Highly rated musicians to stage free concert before movie on Friday

Guitarist Corey Christiansen (above) and Jazz bassist Philip Kuehn (left) and jazz bassist Philip Kuehn (below) will perform a free concert at the Snow College Eccles Center on Friday at 7 p.m. as part of the Scandinavian Heritage Festival.

EPHRAIM—A free concert by a guitarist and bass players, both known in national and regional music circles, will be performed at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts on Friday at 7 p.m., the opening night of the Scandinavian Heritage Festival.

The opportunity for the concert came up after advertising was running and after the Messenger’s Scandinavian Heritage Festival magazine went to press. The nonprofit organization sponsoring the concert is trying to get the word out through the newspaper and fliers.  

The guitarist is Corey Christiansen, chair of the guitar program at Utah State University, who last year was the first recipient of the Utah Performing Arts Fellowship, sponsor by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.

Christiansen is leader of his own jazz band and records with Origin Records. Recordings released since 2014 combine jazz, blues and music of the American frontier.

He has authored or coauthored more than 70 books and projects related to playing the guitar, as well as written article for guitar trade magazines. He is on the board of advisors for musiclessons.com, a music learning website.

The bassist is Philip Kuehn, who has been director of jazz studies at the Horne School of Music at Snow College since 2014.

He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Julliard School of Music in New York City and works with the Duke Ellington Program at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Recently, he was the bass player in Disney/Pixar’s movie, “Soul,” which won  Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe awards for best instrumental film score. In 2020, he collaborated with Duke Ellington on an arrangement for the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn, Germany, for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary.

 The sponsor of the concert is Excellence in the Community, a nonprofit organization based at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

The organization was founded in 2005 with the mission of bringing top-notch musical performances to Utah audiences at no charge, while providing paid performing opportunities for artists.

Jeff Whitley, founder of the organization, says, “In Utah, we have dazzling artists in many styles. But they are generally unknown, and they generally perform in circumstances not commensurate with their accomplishments.

“Our objective is to enhance communities by creating more and better performing opportunities for top Utah artists and inviting the public.”

Whitley said the Ephraim performance is a step toward moving off the Wasatch Front “with the goal of building up a regular concert series featuring a wide variety of Utah musicians.”

Excellence in the Community receives support from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Sorensen Legacy Foundation, and the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation, among other donors.