Opus Colorado

Composer Bruce Adolphe to give Library Lecture at The Old Town Library
June 15, 2015, 7:38 pm
Filed under: News

What’s the Idea? — How science inspires my musical thinking

Monday, June 22, 7:00 pm
Old Town Library, 201 Peterson Street,
Ft. Collins.
Free event

Whether it’s neuroscience or physics, science offers musical inspiration and even provocative compositional concepts that have been the focus of many of his recent works. From Music of Memory, recently premiered at the Brain and Creativity Institute in LA, or Einstein’s Light, a new film with his score recorded by Joshua Bell, science and scientists fire up his musical imagination. Bruce Adolphe, resident composer at the Brain and Creativity Institute in LA and Lecturer at The Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center in New York, will explore the details of how this works. Samples of his works, performance from the piano, improvisational games and his highly entertaining Piano Puzzlers are all part of this engaging event. Join us for this intimate opportunity to learn more about music in general, ask those questions you’ve always wanted to have answered and meet this remarkable internationally known composer.

This event is part of the Off The Hook Chamber Music Festival. For more information see: http://www.projectchambermusic.org/programs/off-the-hook/

Music of Light Art Show: An Art Show of Introspection. Illumination. Inspiration.
June 12, 2015, 8:24 am
Filed under: News

Reflecting Einstein’s Relationship to Music.

June 17 – 19  12:00 – 6:00 pm daily
June 20  closed for concert set-up
June 20  3:30pm doors open for concert
Community Creative Center, 200 Matthews Street, Fort Collins

We’re celebrating Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and its 100th Anniversary. PYCh joins forces with local artists in a juried art show, posters from CSU’s International Poster Festivals & the Rocky Mountain Woodturners.
● Grand Opening and Closing events feature the Miami String Quartet. ● Art sales benefit our local artists and Project Youth & Chamber Music’s educational programming. ● Vintages Wine Sponsored Reception featuring food from local downtown restaurants and chefs!

For more information got to the Project Chamber Music web site:  http://www.projectchambermusic.org/music-light/

The Playground: Classical Unbuttoned- Billy the Kid and more….
June 11, 2015, 7:49 pm
Filed under: News

What:  Classical Unbuttoned- Billy the Kid and more….

When: Tuesday, June 16 at 7:00 PM

Where: Lannies Clocktower Cabaret-1601 Arapahoe St, Denver

Buy Tickets Here:   http://lannies.com/?p=31653

The brainchild of 9th & Lincoln Orchestra’s Tyler Gilmore and Playground director Conrad Kehn, the Playground Chamber Jazz Project played its debut show in February 2010. The line-up, featuring core members of the Playground and area jazz heavies,focuses on premiering new compositions that live in the cracks. Meditative ragas,fresh post-bop, and beautiful melodies- this is always a unique experience for Colorado audiences.

The evening will feature a performance of Lynn Baker’s arrangement of Copland’s Billy the Kid suite. This reimagined look at the Copland comes loaded with Latin grooves, jazz rhythms and harmonies but with the beauty and drama of the original masterpiece.

This evening’s band is Brian Ebert (clarinets), Sarah Johnson  (violins), Conrad Kehn (electronics and vocals), Greg Harris (vibes),  Paul Riola and Lynn Baker(saxophones), Paul Mullikan (drums), Kim Bird  (bass) and Marc Sabatella (piano).

The evening will also feature compositions by Colorado composers Conrad Kehn, Brian Ebert and Marc Sabatella- all walking that fine line classical music, jazz, and popular idioms.


Marc Sabatella– Zone Row G

Brian Ebert– Ubuntu

Conrad Kehn– Ones That Went Wrong

Conrad Kehn– Let’s Try That Next Time

Lynn Baker– Subterranean

Lynn Baker (arr) –  Billy The Kid Suite by Aaron Copland

Soundpainting– live spontaneous composition


Spoke N Motion Dance with the Playground Ensemble

Sunday 6/21 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM
Buy Tickets Here:  http://www.spokenmotiondance.org/performances.html

Join us as we support Spoke N Motion Dance for their Lose Yourself in
Dance program Uniting the talents of dancers with and without disabilities the troupe  is comprised of teens through seniors, with and without vision,  wheelchair bound and able-bodied,individuals recovering from traumatic  brain injury, some with Parkinson’s or autism who all share the LOVE of  dance!


Soundpainting and Tacos!
Every 3rd Saturday at the Denver Art Society, bring your instrument and come play with the Playground as we host an evening of genre bending new music. Come at 6:30pm for a teaching/ review session of the gestures. After that….we paint! Afterwards we enjoy each other’s company over tacos.

June 10, 2015, 1:45 pm
Filed under: News


For more information on the programs listed below please visit

June 12 — OtH Music Workshop Showcase
Oak Street Plaza
4 p.m.-5 p.m.

June 13– A Musical Picnic: Vi Wickam and Friends -– Food. Fiddling. and Fun.
The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
11 a.m-1 p.m.
$3 entrance fee to The Farm

June 15 — Four Centuries: A Quartet Tour (Miami String Quartet)
Private Home
6 p.m.

June 16 – Music Pure and Not So Simple
Bas Bleu Theatre Fort Collins
6 p.m.

June 17-19 –Music of Light Art Show
Community Creative Center (Carnegie Library) 200 Mathews St. Fort Collins
12:00 p.m.-6 p.m.

June 17 — Wizards, Wands and Words
Out on the front lawn at the Community Creative Center (Carnegie Library) 200 Mathews St. Fort Collins
1:30-5 p.m.

June 18 — Print Making
Art Lab, 239 Linden St., Old Town Fort Collins.
1:00-4:00 p.m.

June 18 – Textiles and TECHStyles
Art Lab, 239 Linden St., Old Town Fort Collins.
9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

June 17 — Cows, Cars and Composers
Downtown Artery 252 Linden Street Fort Collins
4:00-4:45 p.m.
$5 Adults, Kids Free

June 18 Czech it Out!
Private Home
6 p.m.

June 19 – Miami String Quartet Master Class
Philomusica Music School Fort Collins
9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
$40 per group

June 19 quARTet Connect (Art Show and Miami String Quartet)
Community Creative Center (Carnegie Library) 200 Mathews St. Fort Collins
5:30-8 p.m.
$10 adults, $5 kids

June 20 Tet a Tet! Quar, Quin, and Oc! (Miami String Quartet’s closing night’s concert)
Community Creative Center (Carnegie Library) 200 Mathews St. Fort Collins
3:30-7 p.m.
$15 adults, $10 kids

June 21 — Miami String Quartet & Bruce Adolphe
The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder.
4:00 p.m.

June 22 — Library Lecture  What’s the Idea? — How science inspires my musical thinking
with Bruce Adolphe
Old Town Library
7 p.m.

June 23 –Dances & Folksongs  with special guest, Mezzo Soprano, Abigail Fischer.
The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder
7 p.m.
$15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 kids

June 24 –Dances & Folksongs  with special guest, Mezzo Soprano, Abigail Fischer.
The Agave Room at The Rio
7 p.m.
$15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 kids

June 27 — 29 — With Music In Mind Conference: Music and the Brain, Meditation and the Zone
Package Ticket Prices: $100 for full weekend of events, $80 for early bird purchase before May 15th
20% discount for all FCMTA and COWOI members.

June 27 –SYMPOSIUM: An in depth discussion about how music and meditation affect the brain
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
12:30-3:30 p.m.

June 27 — In the Zone Session I: Approaching the highest level of self-awareness, concentration and performance through a variety of meditative forms. Host pianist George Lopez, introduces Chuck Wilson (Musician/Producer/Sound Educator), David Secondo (Meditation Coach), and Robert Sher-Machhendl (Artistic Director and Choreographer for Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet) for an in depth discussion of how meditation and being in the zone pertains to everyone from auditioners, young musicians and interviewers, to professional performers and athletes.
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
4:00-5:30 p.m.

Tickets for both June 27th events are $45 before May 15th, $60 after May 15th if purchased for only this session

June 28 — Improv Session: Exploring the Minds’ Ear: Composer and author of The Mind’s Ear, Bruce Adolhpe hosts and introduces the researched benefits of playing an instrument and especially while connecting with other musicians in an improvisatory way. Active improvisation of selected musicians, as well as audience members who would enjoy participating, plus creative games and imagery involved.
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
$10 for just the Improv Session/Reception

June 28 — In the Zone Session II: Neuroplasticity & Movements: Applications of Feldenkrais for Performance:  An introduction to the Feldenkrais Method as it relates to the brain, daily activity and music.
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
12:30-2:30 p.m.
$45 before May 15th, $60 after May 15th (includes this session and the chamber music concert following)

June 28 –Self Comes to Mind: Music, Art and Science Come Together: A chamber music concert featuring cellist Bion Tsang and OtH Colorado Festival Artists.
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
4:00 p.m.
$15 for adults, $5 for kids for just the concert

June 29 — Neuroscience in the Classroom:  An interactive, multi-media exploration for educators.
CSU Tilt Building Auditorium Room 221
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

June 29 — Music, Art, and Science Come Together  in Self Comes to Mind symposium and concert featuring cellist Bion Tsang.
Anschutz Medical Center, Aurora
4-5:30 p.m.
Free event, but registration required.

Zikr Dance Ensemble: Art abounds with mysticism

Sunday afternoon I attended Invocation, the performance of the Zikr Dance Ensemble led by David Taylor. It was entitled Invocation because of its repertoire which depict religious thought and prayers. The program was comprised of seven short dances representing sacred ritual, mystical experience, and the impact of these rituals on the conscious mind.

The first work on the program, a World Premiere, was entitled The Lady of the Lake, and depicts a Knight (the Seeker) who is seeking the sword, Excalibur, which, after King Arthur’s death, was thrown into a lake by Sir Bedivere. The Lady of the Lake helps the seeker attain the first degree of spiritual initiation through the gift of Excalibur.

The story becomes a little complex at this point. Realize (and here I refer to the program notes) that the Zikr in the title of the Zikr Dance Ensemble is an Arabic word meaning “remembrance” of God. This entire dance performance seems to have been inspired by mysticism, and particularly, the mysticism of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1870-1949). He was a mystic who traveled the world in order to be enlightened, and eventually combined aspects of religious thought from the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Catholicism, and Christian mysticism. He ascribed his combinations to several different legends, and even developed physical exercises to help the students develop what he called “presence of being.” Though Gurdjieff was not a dancer, these exercises have provided the basis for choreography, and two of the works on Sunday’s program make use of this choreography.

Though the choreography in the Lady of the Lake was created by David Taylor, the Zikr Dance Ensemble’s version of this ancient story becomes a vision and a metaphor for the seven degrees of spiritual initiation as The Seeker is on a quest to complete the First of the Seven Degrees. The Seeker was danced by Greg Gonzales, and the Lady of the Lake was danced by Tracy Jones. All of you readers will certainly recognize the name of Greg Gonzales as he is a well-known dancer and was Choreographer in Residence for the Colorado Ballet. Tracy Jones arrived in the United States for the 2012-13 season after dancing extensively throughout Europe.

I was immediately struck by the set design which was created by Corey Gilstrap of Imagined Creations. Greg Gonzales was awakened on a bed of rocks, while in the center of the stage mist and smoke created the impression that the body of the dancers were underwater. The dancing was superb in this opening work, and I found myself wishing that it had not been so short. The music that Taylor used for this sequence was Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, Opus 27, Nr. 1, and Debussy’s Prelude, Nr. 10 from Book One, known as the Engulfed Cathedral. It was an excellent choice of music, and I must say that the dancers seem to thrive on it. To my way of thinking this was the best program of the entire concert. At the end of the work, the Lady of the Lake displays to The Seeker the Holy Grail which represents the seventh and final degree of the consciousness of Christ in the mystical depiction of the legend. I might add, that the Grail was a beautiful illuminated sculpture done by Dorothy Tanner and Marc Billard.

The third work on the program was entitled Psalm #1, and again David Taylor relies on another Chopin nocturne in C sharp minor, this one is the Nocturne in C sharp minor, Opus Posthumous. Dana Benton and Francisco Estevez danced this work Sunday. They were absolutely excellent as they always are. The backdrop was a slide of a Cathedral which lent a surprising solemnity to this dance. As many of you will recall, the opening line of this Psalm is: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked…”

This seems the proper opportunity to quote directly from the Zikr Dance Ensembles website:

“The Zikr Dance Ensemble offers a spectrum of works that include transcendent dance rituals from many different ancient world cultures throughout history along with original and contemporary dance/theatre realizations. The company’s purpose is to offer performance experiences of spiritual atonement for both participants and audiences alike, which are both theatrically engaging and educational and that also connect to numerous organizations dedicated to both promoting spiritual tolerance and multi-cultural understanding for the entire community.”

Sunday’s program certainly fell into those guidelines. The fifth work on Sunday was entitled Cathedral of Light. Again, the choreography was done by David Taylor and the music was by Rick Wakeman, a keyboard player who performed with Black Sabbath, the Brotherhood of Man, and Edison Lighthouse. Projected on the back of the stage was the outline of a Cathedral which crumbles at the end. Peter Strand, Bryce Lee, Gregory Gonzales, Brandon Coleman, Alan Gonzales, Kurtis Irwin, and Connor Horak were the dancers in this work which was inspired by the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. The dancing was truly excellent, but I was beginning to wonder if the idea expressed in the above paragraph was really being fulfilled by these dancers and the chosen music. I began to wonder how such a difficult art as dance can be used for the “spiritual atonement of the participants and the audiences.” Certainly, most ballets and dances relate some kind of narrative or demonstrate an artistic gift possessed by those involved, but I am not sure that it offers spiritual atonement.

The sixth work on the program was entitled Zikr, Ho Yah, The Four Prophets. The music was written by George Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartman. De Hartman was a composer from Russia who became a pupil and follower of Gurdjieff’s. Even de Hartman’s wife, Olga, became Gurdjieff’s personal secretary for several years. Thomas de Hartman wrote the music for George Gurdjieff’s exercises and movements which were used at Gurdjieff’s Paris Institute For the Harmonious Development of Man. This work is a zikr circle chant, and it is an authentic reconstruction of a Sufi Zikr ceremony. Connor Horak and Greg Gonzales danced Whirling Dervishes who, in their medieval ceremonies, would spin in divine trance to induce a state of ecstasy.

The final work on Sunday’s program, and the second World Premiere, was Sadhu. Quoting the program notes: “A sadhu is a religious ascetic or holy person who has renounced the material world to devote themselves to spiritual practice. A sadhu wanders from place to place and owns nothing.” Dana Benton danced the title role to the traditional Tibetan Buddhist Monk chants, the music of Deva Premal, and the music of Philip Glass. German vocalist, Deva Premal, is a classically trained singer who concentrates on New Age meditative chants, concentrating on Buddhist and Sanskrit mantras. She is known throughout Europe. The choreography for this work was done by David Taylor. This work offered a climactic finish to the entire concert.

I must say that this was a unique experience for me. And, it was also the first time that I have seen the Zikr Dance Ensemble perform. There were members of this group that I have seen perform many times with the Colorado Ballet, and it was like seeing old friends on stage. There is no question that David Taylor has put together a unique group of dancers who fulfill a unique role. While the main thrust and philosophy of this concert was unexpected, there certainly was some distinctive dancing and choreography. The originality, alone, deserves a larger audience than was in attendance Sunday afternoon.

St. Martin’s Chamber Choir: Inherent artistry from all concerned

Friday evening, May 29, I attended the concert entitled, Byrd 4, given by the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir conducted by Maestro Timothy Krueger. Once again, I was struck by Krueger’s ability to pick compositions that fit so well together on a program. Friday evening there were four works: two short compositions by Tim Sarsany and Donna Wickham (a choir member), and two large compositions, one by John White, and the other by the Renaissance composer, William Byrd.

The first work on the program was Salve mater by Tim Sarsany (b. 1967). Before I continue, I will give you readers a short bio of Tim Sarsany that I have taken from the web:

“Dr. Timothy Sarsany is in his fourteenth year with CGMC [Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus]. He is serving his second year as Artistic Director, following twelve years as Assistant Director. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from The Ohio State University, as well a Master of Music degree in choral conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition. He served on the faculty at The Ohio State University Marion Campus for seven years, where he taught chorus and voice. As a doctoral student in conducting, Tim was the conductor of the University Chorus and taught undergraduate conducting, as well as serving as assistant conductors of the Chorale and Men’s Glee Club. Tim is also an accomplished composer and arranger, and continues to receive commissions from high school, collegiate, professional groups and other GALA choruses nationwide. His sixth published piece “Pater Noster”, an a cappella setting of the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, was released this past year by Roger Dean Publishing. As a singer, Tim is called on frequently as a tenor and countertenor soloist and has performed with the Westerville Civic, Ashland and Springfield Symphonies.”

Sarsany’s Salve mater is a motet with the mot in the tenor of the choir at the opening. The motet is unquestionably one of the most important forms of early polyphony, and to have a 21st century motet begin the program Friday evening was quite appropriate since the final piece by William Byrd is well-nigh the perfect example of Renaissance polyphony. The early motets had themes of borrowed material, or mots, taken from the florid sections of Gregorian chant. These sections, or themes, were given to one voice of the choir, while the other voices were freely composed, most often in counterpoint. Thus, members of the congregation or any audience could recognize the composition. For example, J. S. Bach’s Cantata, Wachet auf, opens with a motet, and uses Martin Luther’s hymn as its mot (one can easily see where the word motet comes from, as the mot plus the counterpoint became known as the motet).

The Sarsany work was remarkably well performed Friday evening from several standpoints. When the choir entered after the initial pronouncement of the theme in the tenors, I was taken with the blend of the choir. Not only is this due to the skill of the composer, but keep in mind that the conductor of a choir has to place the members in such an order that the voices produce a sound which is “total,” rather than hearing one side of the choir as the tenors, the other side of the choir as the bass, etc. Choral conductors of Maestro Krueger’s and James Howe’s ilk have very discriminating ears so that all the voices come from one particular point in the choir. As I have said before about St. Martin’s Choir, they are all carefully chosen as is demonstrated by the remarkable sense of pitch. I assure you that the blend was so perfect that if one person was singing off pitch it would be instantly noticeable. This was a beautiful performance from another standpoint: the obvious devotion and enthusiasm of the choir for what they were singing. That ethereal fervor makes a world of difference in the sound that they produce, and sets them into the world of true musicians. That makes it possible for them to emphasize the major second dissonances that resolved into major or minor thirds. The Conducting Intern, James Howe, who took the baton for this work, created a wonderful sound.

There followed the work by John White, The Canonical Hours. Maestro Krueger described this work in the program notes extremely well emphasizing the use of Renaissance polyphony combined with modern harmonies. This work was specifically composed for St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and premiered by them in 2005. It is a very striking piece with eight sections, all of which share the same forward motion irrespective of their tempo. The piece just keeps moving. For example, the seventh section, Matchless creator of light, was incredibly serene, and yet, it had a 6/8 meter which gave it the feeling of a modern cantilena. Again, this is a work which fit so well with the rest of the program, and with the mass by William Byrd which was the concert’s centerpiece, even though it was last on the program. How could that be, you may ask? The texts which John White used in his composition were all from Medieval authors: St. Ambrose (c. 342–397), St. Gregory (c. 540–604), and Hermannus Contractus (1013-1054). When composers such as John White, Tim Sarsany, Donna Wickham, and William Byrd choose texts, they are, of course, bound by the age in which they lived. It certainly is not unusual for modern composers to use ancient texts; however, if all the works on a given program use texts from the same era, it does make a difference in the overall frame of mind.

Following the intermission, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir performed a short work, Veni Redemptor genitum. In this composition, Donna Wickham used a text from St. Ambrose (340-397). In case some of you readers are unfamiliar with Donna Wickham, I will quote from her bio statement that appears on the DU website:

“Donna Wickham holds a BM in vocal performance and an MM in conducting from the University of Denver. She is the head of the Vocal Jazz program at the Lamont School of Music and teaches music history courses for Colorado Community Colleges Online. Her diverse professional activities include work as a jazz composer, arranger and performer, conductor, keyboardist and electric bass player in genres that range from early music to rock, jazz and avant-garde. Donna’s performance credits include work with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Playground, Colorado Music Festival, Santa Fe New Music, the Denver Concert Band and the Colorado Art Rock Society. She recently released two albums over the course of one month. Her classical quartet named Firesign released an album featuring the world premiere recording of Terry Schlenker’s Mass for Four Voices along with William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices. She followed that with a jazz album featuring her own compositions, entitled Myth and Memory.”

I do not know what translation from the Latin she used, but to me, it seemed exceptional because of the way the English translation rhymed. I don’t know if it was a conscious effort, but when the rhyme at the end of every second line appeared, there was also a corresponding release of tension through the harmony in the music. This was a beautiful piece of music that was distinguished from the other three works on the program by a distinct aura of calmness. Clearly a 21st century composition, the dissonances created by the harmony were not extreme, and, therefore, created a great sense of repose. I sincerely hope that it is programmed again by St. Martin’s Chamber Choir. James Howe, once again, conducted to perfection. He is a fine conductor who communicates very well with the choir.

The final work on the program was the Mass For Four Voices by the English composer, William Byrd (1543-1623). Maestro Krueger, in his pre-concert talk, expressed the belief that this was the finest example of Renaissance settings of the Mass. Clearly, he is absolutely correct. This particular work was written between 1592 and 1593 and, as Maestro Krueger again pointed out, during this time period, it was quite dangerous for Catholics to perform any music of the Mass, and certainly the Mass itself because Catholicism was forbidden in Elizabethan England. Catholics were constantly referred to as “rescuants,” and conducted their religion in the strictest secrecy. It is, however, worthy of note that Byrd was granted special permission by Queen Elizabeth I to print his music in 1575 in spite of his intense commitment to Catholicism.

Byrd’s Mass For Four Voices was unquestionably written for liturgical use by Byrd’s fellow Catholics. It is exuberant and florid, and the writing is largely syllabic, which lends itself well to the clear imitative counterpoint. It contains a remarkable climax in the “dona nobis pacem” (grant us Thy peace), which seems as an ill-disguised plea on behalf of his fellow Catholics.

In their performance of this piece, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir was absolutely brilliant. They were full of emotion, and their blend of voices was again brilliant as well. For the performance of this work, Maestro Krueger had rearranged the positioning of the voices in the choir due to his sensitive ear discerning the difference between Byrd and the opening work by Sarsany. It has been a long time since I have heard this work performed live – perhaps 50 years, and I was awestruck by how the harmonies and the counterpoint appear to be virtually timeless. I attribute a great deal of that to the sensitivity of Timothy Krueger and the singers in the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir.

I applaud the fact that after every performance the choir congregates near the exit of whatever building they perform in, so that the audience can converse with them and express their reaction to the performance. I am continually amazed that these remarkable musicians are always sincerely concerned with how they performed. It is always easy to assure them that they were outstanding.

Boulder Phil Chosen to Participate in Inaugural SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
May 29, 2015, 9:43 am
Filed under: News

New Music Festival Beginning in 2017 Showcases Four Orchestras and Provides National Platform to Celebrate Creativity and Build Community

The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra has been chosen to participate in the new weeklong SHIFT Festival, taking place at the Kennedy Center from March 27 through April 2, 2017. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and the Brooklyn-based ensemble, The Knights, chosen from a pool of exceptional submissions from orchestras across North America, will also be participating.

“On behalf of the Boulder Philharmonic, I am thrilled and honored that we’ve been selected to perform in our nation’s capital alongside some of the finest orchestras in the country,” said Michael Butterman, music director of the Boulder Phil. “For several seasons, we’ve been fine-tuning our new mode for programming, called The Spirit of Boulder, which reflects our community’s own values, creativity, and sense of place. By connecting people to orchestral music, the Boulder Phil strives to be an essential part of our community’s cultural fabric. We couldn’t be more delighted to share what’s working so well in Boulder with those involved in the first SHIFT Festival,” said Butterman.

SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras is a weeklong spotlight on North American orchestras of all sizes that celebrates the vitality, unique identity, and extraordinary artistry of orchestras by creating an immersive festival experience in the nation’s capital. It is the first significant collaboration between the Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts in their shared history. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant for the collaboration, of which $700,000 will be leveraged as matching funds for new gifts to support the program.

In addition to compelling and diverse full-orchestra concert programs performed in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, each of the four orchestras will engage in a mini-residency, interacting with the surrounding community through educational and outreach activities, symposia, and community events in venues throughout Washington, D.C. SHIFT provides a national platform for today’s most innovative orchestras to share a sampling of their most creative and provocative work that embodies the individual orchestra’s identity, community, and artistic vision. Main stage concerts will be ticketed at $25, alongside a combination of ticketed and free events throughout the city.

In recent seasons the Boulder Phil has collaborated with an impressive 45 local organizations, encompassing arts, science, nature, youth, social services and more. From multi-genre productions featuring dance, choral and visual elements to concerts with a unique hometown flavor, the Boulder Phil strives to reflect and foster all that makes Boulder special: its creativity, spirit, natural beauty, and quest for knowledge.

This sensitivity to the community’s circumstances blossomed during the Boulder Phil’s 2013-14 season, entitled Nature & Music. Programming capitalized on Boulder residents’ love of the city’s natural setting by exploring the many ways composers have been inspired by nature. Community partnerships were key in the success of this programming initiative. The Boulder Phil connected the music directly to the surrounding open space lands by instituting a popular series of guided musical hikes. These both brought concert attendees outdoors, while also enticing nature enthusiasts into the concert hall.

The programs and outreach activities for the SHIFT Festival all draw from this collection of successful Nature & Music programs. Proposed festival activities include nature hikes in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek, led by naturalist Dave Sutherland, from Boulder’s Open Space & Mountain Parks, “stroll-to” outdoor performances by Boulder Phil ensembles, composer talks, and a full-orchestra performance in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, March 28, 2017, which includes a performance of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, featuring Boulder’s Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance.

“The SHIFT Festival showcases how America’s orchestras have shifted their visions to reflect the music and programming that’s unique to their own communities,” said Butterman. “We couldn’t be more honored to share our vision of the Boulder Phil, The Spirit of Boulder, with other orchestras across the country, doing the same thing.”

Program, The Kennedy Center, March 28, 2017

Michael Butterman, Music Director
Steven Lias, Composer
John Fielder, Photographer
Jeff Midkiff, Mandolinist & Composer
Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance

STEPHEN LIAS-Rocky Mountain National Park Commission
World premiere, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service
Photography by John Fielder
JEFF MIDKIFF-Mandolin Concerto: From the Blue Ridge
Jeff Midkiff, mandolin
STEVE HEITZEG-Ghosts of the Grasslands
AARON COPLAND-Appalachian Spring with Boulder’s Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance

About the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
As one of Colorado’s premier ensembles, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is bucking national trends with growing, enthusiastic audiences under the vision and leadership of Music Director Michael Butterman. The Boulder Phil’s main concert series-broadcast state-wide on Colorado Public Radio-is presented at Macky Auditorium, a historic jewel on the University of Colorado campus. During Michael Butterman’s tenure, the Boulder Phil’s imaginative programming has resulted in increasing numbers of sold-out concerts and a 70% increase in subscriptions.

Founded in 1958, the Boulder Phil became a fully professional ensemble under the leadership of Theodore Kuchar, whose tenure as music director began in 1996. Today the Boulder Phil is increasingly in demand across the Denver metro area, with regular invitations to perform at the prestigious Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Under Michael Butterman’s direction, the Phil has welcomed composers such as Christopher Theofanidis, Daniel Kellogg, Rony Barak, Ruby Fulton, Philip Lasser, and Bill Douglas. The Boulder Phil has performed with many of classical music’s greatest stars, including Itzhak Pearlman, Hilary Hahn, Yo-Yo Ma, Mstislav Rostropovich, James Galway and Richard Stoltzman. The Boulder Phil dedicated an entire concert in collaboration with the world renowned Takács Quartet and has an ongoing relationship with violinist Sarah Chang, whose first orchestral appearance was with the Boulder Phil at age 8 just prior to her debut with the New York Philharmonic.

The Boulder Phil strives to inspire the next generation of music lovers through Discovery Concerts that have reached thousands of 4th and 5th grade students in 28 schools across three counties. For decades the Phil has also fostered new talent with the annual Young Artist Concerto Competition, and Boulder Phil musicians provide mentorship through side-by-side youth orchestra concerts. In all these ways, the Boulder Phil strives to be at the center of our community’s cultural fabric.


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