kurt has produced his annual Christmas concert, complete with a full orchestra, which as I’ve witnessed, are always a packed house, (so best to buy your tickets early). Bestor’s music can be heard throughout the entire State of Utah, and beyond—whether it’s Provo’s Stadium of Fire on the Fourth of July; or European concert halls for the LDS Sea Trek; or LDS Church movies or the dozens of special charity appearances he makes annually on local TV and radio ads.
Yes, Bestor’s accomplishments exceed Utah’s borders: His compositions include the Calgary Olympic TV theme (which earned him an Emmy); music for the Salt Lake Olympic closing ceremonies; scores for more than 30 films; material for more than 40 TV shows, including “Good Morning America,” “Monday Night Football,” “National Geographic,” Fox TV news, ABC’s college basketball, ABC’s “Movie of the Week,” NBC’s 1988 Super Bowl, ABC’s baseball playoff coverage, NBC’s 1992 Barcelona Olympic coverage. The list goes on and on.
Yes, there’s definitely more to add to his credits: Bestor has conducted his own classical compositions with the Utah Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Prague Festival Orchestra and The Estonian National Symphony. He has performed for Jane Goodall, Madeleine Albright and Mikhail Gorbachev at the World Summit in New York. He has conducted his own ballet. He has collaborated with Lou Rawls, Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Dick Van Dyke and Vanessa Williams.
You name it, Kurt has done just about everything that involves music — scores for Sony PlayStation, beauty pageants, Muzak, marching bands—he even composed the school song for the local Utah Timpanogos High School.
KURT BESTOR NEEDS MUSIC LIKE HE NEEDS AIR…
After spending some quality time with Kurt—I quickly realized that here is a man who needs music like he needs air! No, let me rephrase that: Kurt needs to create music in order to breathe, in order to survive. And, like other artists who are passion driven by their art—Kurt has had to make some big sacrifices to practice his art the only way he can…with the same gusto and unyielding grace with which he navigates unchartered steep, fresh white powdered mountains.
Here is an artist whose story of triumphs outnumber the losses, and whose music reflects the journey he has traveled…you may even discover that you’ve traveled some similar roads with this gifted artists…maybe even dreamed the same dream…perhaps it is the reason his music strikes such a familiar chord with so many? What I noticed most about this talented man is the JOY and sparkle in his eyes when he is performing…KURT BESTOR needs to share his passion for music…it is what fuels his soul. And, you and I become the blessed recipients.
“My favorite feeling is to stand in front of a symphony, and when I lower the baton, out of 80 or 90 musicians comes something that was in my head,” he says. “I don’t even totally understand how that works. It’s magical almost. I can put it down on paper out of my head, and the musicians combine their talents and the audience receives what I felt when I was in my room by myself creating it. Music is pure communication. It makes me feel like I have a mission or purpose in life. I take people on a little journey in concerts. It feels right.” ~ Kurt Bestor
It feels so very right to us too Kurt. Thank you for sharing your music and touching our souls. It was an absolute pleasure to capture you in full-blown action…whether it’s via your keyboard, your trumpet, or on your trusted Rossignol skis jumping out of a Diamond heli-ski chopper. ESCAPESEEKER audiences loved every daring second of it…from the first note to the last!
In the meantime, BESTORITES…You can get a sneak peak of PBS SoCal’s highly popular episode featuring our favorite Utah composer!
Kurt, on behalf of our entire ESCAPESEEKER team, we wish you a TREMENDOUS 25th Anniversary Christmas Concert!
Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER
ESCAPESEEKER and KURT BESTOR TESTING THE QUALITY OF UTAH’S FRESHLY FALLEN SNOW! Our assignment: To prove Utah’s claim… Does Utah have “The Greatest Snow on Earth?”