Opus Colorado

Andrew Litton to Continue as Colorado Symphony Music Director Through 2017/18 Season
December 17, 2014, 7:00 pm
Filed under: News

The Colorado Symphony is delighted to announce that internationally renowned conductor Andrew Litton will continue to serve as the orchestra’s Music Director through the 2017/18 season. As the orchestra’s artistic leader, Litton will continue to guide the artistic vision of the largest and most critically acclaimed professional orchestra in the Rocky Mountain West.

“It’s my honor to extend my tenure with the Colorado Symphony, which is one of the finest orchestras in the United States, and a joy to conduct and lead,” says Litton. “The musicians here are some of the best in the world, and it’s my honor to grow professionally with them and to contribute to the evolution of this modern American orchestra.

“The future of the Colorado Symphony is very bright,” Litton adds. “The next three years will be a thrill for me, for the musicians, and for Denver, a city I’ve come to love and am proud to be a part of.”

After serving as the Colorado Symphony’s Artistic Adviser from 2012 to 2013, Litton was named Music Director last August. Since then, Litton has elevated the orchestra to new heights of excellence in performance and programming. With an unparalleled portfolio that includes nearly 100 recordings as both conductor and performer, as well as distinguished conducting appointments around the world, Litton has expanded the orchestra’s global profile and audience.

“Andrew is the Peyton Manning of the orchestra world, and Denver is fortunate to have a conductor of his caliber on the podium and behind the scenes,” says Jerome H. Kern, the Colorado Symphony’s CEO and co-chair of its Board of Trustees. “This is another step forward for one of the greatest orchestras in the United States.”

Yesterday, Litton was named music director of the New York City Ballet. The announcement was made as Litton, a New York native, prepared for a performance at Carnegie Hall with Colorado Symphony Concertmaster Yumi Hwang-Williams and Principal Horn Michael Thornton. Litton currently serves as Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, a post he will vacate in October 2015. Litton was formerly Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony in Britain. Multiple appointments are common among prestige conductors.

Litton has brought the world’s leading soloists to the stage of Boettcher Concert Hall; the 2014/15 season includes performances by Gil Shaham, Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, and Yefim Bronfman. Last month, Litton led the Colorado Symphony through a high-profile recording of the music of Aaron Copland, to be released by Bis Records, classical music’s leading imprint, in 2015. Working closely with Colorado Symphony musicians, Litton has overseen the growth of the orchestra to include new principal players, culled from leading ensembles across the United States. The extension of Litton’s contract allows him and the Colorado Symphony to pursue an ambitious set of goals, including more recordings as well as national and international tours.

Litton serves on the Colorado Symphony’s Board of Trustees.


One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by internationally renowned Music Director Andrew Litton, the Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from the world of symphonic music and beyond. Every season, the Colorado Symphony serves more than 250,000 people from all walks of life, performing a range of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, the Colorado Symphony continually expands its reach through education, outreach, and programming. The Colorado Symphony partners with the state’s leading musical artists, cultural organizations, corporations, foundations, sports teams, and individuals to expose diverse audiences to the transformative power of music. To learn more, visit http://www.coloradosymphony.org.

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra: Märkl and Kahane are Spellbinding

Friday evening, December 5, Jeffrey Kahane returned to Denver as a pianist to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Nr. 5 in E flat Major, Opus 73, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the CSO had a guest conductor, Jun Märkl, to conduct the all-Beethoven program. In many ways, it is difficult to know exactly where to start this review because both Märkl and Kahane gave us one of the best performances of this concert season. The program notes for Friday’s performance state that Märkl is a “… highly respected interpreter of the core Germanic repertoire.” That simply has to be a gross understatement.

I will quote briefly from Märkl’s bio taken from his website, some of which appeared in the program notes:

“Born in Munich, his (German) father was a distinguished Concertmaster and his (Japanese) mother a solo pianist. Märkl studied violin, piano and conducting at the Musikhochschule in Hannover, going on to study with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich and with Gustav Meier in Michigan. In 1986 he won the conducting competition of the Deutsche Musikrat and a year later won a scholarship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to study at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. Soon afterwards he had a string of appointments in European opera houses followed by his first music directorships at the Staatstheater in Saarbrücken (1991-94) and at the Mannheim Nationaltheater (1994-2000).

“Jun Märkl conducts the world’s leading orchestras, such as the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. He has long been a highly respected interpreter of the core Germanic repertoire from both the symphonic and operatic traditions, and more recently for his refined and idiomatic Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen.

“He was Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 2005-11 and of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig until 2012. In recognition of his tenure in Lyon and his hugely successful nine-disc Debussy cycle with the orchestra on Naxos, in 2012 he was honoured by the French Ministry of Culture with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He also toured with the orchestra to Japan and major European halls and festivals such as the Salle Pleyel, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, BBC Proms, Bad Kissingen, Rheingau and Lucerne. With MDR he toured to Spain and the Baltics, made regular appearances in the Berlin Konzerthaus and Cologne Philharmonie, and conducted Schumann’s rarely-heard opera Genoveva at the Rotterdam Opera Festival. For the 14/15 season he has accepted the post of Musical Advisor to the Basque National Orchestra in San Sebastian.”

Maestro Märkl opened the program with Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Opus 72. Right away it was apparent that he wanted to show the detail and thoroughness with which Beethoven composed. He is one of the few conductors (Litton and Judd are others) whom I have heard in live performances where every single phrase, every dynamic marking, and, in some cases, every single note, is shaped by his demands upon the orchestra. I was also struck by the orchestra’s enthusiastic reaction to his conducting: they clearly respected and admired his work, for they followed every single move that he made. It is the same reaction that I have seen orchestras give Toscanini, Sir Georg Solti, and Fritz Reiner. It was also clear that the audience, even if they did not recognize the mutual respect that was being exchanged, certainly was appreciative of the way the orchestra performed. Every section gave sharp attacks, and everything was beautifully articulated. When I make a comment such as that, it sounds rather dry and sterile, but I can assure you, that the sound was anything but dry and sterile. It was full of emotion, and more than that, it was as if one could hear the music as Beethoven wrote it down. Adding to the amazing performance of the orchestra, was the oboe work of Peter Cooper, Catherine Peterson, flute, and Jason Shafer, clarinet. I understand that I am leaving out many names, but these are the individuals who, on first hearing Friday evening, left an indelible impression in my ear. The orchestra and Maestro Märkl presented one of the best performances of Fidelio that I have heard.

Following the performance of Fidelio, the CSO was joined by Jeffrey Kahane in the performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Nr. 5, in E flat Major. Everyone in Denver, of course, knows who Maestro Jeffrey Kahane is, so I will not include any kind of a biographical statement.

I must say that I was looking forward to hearing Kahane perform this concerto, as it marks a milestone in Beethoven’s career for several reasons. It is the supreme development of his concept of a concerto: the form is very tightly organized, there are no cadenzas, and it requires a pianist of supreme virtuosity. As the program notes pointed out, it was written at a time when Beethoven had overcome his suicidal thoughts due to his deafness, but it was during his deafness that he also was going through many legal proceedings and court hearings in an effort to get his nephew away from an alcoholic brother. It also marks another milestone, in that this was one of the pieces that Beethoven could not premiere himself. Due to his deafness, the premier was performed by Carl Czerny, perhaps one of Beethoven’s best known students.

I was immediately taken by the authority with which Jeffrey Kahane opened the concerto. He and Maestro Märkl were obviously of the same mind as the piece began. I do not recall the remarkable clearness and articulation in Kahane’s previous playing of a few years ago, but Friday evening he sounded like a completely different pianist. It was superb playing, and it was obvious right away. In the first of movement, the themes are truly heroic, and the opening arpeggiated chords provide an incredible entryway into the enormous work. Kahane was absolutely superb: his playing was clean and precise, and it truly seemed as if he and Märkl were of the same mind.

The second movement was done by both Märkl and Kahane as if it were a lullaby. It was absolutely serene in its beauty, and it was in this movement that the extreme dynamic changes of which the orchestra is capable were truly noticeable. It certainly emphasized the musicianship of every musician on stage, and I think that the audience began to understand how difficult it is for any orchestra larger than a chamber orchestra to play so softly that they are almost inaudible. But that is what the strings accomplished Friday evening. Maestro Märkl clearly demanded it, and the orchestra enthusiastically responded to his demands. Kahane’s playing was absolutely magical. The orchestra and the pianist gave the audience a revelation and the possibilities that Beethoven created. And that was due to the mutual musicianship of everyone on stage. The third movement of this concerto begins Attacca, that is, without pause. The last movement is more triumphant in sound than the heroic first movement. Kahane and Märkl, again, worked wonders with this movement, demonstrating a very deep understanding of what Beethoven wanted. I was truly taken with the mutual perception of Beethoven between Kahane and Märkl because I have heard so many concertos where it was clear that the pianist and conductor did not always agree. The orchestra and piano can sometimes seem to yank each other back and forth between separate realities. That simply did not happen Friday evening. It was a wonderful performance, and it was one in which everyone in the orchestra seemed to be so eager in which to participate.

The audience was obviously entranced by Kahane’s performance. They gave him a very long standing ovation, and he returned the favor by performing Schubert’s marvelous Impromptu in G flat Major.

Following the intermission, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performed Beethoven’s masterpiece, Symphony Nr. 5 in C minor. This symphony will probably always remain the ultimate in symphonic logic. The original autograph is in the Music Department of the Prussian State Library in Berlin. It was presented that to them in 1908 by the family of Felix Mendelssohn 100 years after Beethoven had written it in 1808. Criticism of this symphony, at its opening, was divided. There was a French composer and therapist present, Jean Lesueur, who found it so exciting that he said it should not even exist.

The opening of this famous work is so well known, but it often is not so well performed. That was not the case Friday evening: the tempos that Maestro Märkl took were absolutely astonishing to me, but it was very precise. The famous theme is very short and separated by an eighth rest. The release of the first four notes was so precise that the eighth rest seemed to be highlighted, and, in fact, seemed to last an eternity. There most certainly are some strategic rests which highlights silence, for example, in measure 57 there is a full measure of rest which emphasizes the fortissimo of the French horns which lead to the B Theme in bar 63. I mention all of this only because Maestro Märkl emphasized the impact of silence in such a difficult score. Thus, each phrase was highlighted and became its own entity. The second movement, a theme with variations, was grace personified. The violin section and the cellos were absolutely perfect, as well as the tympani. The dynamic range, again, was startling to me. I don’t think I have ever heard the Colorado Symphony Orchestra play so softly. I began to wonder how many sectional rehearsals were required. On the other hand, everyone in this orchestra is a very accomplished musician, but it is clear that they were very enthusiastic in following a conductor that they admired.

The third movement of this symphony sounds almost mysterious because of Beethoven’s shifting accents, and it is interesting to point out that Beethoven didn’t really call this a scherzo. He simply labels it allegro. It certainly is a movement that is joyful. Julie Duncan Thornton was marvelous playing the piccolo in this movement. In the contrapuntal Trio section, the cellos and the basses played with a vigor that was truly exciting. I know that is what is required of them, but keep in mind it was done to perfection.

The last movement begins with a theme that is almost a fanfare and it is given out in short measure at the beginning of the movement, but it soon becomes obvious that it forms the material which leads to the re-introduction of material from the third movement. It is difficult to explain how clearly Maestro Märkl and the CSO delineated this entire movement and its themes without explaining as it is happening. It has been a long time since I have heard a conductor and an orchestra so clearly delineate the structure while at the same time being so marvelous in their sensitivity and musicianship. Did you notice how hard the timpanist, William Hill, had to work in this symphony?

This was an absolutely wonderful performance, and I left the hall thinking this must surely be one of the best performances I have heard the Colorado Symphony give. However, in the last two years, I have left the hall thinking that every performance that I’ve heard from this orchestra is the best they have done.

BOULDER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA presents a special New Year’s Eve concert
December 5, 2014, 3:37 pm
Filed under: News

“A Night on the Danube”

The Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO) will present “A Night on the Danube”, a special New Year’s Eve celebration concert featuring guest artist Szilvia Schranz on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at the Lakewood Cultural Center. The concert begins at 6:30 PM.

The concert includes:
• Strauss, Blue Danube and More
• Brahms, Hungarian Dances
• Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody

Event: “A Night on the Danube” – Boulder Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Bahman Saless

Date/Location: December 31, 2014 6:30 pm at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison    Pkwy., Lakewood, CO 80226

Admission: $50 Box Seats, $35 General Admission, $25 Seniors/Students, $5 Children 12 & Under

Box Office: Call (303) 987-7845 or visit http://www.lakewood.org/tickets for tickets.
“A Night on the Danube”

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.

Jennifer Slater, Managing Director, Boulder Chamber Orchestra
(303) 583-1278, jennifer@boulderchamberorchestra.org


Colorado Symphony Highlights: The season’s best weekend, Holiday series begins
December 3, 2014, 4:27 pm
Filed under: News

A Bright Beginning to the Colorado Symphony Holiday Season
Innovation, excellence, and diversity define a banner weekend and season

This holiday season, the Colorado Symphony has many reasons to celebrate. Beginning with a high-profile recording project and ending with a popular family program, the Thanksgiving weekend was one of the 2014/15 season’s best yet, bringing new faces, new sounds, and new prestige to the largest professional orchestra in the Rocky Mountain West.

One of the most innovative orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony constantly seeks new and creative ways to preserve the cultural legacy of symphonic music while actively co-creating its future. Artistic excellence, affordability, accessibility, creativity, technology, and audience engagement are all vital elements of today’s Colorado Symphony.

Weekend Highlights:

• Music Director Andrew Litton led a recording of the major works of Aaron Copland, to be released internationally in 2015 by Sweden’s Bis Records, classical music’s leading imprint. Over three days, Litton and the orchestra captured performances that will be heard by listeners around the world, significantly elevating the Colorado Symphony’s global profile and reach.

• “An Evening of Copland,” Friday, November 28, garnered critical attention and exceeded attendance and sales goals, drawing a diverse audience including members of the United States Armed Forces, teachers, students, musicians, young professionals, and visitors to Denver. Active duty military, educators and students enjoy deep discounts on most Colorado Symphony concerts.

• On Saturday, November 29, patrons danced in the aisles during “Los Lobos: Disconnected,” the second offering in the new Colorado Symphony Presents series, which brings contemporary artists to Boettcher Concert Hall throughout the season. A showcase of Los Lobos’ virtuosity and depth, the all-acoustic concert attracted an intergenerational and culturally diverse crowd, including many members of Denver’s Latino community.

• 145 children and adults experienced a Colorado Symphony concert — for free. Throughout the 2014/15 season, the Colorado Symphony will provide $170,000 in concert tickets to individuals and families for whom cost is a barrier to participation in the arts. Many had never been to Boettcher Concert Hall before last weekend. The Community Ticketing Initiative is a partnership with Denver Arts & Venues and supports the City of Denver’s Imagine 2020 Cultural Plan.

• The CSO exceeded audience and sales goals for a second time in one weekend with “Drums of the World” on Sunday, November 30. Like all concerts in the Family series, tickets were $10 for kids and $25 for adults.

• More than 5,000 school children attended youth concerts at Boettcher Concert Hall on Monday, December 1 and Tuesday, December 2.

• The Colorado Symphony’s profile on social media continues to expand, with approximately 100 new followers per week and an average engagement rate of 80%. Social media activity is incorporated into several Colorado Symphony programs this season.

Still to Come: Holiday Concerts

The celebration continues throughout December, as the Colorado Symphony presents an array of holiday programs from classical to contemporary.

• PINK MARTINI with the Colorado Symphony, Tuesday, December 9, 7:30 pm
• HANDEL’S MESSIAH, Saturday, December 13, 7:30 pm; Sunday, December 14, 1 pm
• HOLIDAY BRASS: At Lonetree Arts Center, Thursday, December 11, 7:30 pm; at Montview Presbyterian Church, Sunday, December 14, 5 pm
• A COLORADO CHRISTMAS, Friday, December 19, 7:30 pm; Saturday, December 20, 2:30 pm & 6 pm; Sunday, December 21, 1 pm
• TOO HOT TO HANDEL, Saturday, December 27, 7:30 pm; Sunday, December 28, 1 pm
• A NIGHT IN VIENNA, Wednesday, December 31, 6:30 pm

Tickets for most programs start at $25. Discount offers include $2 tickets for Active Duty Military; $10 teacher/student with valid ID, when purchased at the Boettcher Concert Hall Box Office. Some exceptions apply.

For details, visit http://www.coloradosymphony.org, call 303-623-7876, or visit the box office at Boettcher Concert Hall, located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Champa streets.


One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by internationally renowned Music Director Andrew Litton, the Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from the world of symphonic music and beyond. Every season, the Colorado Symphony serves more than 250,000 people from all walks of life, performing a range of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, the Colorado Symphony continually expands its reach through education, outreach, and programming. The Colorado Symphony partners with the state’s leading musical artists, cultural organizations, corporations, foundations, sports teams, and individuals to expose diverse audiences to the transformative power of music. To learn more, visit http://www.coloradosymphony.org.

Here are some performances at Dazzle Jazz Club that you can’t miss
December 2, 2014, 9:44 am
Filed under: News

DazzleJazz Holiday Lineup:

CU Jazz Ensemble presents the Duke Ellington Nutcracker Suite:
Thursday, December 11, 2014 • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Tickets $15

Mandy Harvey Holiday Concert – CD Release:
Saturday, December 13, 2014• 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Tickets $15

Nelson Rangell Holiday Show
Sunday, December 14, 2014 • 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tickets $15

Swingin’ in the Holidays w/ Katie Glassman & Snapshot
Friday, December 19, 2014 • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Tickets $15

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Wednesday, December 24, 2014 • 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tickets $15, under 18 years of age – $10

Christmas Day Brunch
Thursday, December 25, 2014 • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
For reservations call 303.839.5100


Sunday, December 21, 2014 • 7:00 PM
Website: dazzlejazz.com
Email: Aaron@dazzlejazz.com
Music: DazzleJazz Will Present The 3rd Annual Solo Piano Night Featuring: Jeff Jenkins, Art Lande, and Eric Gunnison. Featuring an individual set each by three of the best pianists in the world.

Tickets $15

About Jeff:
Jeff Jenkins has released four CD’s in the last 15 years. The most recent on Capri Records entitled “Cique”, is an eclectic exciting blend of jazz and funk. He has appeared with many jazz greats in that amount of time as well, including: Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Clark Terry, Dakota Staton, Frank Morgan, Marlena Shaw, David Fathead Newman, Teddy Edwards, the Count Basie Orchestra, The New York Voices, Bobby Hutcherson, Nelson Rangell, Renee Marie, John Abercrombie, and Richie Cole.

About Eric:
Based in Denver since 1980, pianist and composer Eric Gunnison has led a distinguished career during which he has not only established himself as one of the mainstays of the Mile High City’s vibrant jazz scene as an instrumentalist, bandleader and educator, but has also attracted a global following performing, touring and recording with internationally renowned jazz artists, particularly jazz vocalists.

About Art:
Grammy-nominated Art Lande is considered one of the premiere improvisational jazz pianists today. He began piano at age 4, studied at Williams College & moved to San Francisco in 1969. He has mostly carved out his own singular path throughout his career, taking the innovations of Bill Evans several steps further. In 1973 he recorded with Jan Garbarek and Ted Curson and in the mid-1970’s had started his own jazz school. In 1976 he formed the quartet Rubisa Patrol which recorded for ECM and lasted until 1983. After teaching for three years in Switzerland, Lande in 1987 moved to Boulder, Colorado. He appears in many of the “Who’s Who in Jazz” encyclopedias available today for his role in the development of “Chamber Jazz.”


DazzleJazz will present Adam Bartczak Republic
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 • 7:00 PM

Tickets $12, $8 students

About Adam Bartczak:
Though rooted in jazz, Denver-based trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator Adam Bartczak reaches into many walks of music. His compositions have been performed by the West Point Acade-my’s Jazz Knights, the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, Denver’s 9th and Lincoln Jazz Orchestra, and his own Adam Bartczak Republic, among other groups. Adam is in demand as a performer, composer, arranger, and clinician throughout the country.
A Colorado native, Adam grew up playing in jazz, rock, reggae, Afro-Cuban, and Dixieland bands, to name a few. In addition to jazz, blues, and soul, his music and playing are influenced by various popular and world musics, particularly those of Africa and Latin America.
Recent projects have included presentations of works at the Jazz Education Network Conference, and for the West Point Jazz Knights Composers Forum, where he worked with esteemed jazz com-poser Jim McNeely. Adam worked on The Soul of Jewish Music, which premiered in Los Angeles and featured iconic violinist Itzhak Perlman. Performances of his arrangements for jazz orchestra have featured artists such as Donny McCaslin, Jeff Coffin, Robin Eubanks, Brian Lynch, Billy Pierce, and Geoffrey Keezer. He also recently won the Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest, and groups he has performed in have won numerous awards in Downbeat magazine.
His first release as a leader, the Adam Bartczak Republic’s “Grass Is Greener” is available here and on Dazzle Recordings.
Read a Review Full Tour Dates Facebook


Sunday December 28 – 6 & 8 PM 
Website: dazzlejazz.com
Email: Aaron@dazzlejazz.com
Music:  DazzleJazz will present Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra

Tickets $25.

About Brad Leali:
A native of Denver, he began playing saxophone in junior high school. It was while listening to his father’s recordings of jazz masters such as Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley that he became intrigued with jazz. He attended the University of North Texas where he performed with the world renowned One O’clock Lab Band and played the Dallas scene with local tenor saxophone legends, James Clay and Marchel Ivery. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in music education, he was hired as the lead alto saxophonist for the Harry Con-nick, Jr. Orchestra and was appointed musical director five months later. It was on the road with Harry Con-nick, Jr. that Mr. Leali made his move to New York City. He is now a featured alto saxophone soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra under the leadership of Grover Mitchell. In 1999, the Count Basie Orchestra won a Grammy award for their CD, ‘Count Play’s Duke.’ On this recording, Brad was also nominated for a Grammy for his solo work on the classic Billy Strayhorn composition, ‘The Star-Crossed Lover’s.’ He has performed nationally and internationally. A well-rounded musician, Mr. Leali has performed with such stellar musicians as Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Nancy Wilson, Frank Foster, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, The Mingus Big Band, Jack McDuff, George Duke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Smith, and Melvin Rhyne among others. Mr. Leali is currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. When not on tour with the Basie Band, Mr. Leali is playing in the New York Club scene fronting his own organ quartet. ‘I want everyone to dig my music – not just the musicians.’ Leali says. ‘I want to bring soul into the music like say – Stanley Turrentine, Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Freddie Hubbard and Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis. I want people to feel my music in their soul.’

For Bookings or more info contact:

Aaron Melon—Aaron@dazzlejazz.com
Kevin Lee – Kevin@DazzleJazz.com

930 Lincoln St.
Denver, CO 80203

Colorado Ballet: The most wonderful “Nutcracker” I have seen.

Saturday evening, November 29, I attended the Colorado Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. The many times that I have seen it previously includes productions by ballet companies at different universities and professional ballet companies in the Midwest and East Coast. Honestly, I do not recall how many times I have seen this ballet, but I can tell you that the performance I saw Saturday evening was absolutely the best I have ever seen performed. You readers who have not seen this ballet must understand that the reason for its popularity is the fact that it is one of Tchaikovsky’s best ballets, and one of the best ballets ever written. The orchestra score is sensational. Also, realize that Tchaikovsky was one of the greatest ballet composers, and there are many moments in his symphonies where it seems as if he had ballet in mind. Its popularity does not diminish his art, and when it is performed by such an outstanding ballet company, Tchaikovsky’s art is ensured.

Colorado Ballet has always done a superb job with this seasonal offering, but it truly seems to be getting better and better over the years. Saturday evening’s performance clearly gave the impression that this was the first time they had ever done it. Why? Because everyone on stage and in the orchestra pit seemed to be thoroughly excited, and in the grasp of the music and the choreography, which was written by Martin Fredmann and Colorado Ballet’s own Sandra Brown. In addition, the staging, which is so incredibly significant, was completed by Lorita Travaglia and Sandra Brown.

It is wonderful to see this ballet every year because Maestro Gil Boggs, the Artistic Director of the Colorado Ballet, re-casts the performance from year-to-year. Each dancer has his or her own specific take on the personality of the characters that they are depicting in E.T.A. Hoffman’s story. In Saturday evening’s performance, Dana Benton danced the role of Clara, and Jesse Marks danced the role of the Nutcracker Prince. Both of them were superb. I might add with all sincerity that Gregory K. Gonzales was absolutely perfect in every way in his role of Drosselmeyer, the mysterious, but kind, owner of the toyshop who gives Clara the Nutcracker for a Christmas present at the Christmas party.

After the Christmas party, Clara seems to fall asleep, but she is under the spell of Herr Drosselmeyer, who makes the Christmas tree grow to tremendous size along with all the presents beneath it (In the original E.T.A. Hoffman story, it is Clara who shrinks so that she becomes the same size as the Nutcracker.). The Nutcracker, now life-size, comes to life with his contingent of soldiers. They do battle with the mice, and Clara saves the day when she distracts the Mouse King long enough for the Nutcracker to win the battle. The Nutcracker then becomes a handsome prince who takes Clara on a fabulous journey. The pas de deux which Dana Benton and Jesse Marks performed at the end of the Act I was stunning, as were the Snowflakes with whom they danced.

Throughout the entire ballet, the Colorado Ballet Orchestra reflected the same excitement and wonderful precision as the dancers on stage. The orchestral part has always struck me as being incredibly difficult, but you must understand that in Maestro Adam Flatt and Associate Conductor Maestra Catherine Sailer the orchestra has leadership that they willingly respond to in every way because of their leaders’ artistry. Saturday night, they gave Maestro Flatt everything he asked for. Most notable was the incredible dynamic range. There were many times when the orchestra was so soft that one had to be intent to listen, and I guarantee you that added to the expressiveness of the performance on stage as well as in the pit.

Act II takes place in the Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy where Clara and her Prince are entertained by dancers from throughout the kingdom. Spanish dancers, Arabian dancers, a Chinese dancer with his Dragon, Marzipan, Russian, Dew Drop, Flowers, and, of course, Mother Ginger.

For those of you who have not seen this ballet, Act II contains some of the most difficult dancing in the ballet. Tracy Jones and Kevin Wilson as the Spanish dancers were remarkable in their sensuality. Chandra Kuykendall and Domenico Luciano, the Arabians, were absolutely superb. And I am still stunned at the physical strength that both of these dancers have. Francisco Estevez seemed to really be enjoying himself in his role of the Chinese Dancer, and, even though his role was one of humor, he exhibited an abundance of grace. Sean Omandam, Kevin Gaël Thomas, and Ryan Lee were spectacular as the Russian dancers who dance the Trepak. I began to wonder at the length of practice time their performance took. This has to be one of the most difficult dances in the ballet, if not the most popular. Asuka Sasaki was grace personified as Dew Drop.

Notice that I used the word grace. That word is seldom used in combination with the word precision, but that is what personified the entire performance. Even the humorous Mother Ginger had grace, and, of course, all of the Flowers, Sugarplum Attendants, Angels, and the Polichinelles.

Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov performed some of the most beautiful dancing I have ever seen them accomplish. Their pas de deux was so remarkably sensitive emotionally that it took my breath away. In addition, it demonstrated remarkable trust (which all ballet dancers must have) in each other’s ability and strength. For example, when Mosina stood in the palms of Tyukov’s hands, which he was holding at his waist, there was never a hesitation or waiver on either dancer’s part. They simply did it with remarkable grace and aplomb. Yes, I know that’s what ballet dancers are supposed to do, and, that is another aspect that makes ballet dancing so remarkably difficult. But the audience was left breathless. And please include me.

I have seen many reviews of The Nutcracker in which it is described as “family entertainment” rather than an adult ballet or a ballet for children. Describing The Nutcracker in that manner seems, to me, at least, to cheapen its value as a work of art. It also denigrates its difficulty in performance. There is absolutely nothing easy in this ballet for the dancers, or for the orchestra, or for the conductor who must constantly be vigilant to make sure that he is taking the proper tempo as discussed with the dancers during rehearsal. Maestro Adam Flatt must follow their every move with his baton, and he must never let the smallest amount of ego interrupt his collaboration with the dancers on stage. Saturday evening the collaboration between the orchestra and the dancers was absolutely seamless. I hasten to point out that this seamlessness did not surprise me at all. Everyone involved is a consummate artist.

That is what makes The Nutcracker, especially performed by the Colorado Ballet, such a wonderful artistic experience.

Please take a look at all of the remaining performances of this great ballet. Surely, you can attend one.

Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 19, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, December 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Friday, December 26, 2014 at 1 p.m.

St.Martin’s Chamber Choir in Three Performances of “A Cambridge Christmas”
November 25, 2014, 4:05 pm
Filed under: News

WHO: 24 voices, Timothy J. Krueger, conductor, Ralph Valentine, organist, Jimmy Howe, Mark Sheldon Conducting Intern

WHAT: Carols commissioned by the various choirs of Cambridge University (King’s, Trinity, St. John’s, Gonville & Caius) plus carol arrangements for choir and audience with organ. Music by Sir David Willcocks, Peter Maxwell Davies, Judith Weir, Harold Darke, John Taverner, Jonathan Dove, Herbert Howells, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others.

WHEN/WHERE:Friday, December 12, 7:30 pm
Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church
1980 Dahlia Street
Denver CO 80220

Sunday, December 14, 3:00 pm
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
4500 Wadsworth Boulevard
Wheat Ridge CO 80033

Friday, December 19, 7:30 pm
Saint John’s Episcopal Cathedral
1350 Washington Street
Denver CO 80203

TICKETS:Premium $35, General Admission $25, Student $10
Online at http://www.stmartinschamberchoir.org, by phone 303-298-1970, or at the door for each performance.

Premium seating for Friday, Dec. 19 is sold out.

For further information call 303-298-1970 or email info@stmartinschamberchoir.org


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