After nine concerts, three venues and nearly 2,000 attendees, the Belin Quartet’s 23rd season officially ended July 26 at the Salisbury House and Gardens.  

The summer series was nothing short of a rousing success, with an audience full of both new and returning faces all joining in a cherished Des Moines tradition.  

The quartet welcomed the return of five of its long-standing members: John Helmich and Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn (violin), Julie Fox Henson (violin/viola), Jonathan Sturm (viola), and George Work (cello). This season was extra special for Jonathan Sturm, who has been with the quartet since its beginning and is now retiring. In addition, the group added another talented musician to its ranks, violist Rebecca Viekker.  

Throughout the season the group performed some fan favorites, including Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, “American” for an early July 4th celebration. Along with this, the quartet explored selections by newer composers as overtures to each performance. The blend of both old and modern classics made for an enjoyable evening on the lawn of Salisbury House and Gardens. 

This is the second season the quartet has called the Salisbury House its home. Belin audiences have reveled in the beauty of the setting, often enjoying a pre-packed picnic or glass of wine. Along with Salisbury, Civic Music Association debuted a new indoor venue for inclement weather. The location, Grand Hall at Temple Theater in downtown Des Moines was quick to receive praise by audiences during the two performances held there. 

Another new addition to the quartet’s season was the Mozart, Mendelssohn and Mocktails fundraiser held at the final concert. Attendeesselected from three classical music themed drinks: The Quartet Quencher,The Mozart Mojito, and The Mendelssohn Margarita. All proceeds directly benefited Civic Music Association, and over $400 were made during the event.  

The Des Moines Public Library also hosted the quartet for their annual Children’s Concert. Families with children of all ages had fun taking part in a musical craft before the performance. The ensemble played Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals,” followed by a fun surprise of “Under the Sea” for the finale.  

As CMA shifts into their 97th season, brainstorming and planning is already taking place for Belin’s 24th season. Included among these ideas is the continuation of selling themed mocktails unique to each composer. Along with this, the quartet has considered hosting one concert during the winter months, so Belin fans aren’t left waiting until next May to hear them again.  

The CMA staff extends their thanks to everyone who attended a Belin concert this season. Your support and dedication to the summer series make a significant difference and allows us to continue this tradition. Not only this, but you also help us celebrate the bright legacy of our namesakes Connie and David Belin, who were fierce advocates for the arts in Des Moines.  

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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