Longmont Museum’s new Stewart Auditorium gains musical partners and a piano

Boulder Bach Festival announces “Bach-in-Longmont” performances at the Auditorium in 2015 and ‘16

By Peter Alexander

Interior of the new Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum. Photo by Peter Alexander

Interior of the new Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum. Photo by Peter Alexander

“Build it and they will come.”

Shoeless Joe must have been talking to the people at the Longmont Museum. They did build it, and already they have started to come.

“It” is a new auditorium, the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum, which was just finished and opened earlier this month. And “they” are performers—some from Boulder—looking for an intimate performance space.

View form the Swan Atrium of the Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

View form the Swan Atrium of the Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

The auditorium is part of an expansion of the museum that doubles its pubic space. In addition to the Stewart Auditorium and its Swan Atrium, the expansion also adds the Kaiser Permanente Education Center, with flexible configurations allowing for three classrooms or one large meeting space seating 115.

The expansion was built with funds from a $4.5 million capital campaign that had the support of more than 300 donors. The largest gift came from the Stewart family for whom the auditorium is named.

Lila Stewart and the Shigeru Kawai piano that she has given to the Longmont Museum's Stewart Auditotrium

Lila Stewart and the Shigeru Kawai piano that she has given to the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium

“We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the Stewart family, who made the largest local gift in our community’s history,” Longmont Museum director Wes Jessup said. The Stewart family, including Lila Stewart, her late husband Bill, and their daughter Linda, were members of the Longmont business community for nearly four decades.

Lila Stewart has added to that original gift with the purchase and donation of the piano that was used during the auditorium’s opening event June 14: a 7-foot-6-inch Shigeru Kawai valued at $75,000. Stewart recently announced the gift of the piano, which was on loan from the Boulder Piano Gallery, in the name of her late daughter Linda Stewart.

Among the performers at the auditorium opening was violinist Zachary Carrettin, director of the Boulder Bach Festival, and pianist Mina Gajić, the festival’s director of education and outreach. Carrettin and Gajić have announced that the Bach Festival will hold three concerts at the Stewart Auditorium during the 2015–16 season. These concerts, which will supplement the Bach Festival’s “home season” in Boulder, will be presented under the heading Bach-in-Longmont.

Auditorium manager David Ortolano at the lighting controls of the Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Auditorium manager David Ortolano at the lighting controls of the Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Following the opening weekend, Carrettin commented: “The hall is magnificent! I’m so happy it will be a venue for us, both for the Bach-in-Longmont concerts as well as some of the education events in the Kaiser Permanente Education Center.

“Boulder Bach Festival has developed an audience of Longmont residents through performances in Longmont at the First Lutheran Church and the historic Ryssby Church. With the unveiling of the new Stewart Auditorium, we decided to launch a new series called Bach-in-Longmont. Some programs will be repeated in Boulder or Denver, but the final season concert will only take place in Longmont.”

Carrettin said he was delighted to be bringing some the Bach Festival programs up to Longmont, especially since the opening of the Stewart Auditorium. “Longmont is doing some spectacular things,” he said.

The Bach-in-Longmont concerts scheduled in Stewart Auditorium for 2015–16 will be:

BBF-2014-15-season-brochure-pdf“Italian Roots”: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, with harpsichord soloist and Bach scholar Matthew Dirst, Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, and violinist Michiko Theurer. The performance will offer an antiphonal presentation of pre-Bach Italian works in a variety of genres, followed by works of Bach that feature Italianate writing, including the D-minor Harpsichord Concerto and Cantata No. 82a, Ich habe genug.

“Venice On Fire”: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19, 2016. The artists for this performance will be the new Boulder Bach core ensemble of flexible string players performing on electric instruments, led by Carrettin and Theurer.

“Bach, Brahms, and a Grand Érard Piano”: 7 p.m. SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2016, with Carrettin, Gajić and horn player Thomas Jöstlein, associate principal horn of the St. Louis Symphony and a member of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. The featured work on the program will be Brahms’ Horn Trio, played on period of instruments of the composer’s lifetime, to be preceded by works of Bach played on a late 19th-century piano. [Please note: The listed date is a change from the previously announced date of Friday, May 20. Sunday, May 15 is the correct date for this performance.]

The Stewart Auditorium was designed by OZ Architecture, the same firm that designed the Longmont Museum’s original 2002 building. Bassett & Associates of Centennial led the construction team. It was designed to provide performance space for small musical ensembles, films, lectures, theatre and dance. Future programming includes the performances by the Boulder Bach Festival, as well as collaborations with Arts Longmont and the Longmont Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to gifts form the Stewart family, other contributions have been made to the piano and the musical program, including a pledge of $5,000 from the Gretchen Beall Community Fund, which is administered by the Longmont Community Foundation. Those funds will go toward the ongoing care of the piano, as well as performances.

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