Opus Colorado

Happy Hour Chamber Concerts
April 18, 2014, 12:26 pm
Filed under: News

Friday, 9 May, 2014 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Epiphany Lutheran, 790 South Corona, Denver

Happyhourconcerts.org – tickets, program notes, bios and much more

Please come and join us for an inspiring hour of fabulous strings – wine, nibbles, chocolate – yum!

Music for Three Voices

Samuel Capricornus: Ciacona
Georg Philip Telemann: Trio in B Minor for violin, viola and continuo
J.S. Bach: excerpts from the Goldberg Variations (transcribed for violin, viola and cello

Sandra Miller, cello: Emily Bowman, viola: Stacey Brady, violin

Program Notes:
Emily Bowman (viola), Stacey Brady (violin) and Sandra Miller (cello), are founding members of the Eldorado String Quartet and have been performing together in the Boulder-Denver area for the past fifteen years. Equally comfortable on both modern and period instruments, they perform regularly with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and Seicento Baroque, and among other musical organizations on the Front Range. This concert will be performed on period-style instruments and features works by Czech composer Samuel Friedrich Capricornus (1628-1665) and Georg Phillip Telemann (1681-1767). Excerpts from J.S. Bach’s renowned Goldberg Variations will also be on the program. There will be a brief informal discussion about the merits and challenges (and integrity!) of transcribing Bach’s keyboard work for three separate voices.

The Denver Early Music Consort and Marjorie Bunday, Artistic Director present a unique program: You must go.
April 13, 2014, 8:00 pm
Filed under: News

From Solomon’s Court to the Ends of the Earth: Songs of the Sephardim

Yayoi Barrack, Guest Artistic Director with Danse Etoile Ballet, Marie-Jose Payannet, Choreographer

What:The Sephardic song tradition dates to Medieval Spain. As the Sephardic Jews emigrated,
these songs traveled to places like Morocco, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Israel, & Mexico,
where they are still sung today–sometimes very close to the original, sometimes with
changed text or tune. Join DEMC on a multimedia journey spanning 500 years around
the world as we explore how the songs of the Sephardim have evolved through time and place.

Amanda Balestrieri, soprano; Yayoi Barrack, viol & vielle;
Marjorie Bunday, contralto; Eric Harbeson, percussion;
Linda Lunbeck, recorder; Carla Sciaky, viol and rebec.

When and Where:
Saturday, April 26 at 7:30 pm – King Center Recital Hall
Auraria Campus, 855 Lawrence Way, Denver, CO

Sunday, April 27 at 4:00 pm – Congregation Har HaShem
South Building, 3901 Pinon Drive, Boulder, CO

For more information, please visit http://www.denverearlymusic.org.

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra with Yumi Hwang-Williams and Wendy Sutter are without peer.

Friday evening, April 11, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Scott O’Neil, presented an absolutely marvelous program of two rare works, and one well-known work. The CSO performed the Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra by Phillip Glass. This work featured the CSO’s own Yumi Hwang-Williams, violinist, and guest cellist, Wendy Sutter. Also on the program was The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan, Op. 8, by Charles Griffes, and the well-known Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The CSO opened the concert with the Griffes work, The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan. Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was an American composer whose very short life has relegated him to the ‘unknowns.’ This is truly lamentable: there are many scholars today who regard him as one of the most outstanding American composers of his generation because of his compositional artistry as well as his skill at orchestration. He was born in Elmira, New York, and began taking piano lessons from his older sister. He eventually studied piano at the Elmira Free Academy where he attracted the attention of his piano teacher. The teacher subsidized his traveled to Berlin where he began taking piano lessons with Ernst Jedliczka and Gottfried Galston. He also began to take composition lessons with Engelbert Humperdinck, and that is where he felt most comfortable. While he was in Germany, he wrote several lieder in the German language in addition to one symphony. He returned to the United States, and accepted a job at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York. He kept that position until he died in 1920 of pneumonia.

He began composing in a Germanic post-romantic style that soon evolved into French Impressionism, and it is that element which became very strong in his adult life, short as it was.

Before the concert opened, CSO Principal Flutist, Brook Ferguson, and pianist Josh Sedwicki gave a performance of Poem by Charles Griffes as part of the pre-concert lecture. This gave the audience a hint of his style, and what to listen for in The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan.

The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan was originally written in 1912 for piano solo, but when he submitted it to his publisher, G. Schirmer, it was rejected because they thought that Griffes was writing in a way which was much too “dreamy” for that day and age. One of Griffes’ acquaintances introduced him to Ferruccio Busoni, a Liszt pupil, who was coming to New York City on a concert tour. Busoni looked at several of Griffes’ works and was quite impressed. He also suggested that Griffes rewrite The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan and orchestrate it. It was that version which was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the directorship of Pierre Monteux in 1919. It was an immediate, critical success, and it was received with rave reviews by the audience as well.

The CSO performance of this work was absolutely superb. It seems to me that it would be a rather difficult piece because of its many contrasting sections or, if you will, episodes. The orchestration of this work demonstrates how skilled Griffes truly was. I was strongly reminded of Debussy’s La Mer because of its richness and the combination of instruments. The work is only ten minutes long, but in that time span, one can hear an opening of darkness, which begins with a tremolo from the cellos and gong, accompanied very soon by soft chords from the orchestral piano. It then proceeds through stateliness and contemplation, all the while using Oriental style “scale” structure and deceptive Impressionistic harmonies. That is a great abundance for a ten minute work, but it is an absolutely beautiful work. It has always amazed me that in spite of Griffes’ quality output that he has just fallen off Mount Parnassus following his death. He deserves a great deal of attention.

Following the Griffes, the CSO performed the Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra by the well-known 20th-century composer, Phillip Glass (1937- ). This concerto demonstrates a real change in Phillip Glass’ style because it seems as though he has gone through a process of adding to, and expanding his original minimalist aesthetic. Thus, this work seems to take into consideration the harmonies that his elemental groups of notes can generate, as well as the textures resulting from his contrapuntal techniques. By that, I mean that in the strict sense of the word counterpoint, Glass is not only concerned so with melodic counterpoint, but becomes concerned with rhythmic counterpoint as well. The result is a new-found, and quite remarkable, expressive sound.

This is an absolutely beautiful piece of music, and I must say that Yumi Hwang-Williams and Wendy Sutter were beautifully paired for this performance. I also point out that Wendy Sutter and Maria Bachmann, violinist, were the two artists for which this piece was originally composed. The concerto itself is most unusual. Most concertos are concerned with two aspects: a soloist who “competes” with the orchestra, or a soloist who is supported by the orchestra, and in turn supports them. However, each movement of the Glass concerto begins with a solo duet for violin and cello which is then followed by the full orchestra for the remainder of the movement. The violin and cello take part in the rest of the movement as well, but are not necessarily highlighted as soloists. It is in the opening duet that the violinist and cellist demonstrate their technical prowess. I assure you that both of these performers have a great deal of technical prowess and artistry. This is a superb work, but these two individuals made it an absolute joy to hear. The duets before each movement struck me as being quite intimate even though they require a great deal of virtuosity. Both Hwang-Williams and Sutter made it seem as if they were playing very personal statements, as if they were performing chamber music rather than an enormous orchestral concerto. The duets were performed so that one could well imagine that it was written for a ballet, and, indeed, the Netherlands Dans Theater commissioned the work for their ballet, Swan Song. In many ways, the second movement of this concerto was the most important because after its duet opening, the orchestra slowly builds into a vibrant dance for orchestra and soloists. And it is interesting to note that Glass does not conclude the work, as is the case with most concertos, with a bombastic finale. Rather he closes the entire work with another duet which is rather melancholy.

Yumi Hwang-Williams and Wendy Sutter received a standing ovation for their performance. It was wonderful to see the audience truly appreciate an avant-garde composition and understand that the two artists who performed it are truly artists in every sense of the word. This was the Denver premiere of this work, and judging by the audience reaction, perhaps it will become a staple of the CSO. And, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Wendy Sutter would come back every time it was performed to join with our own, and the CSO’s, Yumi Hwang-Williams?

Following the intermission, Maestro O’Neil and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performed Rachmaninoff’s well-known Symphonic Dances. This was Rachmaninoff’s last composition, and it was his only composition completely written in the United States. One who is familiar with Rachmaninoff’s (1873-1943) compositions understands that one can hear several things in his works. Throughout his life, Rachmaninoff was obsessed, if that is the right word, with bells. He even wrote a four movement choral symphony entitled, The Bells. A full choir is called for in every movement of that piece. And sounds of bells can be heard in many of his compositions, even the last few bars of the second movement of his famous Piano Concerto Nr. 2. But in this work, Symphonic Dances, there is no reference to bells, aside from a short snippet of bells in the percussion section. I feel that since this work was written in the United States, Rachmaninoff decided not to use the imitation of bells. Another theme that recurs in several of his works is the Dies Irae theme. This was added to the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass by Thomas of Celano around 1240 A.D. The text reminds believers that they must continue to live exemplary lives or they will be judged. In the Requiem, this section is then followed by the Tuba Mirum, the call to judgment, and it is in this section where all bets are off, and the heathens are condemned to eternal damnation. Personally, I don’t think that Rachmaninoff was overly pessimistic about his own existence, but I do think he found that this Dies Irae theme could easily be introduced as a variation, or as just an interesting theme.

The CSO presented a splendid performance of this work. In the first movement which contains a driving rhythm, there is a moment in the score where Rachmaninoff uses the entire woodwind section to form a nonet. The CSO has one of the best woodwind sections of any orchestra in the United States. The members of this nonet were Brook Ferguson, Principal Flute; Catherine Peterson, Flute; Julie Duncan Thornton, Piccolo; Peter Cooper, Principal Oboe; Jason Lichtenwalter, English Horn; Jason Shafer, Principal Clarinet; Abby Raymond, Clarinet; Andrew Stevens, Bass Clarinet; and Chad Cognata, Principal Bassoon. Their playing was absolutely without peer. Other members of the CSO whose performance stood out Friday evening were Claude Sim, Associate Concertmaster, and Silver Ainomäe, Principal Cello.

In the second movement of Symphonic Dances, Rachmaninoff scores one of the most expressive melodic lines he has ever written for alto saxophone. It gives a startlingly melancholy and soft, dramatic sound to the orchestra, and the choice of this instrument in this orchestral work is not unheard of, but it is a little unusual. The saxophone was first demonstrated at an industrial exhibition in Paris in 1844. It was in that same year that the French composer Georges Kastner used it in his opera, The Last King of Juda. Ravel also used it, as did Berlioz. I could not find any reference in the program to the performer who played the alto saxophone Friday evening, but he was truly excellent.

It should be apparent to regular Symphony attendees, and lovers of Rachmaninoff’s music, that in this work, Rachmaninoff is looking to the future and is beginning to write with brand-new harmonies and the structure of his melodic lines. Many of his long, flowing lines are now replaced by shorter lines put together to build longer ones. This makes the development of each theme much easier. And in this work, his orchestration has become thicker as he seems to concentrate on more and different combinations of instruments than in his past compositions.

All three of the works on Friday evening’s program reflected change in composer’s styles, and that is what unified these three disparate composers, and created a remarkably interesting program to hear.

Another highlight of Friday evening’s performance was the revelation that Maestro Scott O’Neil’s conducting has undergone a tremendous change over the last five years. It is a change that emphasizes his musicianship and his trust in the ability of everyone in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. It was a change that seems to emphasize mutual acceptance.

The audience Friday evening was larger than many of the concerts I have attended the season, and it should be noted that, finally, there were some younger people in the audience. I will never get tired of telling you readers that Colorado Symphony Orchestra is one of the best orchestras in the United States. They have proven that over and over again, and in the last couple of years the orchestra has brightened considerably due to several changes which I will not mention again.

The CSO will perform this program again tonight, Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13.

Look what your symphony has done! “Colorado Symphony Ball 2014: Most Successful in Event’s History”
April 10, 2014, 8:45 pm
Filed under: News

Governor Hickenlooper among supporters who raised nearly $1.2 million; Moderators win Battle of the Bands

The Fillmore Auditorium may never be the same. On Saturday, April 5, the Colorado Symphony transformed the palatial concert venue into a ballroom — albeit one with plenty of rock-and-roll attitude. The Colorado Symphony Ball: From Bach…to Rock! The Battle of the Bands drew Denver’s business and cultural leaders to the most fun — and successful — event in the Ball’s 21-year history, raising nearly $1.2 million to support the musicians of the Colorado Symphony.

The year’s most exciting gala featured dining, dancing, a live and silent auction, and the presentation of the Margaret Phipps Award to Governor John Hickenlooper. The honor was presented by Mary Rossick Kern and Jerome H. Kern, Co-Chairs of the Colorado Symphony Board of Trustees; Jerome H. Kern serves as the Colorado Symphony’s CEO.
The Colorado Symphony Ball 2014 was co-chaired by DaVita’s Kent Thiry and Denise O’Leary and presented by Arrow Electronics and DaVita, with additional support from Liberty Global and The Malone Family Foundation. Founded in 1993 by Sharon Magness Blake and Mary Rossick Kern, the Colorado Symphony Ball is the orchestra’s largest annual fundraiser.

Highlights of the Colorado Symphony Ball 2014:

• The event raised nearly $1.2 million, exceeding last year’s total by more than $270,000.

• After a spirited and well-played competition among the Moderators, the DaVita Blues All Stars and the Colorado Symphony; the Moderators won the Battle of the Bands. The Battle generated nearly $100,000 in votes, valued at $1 each. This amount was matched by a generous, anonymous donor. The Moderators are a Denver band composed of CEOs from Colorado’s largest companies.

• A true music lover and supporter of the Colorado Symphony, Governor John Hickenlooper donned a mop-top wig and joined the Moderators for an extended Beatles medley.

• DaVita CEO Kent Thiry joined the DaVita Blues All Stars for a rousing rendition of “Old Time Rock-and-Roll.”

• The live auction generated a record $160,000; Jerry Kern’s silver 1999 SL600 Mercedes was the top seller.

• The Colorado Symphony Ball drew a multi-generational crowd of more than 750 guests, including members of the United States Armed Forces. The crowd reflected the theme of “Black Tie with Rock Flair” in creative and fun ways.

Click here for photos and videos of the Colorado Symphony Ball 2014.


The Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts during its regular season at Boettcher Concert Hall and on location throughout the state and region. 2013/14 season highlights include appearances by virtuoso violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, and classical pianists Natasha Paremski and Stephen Hough. This season’s Pops and Classic Rock series feature rock greats, iconic film scores and Broadway blockbusters. The Holiday, Family and Inside the Score series offer musical favorites, captivating collaborations and interactive concerts for music lovers of all ages. For more about the Colorado Symphony visit http://www.coloradosymphony.org.

Violinist Lindsay Deutsch returns with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra
April 9, 2014, 8:00 pm
Filed under: News

BOULDER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA PRESENTS the “Pillars of Ingenuity” with special guest artist Lindsay Deutsch

The Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO) will present a special Mother’s Day weekend celebration with special guest Lindsay Deutsch, violin on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the Broomfield Auditorium and on Sunday, May 11, 2014 at Seventh-day Adventist Church in Boulder. Both concerts start at 7:30 PM. Moms get half price tickets!

The concert includes:
Beethoven: Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
Smetana: Overture to The Bartered Bride

For more about concert locations, information and tickets please call: (303) 583-1278 or visit http://www.boulderchamberorchestra.orq.

Event: “Pillars of Ingenuity” — Boulder Chamber Orchestra

May 10, 2014 7:30 pm at the Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Rd., Broomfield, CO 80020

May 11, 2014 7:30 pm at Seventh-day Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Ave., Boulder, CO 80304

Admission: $25 General Admission, $18 Seniors, $12 Students, $5 Children 12 & Under
Box Office: Call (303) 583-1278 or visit http://www.boulderchamberorchestra.org for tickets.

About the Boulder Chamber Orchestra
The Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO) is a non-profit organization committed to providing exceptional chamber music programming, education, and outreach, as well as an outlet for talented local artists in the Front Range Community.

April 8, 2014, 7:01 pm
Filed under: News

Here is a performance that you do not want to miss – three stellar musicians performing Bach. How many times have you heard a live performance of the music listed below? You must enjoy this rare treat.

Join David Korevaar, Zachary Carrettin and Lina Bahn on a journey into a labyrinth of harmony and counterpoint. This intimate recital will take you through torrential cascades and silent mists of inspired sound.

Bach – Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006
Bach – Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828
Bach – Suite No. 2 in D Minor for Violoncello Solo, BWV 1008
(Transcribed for the viola by Carrettin)
Bach – Sonata for Violin and Keyboard No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1016

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014 – 7:30 PM
First Congregational Church, 1128 Pine Street, Boulder
Lina Bahn, violin; Zachary Carrettin, viola; David Korevaar, piano

Tickets: $30 general admission, $10 student, http://www.BoulderBachFestival.org or call 303.776.9666. Cash and check only at the door.

This is a wonderful way to celebrate Bach and some of the finest musicians performing his music.

20th Anniversary Season of the Colorado Chamber Players continues with “genius of our time,” Derek Bermel
April 5, 2014, 3:20 pm
Filed under: News

Composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel headlines the Colorado Chamber Players’ trio of consecutive concerts in May. The respected New Yorker’s list of works is known for its attention-grabbing titles, such as “Five Funk Studies” and “Mulatosh Stomp.” Bermel will bring these two works – plus “A Short History of the Universe” – to Denver, Boulder and Lafayette, appearing as the CCP’s guest clarinet soloist and resident composer.

While Bermel’s music can seem complex to the casual listener, audiences would do well to “keep things simple.” Explains Bermel, “In music, sounds are relative to other sounds. Everything has to do with context. The materials are abstract, but the language is concrete. I’d be just as happy if a listener walks in and just listens…responding to the music on an emotional level.”
An additional piece on the program – “Rashim” by Petra Hogan – is worth mentioning, given its powerful message of inspiration. Of note, Hogan (formerly Anderson) was one of the people wounded in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. Bermel will perform the solo clarinet work by his former student.

In addition to Bermel, performers at the May concerts include Andrew Cooperstock, piano; Danielle Guideri, guest cello; Barbara Hamilton-Primus, viola; Paul Primus, violinist; and Margaret Soper Gutierrez, violinist.

Program:Works by Derek Bermel
Mulatosh Stomp, for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1991)
Three Funk Studies for Solo Piano (2004)
A Short History of the Universe, for Clarinet and String Quartet (2013)

Also on the program:
Rashim, for Solo Clarinet – Petra Hogan (2011)
Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 – Johannes Brahms (1891)

Bermel in Denver
Friday, May 9, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Saint John’s Cathedral, 1350 Washington Street, Denver

Purchase advance tickets online
$20 General in advance, $25 General at door
$15 Senior/Student in advance, $18 Senior/Student at door

Bermel in Boulder
Saturday, May 10, 2014, 11:00 a.m.
Boulder Public Library Canyon Theater, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

For more information about this abridged concert – featuring program excerpts to be announced from the
stage – contact Juliette Leon Bartsch: 303.441.4492 or bartschj@boulderlibrary.org.

Bermel Gala in Lafayette
Saturday, May 10, 2014, 7:00 p.m.,9167 Davidson Way, Lafayette

Purchase advance tickets online
$40 in advance, $45 at the door
At this intimate house concert and gala, the audience will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with Derek Bermel, as well as enjoy his music and performances. Abridged concert, with wine and dessert reception.

Dr. Barbara Hamilton, Executive/Artistic Director, Colorado Chamber Players Email only: Bhamviola@comcast.net


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