Sarah Chang to perform at Strings opener in Steamboat today |

Sarah Chang to perform at Strings opener in Steamboat today

Zach Fridell

— The word that most frequently comes to the mouths of musicians describing upcoming Strings performer Sarah Chang is "prodigy." From kindergarten age on, Chang has mastered the violin.

But calling her a prodigy could also undermine the important advances she has made since that time.

"It's difficult for prodigies to make that transition, a lot of times, past puberty to adulthood. A lot of them burn out or have a nervous breakdown," Strings Music Director Monique Mead said. "She has truly managed to find her own, to find herself, to have the musicianship to carry her through a career."

Mead's husband, conductor and fellow music director Andrés Cárdenes, will play with Chang on Saturday at the opening night of the Strings Music Festival.

Even with her maturation into an acclaimed artist — and excellent karaoke singer, Mead said — Chang will return to her roots with a performance of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1. That is the same piece Chang played for her audition for The Juilliard School — when she was 6 years old.

Strings Marketing and Development Director Jennifer Shea said Mead and Cárdenes have also worked hard to bring in a full orchestra to support Chang.

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Mead said many of the performers are personal friends, traveling from around the country for the event.

Several of those musicians will also perform at Wednesday night's classical concert featuring music from Rossini and Schubert.

Mead said Chang is going out of her way to come to Steamboat Springs, and she is looking forward to the performance. After the main solo, Mead said, there could be a surprise.

"Who knows, if we clap long and hard enough, she will probably play a spectacular encore," she said.

Audience members also will get a chance to meet Chang during intermission and after the performance at a reception at the pavilion.

If you go

What: Opening night of the Strings Music Festival with soloist Sarah Chang.

The performance features Rossini’s Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri (An Italian Girl in Algiers) and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Also featured is Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, performed by Chang

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road, at Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads

Cost: Reserved tickets are $55, available at the pavilion. Tickets on the day of the show are $60

Online: For more information, visit the Strings Music Festival website.