2021 Colorado Music Festival will include in-person and live streaming options

Season will offer 22 performances at Chautauqua Auditorium July 1–­Aug. 7

By Peter Alexander March 29 at 10 a.m.

The Colorado Music Festival’s 2021 summer season will include both live in-person performances at the Boulder Chautauqua Auditorium, and live streams you can view from home.

Chautauqua Auditorium

These will be the first in-person CMF performances at Chautauqua since the end of the 2019 season. Last year, the planned summer season was cancelled and replaced with a series of intimate performances featuring selected guest artists and interviews by the CMF Music Director, Peter Oundjian.

In a release from the festival, CMF executive director Elizabeth McGuire is quoted saying “After moving to a virtual festival in 2020, we look forward to offering safe, socially-distanced concerts, alongside streaming options for several of this season’s concerts. We want these performances to be available to as many people as possible.”

CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian

Oundjian is quoted in the same news release: “In our 2021 season, we wish to commemorate the challenges of the pandemic, while celebrating the return to live, communal music-making.”

The summer’s schedule will parallel previous summers in many ways: Major orchestra concerts will be played on Thursdays at 7:30 (July 1–Aug. 5); four of the six Thursday concerts will be repeated on the following Friday, this year at 6:30 p.m.; chamber concerts featuring renowned guest artists and CMF musicians, will be Tuesday nights (July 6–Aug. 3); and there will be concerts on Sunday evenings featuring smaller orchestral forces (July 11–Aug. 1). 

The annual family concert, this year with Really Inventive Stuff performing Francis Poulenc’s Story of Babar, will be at 11 a.m. on the opening Saturday of the season, July 3. And the season will conclude at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7. Oundjian will lead orchestra concerts the first week of the festival, and weeks three through six, with guest conductors David Danzmayr and Ludovic Morlot picking up weeks two and three (see full schedule below).

Joan Tower. Photo by Bernie Mindich

There will be some notable innovations this year. The Tuesday chamber concerts will be known as the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series. Named for Robert Mann—composer, conductor, founding first violin of the Juilliard String Quartet and mentor to CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian—the series will feature CMF orchestra members, as well as three string quartets making their CMF debut appearances.

The first, on July 13, will be the Juilliard Quartet, which retains Mann’s legacy. The St. Lawrence String Quartet, once coached by Mann, will perform July 20, and the Danish String Quartet will present a strikingly original program, including a collection of dances, loosely modeled on the Baroque dance suites and assembled by the quartet from works by different composers, on Aug. 3.

The 2021 Festival will include four world premieres: commissions from Hannah Lash (July 22), Joan Tower (July 25) and Joel Thompson (Aug. 5), and a new work from Aaron Jay Kernis on opening night that will commemorate victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The concert on July 25 will be devoted entirely to works by Tower, who plans to attend the performance.

Summer artist-in-residence will be violinist Augustin Hadelich, who appeared at the festival in 2018, and was scheduled for the 2020 Festival. When the latter was canceled, he made a solo appearance from Oundjian’s home as one of the summer’s online presentations. This year he will play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Oundjian and the Festival Orchestra on opening night, Thursday, July 1, and Friday, July 2; and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Thursday, July 29, and Friday, July 30.

Olga Kern, pianist, photographed by Chris Lee at Steinway Hall.

There will be other Beethoven performances through the summer: Symphony No. 7 on the opening concert (July 1 and 2); an orchestration of String Quartet No. 14, op. 131 (July 22); the Quintet for piano and winds, op. 16 and the Septet, op. 20 (July 27); Symphony No. 3 (Aug. 5) and Symphony No. 5 on the final concert (Aug. 7). Other traditional Classical repertoire will be represented through works by Haydn, Mozart, Brahms and Mendelssohn scattered through the summer.

Other solo artists during the summer will include CMF favorite Olga Kern (July 15–16), pianist Stewart Goodyear, violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, pianist Conrad Tao, marimbist Ji Su Jung, pianist Christopher Taylor, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and saxophonist Steven Banks. Boulder resident and longtime CMF supporter Chris Christoffersen will narrate Copland’s Lincoln Portrait (Aug. 1).

Tickets for the 2021 season will be for sale on the CMF Web page beginning April 20. The CMF release also noted that “guidance for safe social distancing practices will be observed closely in the months to come and will most likely include limiting the number of orchestra members on stage.“The event’s venue, Chautauqua Auditorium, will implement a COVID-19 safety plan throughout the 2021 season, including the latest guidelines for spacing between seats, distance between performers and audience members, and mask requirements for all.” Information and updates to the Chautauqua safety plan will be posted on the venue’s Web site.

CMF is offering a remote viewing experience for the 2021 Colorado Music Festival with a selection of the performances available via live streaming. For a full list of live-streaming performances and to purchase tickets beginning April 20, click here.

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Colorado Music Festival 2021
Season programs
All performances in the Chautauqua Auditorium

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 1
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 2
Opening Night
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Augustin Hadelich, violin

Aaron Jay Kernis: Elegy (to those we’ve lost) (world premiere)
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92

11 a.m. Saturday, July 3
Family Concert: The Story of Babar
Really Inventive Stuff, Erina Yashima, conductor

Leopold Mozart: Toy Symphony
Francis Poulenc: The story of Babar, the Little Elephant

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
String Quintets
CMF Orchestra Members

Mozart: Viola Quintet in G minor, K516
Brahms: Viola Quintet in G major, op. 111

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 8 
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 9
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Stewart Goodyear, piano

Jessie Montgomery: Strum
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 22
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 11
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Angelo Xiang Yu, violin

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Novelleten for string orchestra, nos. 3 and 4
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216
Haydn: Symphony No. 104 in D major (“London”)

Juilliard String Quartet

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 13
Juilliard String Quartet

Ravel: String Quartet in F major
Henri Dutilleux: Ainsi la Nuit (Thus the night)
Dvořák: String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)

7:30 Thursday, July 15
6:30 Friday, July 16
Ludovic Morlot, conductor, with Olga Kern, piano

Dvořák: Legends, op. 59 (6, 7 and 9)
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, op. 25 (“Classical”)
Haydn: Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII:11
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, op. 35

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18
Ludovic Morlot, conductor, with Conrad Tao, piano

Mozart: Ballet Music from Idomeneo, K367
Mozart: Piano Concerto in A major, K488
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20
St. Lawrence String Quartet

Haydn: String Quartet in D major, op. 20 no. 4
John Adams: String Quartet No. 1
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, op. 10

Ji Su Jung

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Ji Su Jung, marimba

Hannah Lash: Forestallings (world premiere)
Kevin Puts: Concerto for Marimba
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14, op. 131 (orchestrated by Peter Oundjian)

7:30 p.m. Friday, July 23
“Kaleidoscope”
CMF Orchestra strings and percussion, with 
Christopher Taylor, piano, and Ji Su Jung, marimba

Nebojsa Zivkovic: Trio per Uno
Nico Muhly: Big Time for String Quartet and Percussion
Peter Klatzow: Concert Marimba Etudes
Derek Bermel: Turning
Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert (Part IIC)
Leigh Howard Stevens: Rhythmic Caprice
William Bolcom: Piano Quintet No. 2

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25
Music of Joan Tower
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 5
Joan Tower: Made in America
Joan Tower: Duets
Joan Tower: Cello Concerto (world premiere)

Augustin Hadelich

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27
Colorado Music Festival Orchestra members

Beethoven: Quintet for piano and winds in E-flat major, op. 16
Beethoven: Septet in E-flat major, op. 20

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 30
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Augustin Hadelich, violin

Carl Maria von Weber: Overture to Oberon 
Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, op. 61

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Steven Banks, saxophone, and
Chris Christoffersen, narrator

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Florence Price: String Quartet No. 2 (Movement 2)
Alexander Glazunov: Saxophone Concerto in E-flat major, op. 109
Jacques Ibert: Concertino da Camera
Copland: Lincoln Portrait

Brooklyn Rider

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3
Danish String Quartet
PROGRAM CHANGE: Due to COVID, the Danish String Quartet is unable to travel to the United States. This date will be filled by the Brooklyn Rider string quartet. Their program will be:

  • Carolyn Shaw: Schisma
  • Oswaldo Golijov: Tenebrae
  • Schubert: Styring Quartet No 14 (“Death and the Maiden”)

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5
Peter Oundjian, conductor

Joel Thompson: World Premiere commission
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, op. 55 (“Eroica”)

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7
Festival Finale
Peter Oundjian, conductor

Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzon septimi toni à 8, arr. R.P. Block
Dvořák: Serenade for Wind Instruments in D minor, op. 44
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op. 67

Conductor Peter Oundjian with the CMF Orchestra (2019)

Tickets on sale beginning April 20 on the CMF Web page

CU Faculty Member wins “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” Grammy

Violist Richard O’Neill, newest member of the Takacs Quartet, wins first Grammy award

By Peter Alexander March 22 at 3:51 p.m.

Violist Richard O’Neill, member of the CU College of Music faculty and the Takacs Quartet, has won the Grammy award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo.”

His recording of Christopher Theofanidis’ Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra with David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony (Albany Records TROY1816, released August 2020) was nominated along with these recordings: 
• pianist Kirill Gerstein playing the Thomas Adès Piano Concerto, with Adès and the Boston Symphony; 
• pianist Igor Levit playing the complete Beethoven piano sonatas; 
• violinist Augustin Hadelich playing “Bohemian Tales,” a collection of music by Dvořák, Janáček and Josef Suk, with Jakub Hrůša and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; and
• pianist Daniil Trifonov playing the Second and Fourth piano concertos of Rachmaninov with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

O’Neill was caught by surprise last year when the nominees were announced. This time, of course he knew that he was in the running for the award and when the awards would be announced, but he nearly got caught by surprise again. For one thing, he looked at the distinguished list of other nominees, and thought, ‘OK, we’re going to lose’.”

For another, the streamed Grammy ceremony was held Sunday, March 14, the same day that Boulder was under a heavy blanket of snow. O’Neill had arranged to attend the ceremony online, but Sunday morning his internet kept going out. “I was like, ‘How am I going to be able to Zoom if I don’t have internet?’” he says. He even planned to walk to his studio in the CU Imig Music Building if he had to—since he couldn’t get out of his driveway.

Finally, the internet came back on just in time, but the ceremony was running ahead of schedule. “There was supposed to be 30 minutes buffer, and then you’re on,” he says. “I tuned in and it was basically five minutes to go! So I was like, ‘Holy, bleep!’ 

“And when they said ‘the Grammy goes to,’ I almost burst into tears. I just wasn’t expecting it.”

Richard O’Neill

To keep the ceremony on schedule, each recipient is allowed just 30 seconds to thank everyone. “There’s a very conspicuous clock, and it started right as they announced my name. Basically, they’ll just cut you off! It’s very, very short, but I tried my best to get everybody thanked. It was a really great, great moment, and then my phone was going crazy with all my friends who were watching.”

After than, O’Neill was asked to enter the virtual press room to take questions, and later he had several interviews with press from South Korea, where he is very well known. He took a quick break to step outside and gather his thoughts and chat with his neighbors, who were all out clearing their driveways and had no idea that he had just won a Grammy.

This was O’Neill’s third nomination for a Grammy and his first win. He also has won an Emmy Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has an extensive record of working with living composers, including the premieres of works written for him. Theofanidis’s Concerto was written for the distinguished violist Kim Kashkashian in 2002 and revised for O’Neill in preparation of his performances and recording.

O’Neill joined the Takacs Quartet in June of 2020, replacing Geraldine Walther as the group’s violist. He has appeared in streamed performances by the quartet, and in a handful of concerts before small, distanced audiences, but has not yet appeared onstage before a live Boulder audience.

Reflecting on the past year, O’Neill says it has been tough. He moved to Boulder, he joined the Takacs Quartet and the CU faculty, planned tours as solo artist and with the Takacs were interrupted by the pandemic, and his mother has had breast cancer—“This has been a long haul,” he says. 

“It feels good to have something nice happen.”

Central City Opera moves 2021 mainstage productions to Hudson Gardens

Outdoor venue will host socially-distanced RigolettoCarousel

By Peter Alexander March 19 at 1:50 p.m.

Central City Opera has announced that due to COVID precautions, their 2021 mainstage productions—Verdi’s Rigoletto and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway hit Carousel—will not be performed in their intimate theater in Central City.

Hudson Gardens Concert Amphitheater

Instead, CCO has partnered with Hudson Gardens in Littleton to present both productions in an open-air theater. The summer’s third production, Henry Purell’s Dido and Aeneas, will be presented outdoors in Central City, in the Opera House Gardens, as will the CCO AL Fresco concert series. All three operas were postponed from the planned 2020 season, which was canceled.

In a media release sent out in early March, Central City Opera’s general/artistic director Pelham “Pat” Pearce was quoted saying, “We had hoped that by now it would be safe to return to the Opera House and resume normal operations.

“In order to prioritize the health and safety of our patrons, performers and company members, we determined it was necessary to secure an outdoor venue in order to return to live, in-person performances this summer. We are thrilled to partner with Hudson Gardens to host our 2021 Festival in their beautiful outdoor amphitheater.”

CCO will release tickets in phases, in accordance with the State of Colorado and CDC guidelines for capacity in the Hudson Gardens Concert Amphitheater. Subscribers to the 2020 season will be contacted b the CCO Box Office about tickets options for the 2021 season. Single tickets will go on sale in late April. Free parking will be available at Hudson Gardens, and subscribers will have priority access to purchase reserved parking. Other policies for the summer—including weather policies and the opera bus—are currently under review and will be announced in coming days. For more information, access CCOs 2021 Festival Frequently Asked Questions here

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Central City Opera
Summer Festival 2021

Carousel
Music by Richard Rogers, book by Oscar Hammerstein

7 p.m. Saturday, July 3; Friday, July 9; Tuesday, July 13; Thursday, July 15; Saturday, July 17; Friday, July 23; Tuesday, July 27; Thursday, July 29
3 p.m. Wednesday July 7; Sunday, July 11; Sunday, July 25; Thursday, July 29; Sunday, August 1

Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colo.

Rigoletto
Music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave

7 p.m. Saturday, July 10; Friday, July 16; Tuesday, July 20; Thursday, July 22; Saturday, July 24; Wednesday, July 28; Friday, July 30
3 p.m. Wednesday, July 14; Sunday, July 18; Tuesday, July 27

Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colo.

Dido and Aeneas
Music by Henry Purcell, libretto by Nahum Tate

1 p.m. Saturday, July 17; Tuesday, July 20; Thursday, July 22; Wednesday, July 28

Central City Opera House Gardens

Information and tickets

“A CELLO-BRATION”: THE CELLO TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT

Soloist Zuill Bailey joins the Boulder Phil for an intimate, cello-centric program. 

By Izzy Fincher March 11 at 9:35 p.m.

“Why write for violin when there is cello?” Rachmaninov asked. 

There is something particularly captivating about the cello, with its sonorous tenor and subtle grandeur. It is wildly expressive—lyrical, passionate and romantic, yet also mournful and solemn, and profound in a way that captures the heart and soul.

Zuill Bailey

To celebrate this instrument, the Boulder Phil will present “A Celebration of Cello” with soloist Zuill Bailey, streamed from 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 13.

The cello-centric program includes a reduced instrumentation of Schumann’s Cello Concerto and a double-cello concerto by contemporary Italian composer Giovanni Sollima. Other works on the program are a violin trio by the Phil’s own Paul Trapkus, plus works by Debussy and Wagner.

Bailey, a Grammy-award winning cellist, will lead the “cello-bration.” He will appear on two contrasting concertos, which displays the cello’s multifaceted personality. In Schumann’s Concerto in A minor, the cello’s sensitive lyricism is shown, while Sullima’s double- concerto, to be performed with Boulder Phil principal cellist Charles Lee, exhibits more of the cello’s boldness and virtuosity.

“In Schumann’s concerto, the cello is refined and elegant,” Boulder Phil conductor Michael Butterman says. “Whereas in Sollima’s (double concerto), the cello is an outgoing, extroverted rebel. The cadenza feels like rock’n’roll—it shreds. It’s crazy, with a lot of flash, energy and edginess.”

Lee believes the energetic double-cello concerto, titled “Violencelles, Vibrez!” (Cellos, vibrate!), will be a highlight of the program. Sollima, an Italian cellist and post-minimalist composer, juxtaposes the cello’s different moods, moving from brooding, dark echoes to a sweet, lyrical duet to a brisk, vivacious cadenza. 

Charles Lee at rehearsal with the Boulder Phil

“It starts very mysterious and lyrical with long, romantic lines, using lots of vibrato, sustaining sounds,” Lee says. “The added element of two cellists alternating gives it a special effect, like an echoing cave.” 

In the opening, the two cello lines weave together, nearly indistinguishable from each other. “At first, it’s not so striking that there are two cellos when you don’t focus on the visuals,” Lee says.

Later, the distinct cello parts emerge in captivating musical dialogue, riffing off each other’s energy in a virtuosic display. Lee described the cadenza with Bailey as exciting but very challenging to play. 

The rest of the program focuses on orchestral works, adapted for a smaller chamber setting, including Debussy’sPrelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll,” an intimate musical love letter to his wife Cosima. 

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun has been arranged for chamber orchestra, created by Schoenberg’s student Benno Sachs during World War I. It was first played for Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances, a chamber concert series held in Vienna from 1918 to 1921. 

During the war and the 1918 Flu Pandemic, chamber series like this one were popular in Europe due to limited financial resources and available musicians. Now, in our current pandemic, the reorchestration is once again ideal for a smaller, socially-distanced orchestra. 

Though the cello isn’t directly in the spotlight in either work, it still plays a more prominent role than usual. “When you adapt a large work for a smaller ensemble, the cellos become even more noticeable and exaggerated,” Lee says.

“We usually aren’t the go-to melody instrument (in larger works). When the cellos take the melody, it’s a treat.”

The violin, however, does snatch back the orchestral spotlight with Trapkus’ Trio for 3 Violins. Trapkus, a former violinist for the Boulder Phil, is also an active composer, who has written four works for string quartet and string ensemble. “Trio for 3 Violins,” written in 2012, features the three violins as equal soloists, and its energetic, minimalistic aesthetic is similar to Sullima’s Violencelles, Vibrez!.  

Paul Trapkus

Butterman is excited for the Boulder Phil to perform Trapkus’s trio for the first time. He believes the Boulder Municipal Airport’s hangar, where the concert was filmed last fall, is an ideal setting for the trio, far more intimate than Macky Auditorium.  

“(The trio) is a work that I found interesting, tuneful and appealing on first hearing,” Butterman says. “It uses a lot of repeated, minimalistic patterns. There’s a lot of interplay, exchanges of ideas and taking turns between the three equal violin parts.”

Despite the brief violin interlude, the concert is still a “cello-bration” through and through. For cello lovers, it should be a special treat—a musical extravaganza with two talented soloists.

As Bailey comments, “I always say the only thing better than a cello is two cellos.”

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“A Celebration of Cello”
The Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor. with
Zuill Bailey and Charles Lee, cellos

Debussy, arr. Schoenberg: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Schumann, arr. Philip Lasser: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
Paul Trapkus: Trio for 3 Violins
Giovanni Sollima: Violencelles, Vibrez!
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll

Tickets can be purchased for $40 here. The concert can be streamed starting at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 13. 

‘Exploring Cultural Identities’: Mosaic or Melting Pot?

March 9 CU Faculty Tuesday performance takes a look at identity in music

By Izzy Fincher March 4 at 11:55 p.m.

Is our cultural identity more of a mosaic or a melting pot?

With a cultural mosaic, individuals retain their distinct ethnic identities, while coexisting as a greater whole. With a melting pot, ethnic identities mix together, assimilating to create a singular culture.

Alexandra Nguyễn

In “Exploring Cultural Identities,” three CU Boulder professors, pianist Alexandra Nguyen, violinist Claude Sim and cellist David Requiro, will tackle this dichotomy of cultural representation versus assimilation by exploring Asian and Slavic cultural identities in classical music. The program will include compositions by Zoltan Kodaly from Hungary, Alexina Louie from Canada and Antonín Dvořák from Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic).

“Exploring Cultural Identities” will be streamed on CU Presents at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9, as part of CU Boulder’s Faculty Tuesday concert series.

“Presenting music through the lens of cultural identity is a fascinating exploration,” Sim says. “I believe that we truly play as we are. In other words, our artistry is a result of our diverse backgrounds, heritage and upbringing.”

Nguyen curated the program for “Exploring Cultural Identities” to pay tribute to her diverse heritage, later choosing her collaborators Sim and Requiro. As a Vietnamese Canadian, Nguyen often doesn’t see her identity reflected in the music she plays. 

“As an Asian woman, I am playing music by dead white men a majority of the time,” Nguyen says. “How can I relate to this music?”

To represent her own cultural identity, Nguyen has decided to champion Asian composers, particularly Louie, a Chinese Canadian. She feels very connected to Louie, who shares her Asian-Canadian heritage.

Alexina Louie

“In Canada, your heritage is a substantial part of your identity,” Nguyen says. “But in the U.S., the approach is very different. You want to blend in. No one wants to be the ‘other’.”

Nguyen will be playing Louie’s most famous work for solo piano, Scenes from a Jade Terrace, written in 1988, as the second piece on the program. The suite is filled with references to Chinese culture and folklore, while the harmonic language is colorful and complex, similar to contemporary composers George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen. 

David Requiro

Overall, the suite is aggressive in its texture and timbre. The first movement, “Warrior,” depicts the ghost of an ancient warrior and combines aggressive virtuosity with vulnerability. The second movement, ”Memories in an Ancient Garden,” feels eerily peaceful. Louie’s written direction on the score reflects this poetic, dreamy feeling, as she tells the performer “to play as if intoxicated by the scent of a thousand blossoms.” In the final movement, “Southern Sky,” the music depicts a dynamic starry night, as fast notes explode from the piano with sudden dynamic changes and intense dissonances. 

To complement Louie’s suite, Nguyen wanted to pivot toward exploring cultural identity through a European lens. She decided to program chamber music written by two Slavic composers, Kodaly and Dvořák, and to explore the role of Slavic nationalism in 19th and 20th century classical music. “Kodaly and Dvořák are two composers who felt strongly about their cultural identity and national heritage and (wanted to) reflect it in their music,” Nguyen says. 

Claude Sim

The program will begin with Nguyen and Requiro performing Kodaly’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 4, which incorporates harmonies and dance forms from Hungarian folk music. To finish the concert, Requiro and Sim join Nguyen for Dvořák’s Piano Trio No. 4, Op. 90, nicknamed the “Dumky.” The trio uses elements of Bohemian folk music. The six-movement work is a “dumka,” a form used by Slavic composers to indicate a brooding, contemplative lament interspersed with cheerful, rhythmic, dance-like moments.

For her next Faculty Tuesday concert, Nguyen aims to go even further with her exploration of cultural identities with an all-Asian program with Asian performers. She wants to represent distinct cultural mosaics in CU Boulder’s concert hall, as her personal contribution to more diversity and inclusivity in classical music.  

“If we want to represent all voices, then we have to perform all those voices,” Nguyen says. “If we want to respect all voices, then we have to hear them all.” 

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“Exploring Cultural Identities”
Alexandra Nguyen, piano; Claude Sim, violin; and David Requiro, cello 

Zoltan Kodaly: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 4
Alexina Louie: Scenes from a Jade Terrace
Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 4, Op. 90 (“Dumky Trio”)

Streamed here at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 

Free or pay what you can.