Colorado Music Festival gets off to a festive beginning

First concert has everything you could want for opening night

By Peter Alexander June 28 at 12:25 a.m.

The Colorado Music Festival got off to a genuinely festive start last night (June 27).

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CMF Festival Orchestra—photo by Michael Quam

The opening night concert, conducted by Peter Oundjian with pianist Natasha Paremski as soloist, had everything you could want for opening night: spectacular orchestral fireworks, a virtuosic concerto with a virtuoso soloist, and not one but two exciting overtures.

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CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian

To judge by the performance, Oundjian is not afraid to let loose the horses—meaning the impressively solid and forceful brass section of the CMF Festival Orchestra—when called for. More on that later, but the entire orchestra made a very strong impression. Let us hope that Oundjian has steadied the festival after several awkward transitions, and will carry CMF forward on a consistent and high artistic level.

The program, which will be repeated at 7:30 p.m. tonight (June 28) in the Chautauqua Auditorium, began with a clean, solid performance of Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont. Oundjian paced the performance well, bringing out the contrasts of dynamics and tempo leading to a powerful “Victory Symphony” to end the overture.

Egmont’s presence on the program reflects the summer’s theme, “Beethoven’s Path to the Future,” wherein many of the concerts will include a work by Beethoven, and then pieces that in some way reflect Beethoven’s foreshadowing of later musical developments.

The meaning of that theme was best described by Oundjian in his remarks at the concert. It’s not that Beethoven directly influenced every composer that came after him; rather, he said, “Beethoven gave license to future composers” to follow their inspiration in unexpected directions.

The short overture was followed by a very long break while the piano was brought on stage and chairs repositioned for Paremski and the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto. The break was too long; however awkward it might look, I would prefer to have the piano onstage during the overture, with the lid down, than to have so much dead time between pieces.

As a great and much-loved Romantic concerto, the Rachmaninoff Second fit this program’s theme, “Beethoven’s Path to Romanticism.” Paremski played with an appropriately big sound without crossing into an abrasive tone quality, and from the very beginning was in total command of the score. Oundjian brought out the surging orchestral climaxes, although there were moments when the pianist’s efforts were more seen than heard.

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Natasha Paremski

Best of all was the second movement, especially the chamber-like passages, including some lovely woodwind solos that are essentially accompanied by rippling arpeggios in the piano. All the shifting moods of the Romantic palette were effectively expressed in this movement, and Paremski’s fleet passagework and sparkling trills were the icing on a very fine cake.

The finale was impressive from pianist and orchestra, fast, exciting and well controlled. Once again the CMF horses came blazing out of the corral, this time without obscuring the soloist, and the brilliant ending garnered the expected ovation.

After intermission, the orchestra returned for the Overture to Verdi’s melodramatic opera La forza del destino (The force of destiny). Oundjian steered the orchestra successfully through the overture’s many shifting moods. All the drama, pathos and nervous energy of the highly episodic piece were present and well expressed. This overture is not often heard in the concert hall, so it was a real pleasure to hear it so well performed by Oundjian and the CMF players.

Respighi’s Pines of Rome, which ended the concert, is the perfect piece to show off the Festival Orchestra’s strengths. The scintillating first movement (Pines of the Villa Borghese) was a brilliant explosion of orchestral colors. The second and third movements (portraying pines near a catacomb and on the Janiculum, respectively) featured beautiful solo wind playing—a haunting, lyrical trumpet in the second, a delicate and utterly exposed clarinet, along with flute, and oboe plus a solo cello in the third.

But it is the final movement, the grand and forceful crescendo of the Pines of the Appian Way, portraying the inexorable advance of a Roman Legion, that everyone remembers from Respighi’s colorful score. Here it was relentless and loud and utterly exciting—just what is wanted to start a season. You have one more chance to hear this program: don’t miss it.

Tickets to tonight’s concert are available through the Chautauqua Box Office.

 

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“Beethoven’s Path to Romanticism” opens CMF June 27

First two weeks, June 27–July 9, set the pattern for the summer festival

By Peter Alexander June 27 at 4 p.m.

The Colorado Music Festival opens its 2019 season tonight (Thursday, June 27) with Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, followed by a series of works that form a bridge forward into the Romantic era.

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Natasha Paremski will play Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. Photo by Clarence Chan

CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian will conduct the Festival Orchestra, and Russian-American pianist Natasha Paremski will perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. The program, also featuring Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destinoand Respighi’s Pines of Rome, will be repeated Friday (June 28).

 

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Peter Oundjian. Photo by Sian Richards

Under the title “Beethoven’s Path to Romanticism,” the program sets a pattern for other orchestra concerts during the summer: a keystone work by Beethoven, with other pieces that share a stylistic affinity. These programs and others fit into the summer’s overarching theme, “Beethoven’s Path to the Future.”

 

“The idea is to create beautiful programs with a general theme,” Oundjian says. “Obviously, every composer after Beethoven was in some way in his shadow. I don’t want to suggest that all (of them) were influenced by Beethoven. I just wanted to give a journey through each program.”

The festival opens its Sunday chamber orchestra series June 30 with Oundjian conducting a concert titled “Beethoven’s Path to Modernism,” and the annual CMF Family Concert will be Sunday, July 7

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Colorado Music Festival: Opening Weeks
June 27–­July 9

7:30 p.m. Thursday& Friday, June 27 & 28
OPENING NIGHT: BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO ROMANTICISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Natasha Paremski, piano

Beethoven:Egmont Overture
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Verdi: Overture to La forza del destino
Respighi: Pines of Rome

7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO MODERNISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with James Ehnes, violin

Berlioz:Roman Carnival Overture
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
R. Strauss: Wind Serenade
Beethoven: Grosse Fuge

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2
BRAHMS & DVOŘÁK
CMF Chamber Players

Brahms: Trio for horn, violin and piano in E-Flat Major
Dvořák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major

7:30 p.m. Friday July 5
REVOLUTION AND FREEDOM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Jon Kimura Parker, piano

Copland: Outdoor Overture
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
Rossini: Overture to La gazza ladra
Tchaikovsky: Overture 1812
Sousa: “Washington Post,” “Liberty Bell,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”

3 p.m. Sunday, July 7
FAMILY CONCERT “PETER AND THE WOLF”

Earl Lee, conductor, with Really Inventive Stuff ensemble

Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
Sensory-friendly Performance

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9
STRINGS AT SUNSET
CMF Chamber Players

Mozart: String Trio in B Flat Major for Two Violins and Cello
Boccherini: String Trio No. 5 in G Minor
Dvořák: String Quintet in G Major

All performances in Chautauqua Auditorium
Tickets from the Chautauqua Box office

 

CU NOW presents scenes from Tom Cipullo’s comedy ‘Hobson’s Choice’

Performances June 14 and 16 will be free and open to the public

By Peter Alexander June 13 at 1 p.m.

Leigh Holman, director of the University of Colorado Eklund Opera Theater, has made Boulder a mecca for composers.

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2018 CU NOW Workshop rehearsal. Photo by Glenn Asakawa, CU Presents

Every June for the past 10 years, prominent composers have brought operas in progress to the CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW), where they can spend two to three weeks hearing their work sung by students, making changes, and polishing the score.

This year, the opera to be workshopped will be a comedy, Hobson’s Choice by Tom Cipullo.Selected scenes will be performed with piano at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14 and 16. Additionally, new scenes by CU composition students will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. All performances will be in the Music Theater of the CU Imig Music Building, and will be open to the public free of charge.

“It’s such a great opportunity,” Cipullo says. “A lot of workshops you work with people, but you don’t work with them for 17 days. What did you put in the water that these young people suddenly don’t have lives?” he says laughing. “They’re on call six hours a day.”

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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CU New Opera Workshop festival (CU NOW)
Leigh Holman, director
Jeremy Reger, director of music

Hobson’s Choice, Music and libretto by Tom Cipullo
7:30 p.m. Friday June 14, Music Theatre
2 p.m. Sunday, June 16, Music Theatre

Opera scenes by CU Boulder composition students
7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15
Music Theatre

Performances are free and open to the public.

Peter Oundjian wants Colorado Music Festival to be dynamic, “exciting, a celebration”

First year as Music Director will be ‘about consolidating, preparing’ for the future

By Peter Alexander June 6 at  3:15 p.m.

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Peter Oundjian

Violinist/conductor Peter Oundjian served as artistic advisor of the Colorado Music Festival for the 2018 season, a position halfway between giving advice and being responsible for the season’s programming. He conducted three of the six weeks of orchestral concerts and invited some of the guest artists, in a season that featured works by American composers.

Now, he has been appointed the CMF’s fourth-ever music director, making 2019, in a way, “his” festival. “I guess you’re right,” he says thoughtfully about that observation, and then goes on talk in general terms about what he would like CMF to be under his direction.

“A festival should be a celebration,” he says. “I want it to be really dynamic, really exciting, with artists from all over the world., making concerts really appealing and building larger audiences.”

He is still conducting about half of the orchestral concerts, but he has shaped the programming of the entire 2019 festival and given the orchestra series an explicit theme. In anticipation with the 250thanniversary in 2020 of Beethoven’s birth, the 2019 season is an exploration of Beethoven’s influence on music that came after him, from the 19ththrough the 20thcenturies.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

The full summer schedule and ticket information for the 2019 Colorado Music Festival may be found here.

MahlerFest XXXII offers two orchestral concerts in expanded schedule

Arrangements, by Mahler and of Mahler, are part of the program

By Peter Alexander  May 16, 2019, at 2:35 p.m.

Colorado MahlerFest is growing.

Orchestra from Keith Bobo

Director Kenneth Woods with the MahlerFest Orchestra

This year, the 32nd edition of the festival will feature more repertoire than ever, including two separate orchestra programs in Macky Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday of the festival weekend (May 18–19), and a chamber music concert Friday evening (May 17).

The Festival started in Boulder in 1988 as an opportunity to hear Mahler’s symphonies, which were then not often performed. For many years the orchestra program, featuring one of the symphonies, was performed Saturday and Sunday. That has now changed, with a chamber orchestra concert on Saturday and the large orchestra concert, this year featuring Symphony No. 1, on Sunday.

MahlerFest has gone through nearly the entire symphonic cycle three times. The fourth cycle that starts this year will be the first full cycle under conductor Kenneth Woods, who succeeded festival founder Robert Olsen as director in 2016.

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Colorado MahlerFest XXXII

2 p.m. Friday, May 17, at The Academy
Chamber music Concert

Hans Krása: Tanec
Hans Krása: Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio
Anton Bruckner: String Quintet in F Major

Free

9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18
Grusin Hall, Imig Music Buildering, CU Boulder

Program
Free

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, Macky Auditorium
Colorado MahlerFest Chamber Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, conducting
With Joshua DeVane, baritone

Johann Strauss, Jr., arr. Arnold Schoenberg: The Emperor Waltz
Mahler, arr. Schoenberg: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen(Songs of a wayfarer)
Viktor Ullmann, arr. Kenneth Woods: Chamber Symphony (String Quartet No. 3)
Beethoven, arr. Mahler: Quartet in F Minor, op 95 (“Serioso”)

3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Macky Auditorium
Stan Ruttenberg Memorial Concert
Colorado MahlerFest Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, conductor
With Zoë Byers, violin

Beethoven, orchestrated by Mahler: LeonoreOverture No. 3
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major. World Premiere of new critical edition
Mahler: “Blumine” Symphonic Fragment. World Premiere of new critical edition
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto

Tickets
Full schedule for Colorado MahlerFest XXXII here.

Longmont Symphony announces 2019–2020 season, “Music is Life”

Handel’s Messiah and ongoing Beethoven cycle will be among season’s highlights

By Peter Alexander May 15 at 2:15 p.m.

The 53rdseason of the Longmont Symphony will include a performance of Handel’s Messiah, two programs in the orchestra’s ongoing Beethoven cycle, and two performances each of two chamber orchestra programs in the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium.

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Elliot More with there Longmont Symphony. Smiling Elk Photography.

Under the title “Music is Life,” the 2019–20 season is the third under music director Elliot Moore. There will be six concerts in the LSO’s home, Vance Brand Auditorium, including a Pops concert, “LSO at the Movies!” (May 9, 2020), and a family concert (Jan. 18, 2020; see full schedule below).

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Elliot Moore

During Moore’s first two years with the LSO, the Beethoven cycle included performances of the First and Second symphonies by a chamber orchestra in Stewart Auditorium. For 2019–20, the cycle moves into Vance Brand Auditorium for a performance of the Third Symphony by the full LSO (Nov. 9), followed by the Fourth Symphony performed by the Longmont Chamber Orchestra back in Stewart Auditorium (March 7 & 8).

A longstanding tradition of the LSO, performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker with Boulder Ballet, will continue on Dec. 7 & 8. The “Gentle Nutcracker,” a sensory-friendly performance of the beloved ballet designed for individuals with special needs and their families, will be presented Dec. 7.

The Main Series opening night, Oct. 5, will feature organist Brian du Fresne playing Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ and the organ part of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 “avec orgue” (with organ), popularly known as the “Organ Symphony.” Other soloists during the season will include Russian cellist Adrian Daurov, playing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (Nov. 9); the return to Longmont of violinist Andrew Sords for John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto “The Red Violin” (Feb. 15); and percussionist Cameron Leach performing Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto (April 4).

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Christie Conover

The Messiah performance (Dec. 15) will feature the Longmont Chorale Singers and vocal soloists TBA. Soprano Christie Conover and bass Joshua South will perform Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella ballet with the Chamber Orchestra in Stewart Auditorium (Oct. 19­–20), on a program that will also include Conover singing Mozart arias with the orchestra.

Kicking off the entire season is the LSO’s annual free concert July 4 in Thompson Park. As in past years, the program will be shared with the Longmont Chorale and the Longmont Youth Symphony.

Six‐concert subscription packages for the LSO’s 53rdseason go on sale on Monday, May 20 (call 303‐772‐5796;10 a.m.–2 p.m. Mondays; and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). Series subscribers receive up to 20% off single ticket prices. Single tickets for Main Series concerts are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and active military, $5 for children/students ($10 for the Pops and Messiah performances).

All LSO Museum concerts are $35 (includes a glass of wine and post‐concert reception). Handel’s Messiah tickets are $30 for adults; children/students $10. Family Concert tickets are $10. Single tickets go on sale on Monday, Aug. 26, via phone and online here.

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JULY 4TH CONCERT IN THE PARK

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LSO in Thompson Park. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Thursday, July 4, 11:30 a.m.
Thompson Park, 420 Bross Street, Longmont (Free and open to the public)
11:30 a.m. – Longmont Youth Symphony
12:30 p.m. – Longmont Chorale
1 p.m. – Longmont Symphony, Elliot Moore, conductor

MAIN SERIES CONCERTS
All Main Series Concerts are conducted by Elliot Moore and performed at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium at Skyline High School. 

Opening Night: The Organ Symphony
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
With Brian du Fresne, organ

J.S. Bach, arr. Stokowski: Passacaglia and Fugue
Francis Poulenc: Concerto for Organ
Saint‐Saëns: Symphony No. 3, “Organ Symphony” 

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Adrian Daurov

Beethoven Cycle
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9
With Adrian Daurov, cello

George Enescu: Prelude in Unison
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

The Force of Destiny
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15
With Andrew Sords, violin

Verdi: Overture to La forza del destino
John Corigliano: The Red Violin Violin Concerto
Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 2, Rondo (“La Campanella”)
Respighi: The Pines of Rome

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Cameron Leach

A Fanfare for All: Sidebyside with the Longmont Youth Symphony
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4
With Cameron Leach, percussion

Gwyneth Walker: Open the Door
Jennifer Higdon: Percussion Concerto
Copland: Symphony No. 3

Pops Concert: LSO at the Movies!
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9

Music from Chariots of Fire, Cinema Paradiso, Batman, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and other films

MUSEUM CONCERTS
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

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La Commedia dell’arte
Longmont Chamber Orchestra
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Christie Conover, soprano; tenor TBA; and Joshua South, bass

7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20

Mozart: Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Selected arias for soprano and orchestra
Stravinsky: Pulcinella (complete ballet)

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Beethoven. Portrait by Christian Horneman, 1803

Beethoven Cycle: Schubert & Beethoven
Longmont Chamber Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor

7 p.m. Saturday, March 7
4 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Schubert: Symphony No. 5
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4

 

HOLIDAY EVENTS

 The Nutcracker with the Boulder Ballet
Music by Tchaikovsky
Elliot Moore, conductor

4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7,
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium 

The Gentle Nutcracker
1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 1 p.m.
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

A sensory‐friendly performance for individuals with special needs and their families.

 

Handel’s Messiah
Longmont Chamber Orchestra and Longmont Chorale Singers
Elliot Moore, conductor, with vocal soloists TBA

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
Westview Presbyterian Church, Longmont

FAMILY CONCERT

 

Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

Saint‐Saëns: Selections from Carnival of the Animals
Bizet: Les Toreadores from Carmen
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf 

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Subscription tickets for the LSO go on sale Monday, may 20. Call 303-772-5796. Single tickets will go on sale Monday, Aug. 26.

Dvořák’s “underrated masterpiece”

Boulder Symphony and Boulder Chorale join forces for the Stabat Mater

By Peter Alexander May 9, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

Violin

Photo courtesy of Boulder Symphony

Antonín Dvořák has written some of the most, and least, familiar works in the classical music repertoire.

On the one hand are the “New World” Symphony, the Cello Concerto—both written in the United States—and a handful of other pieces that are immediately recognizable to most concertgoers. And on the other hand are many pieces almost never heard outside of the composer’s native Bohemia, including most of Dvořák’s operas and almost all of his sacred vocal music.

Among the latter is the Stabat Mater, a large-scale religious cantata for chorus, orchestra and four soloists, based on the 13th-century sacred hymn text “Stabat mater dolorosa” (Grieving mother, standing at the cross). Now the Boulder Symphony and the Boulder Chorale have joined forces to bring Boulder audiences a piece that conductor Vicki Burrichter calls “an underrated masterpiece.”

Burrichter, who is artistic director of the Boulder Chorale, will conduct the performances Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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“Spirit”
Boulder Symphony with the Boulder Chorale
Vicki Burrichter, conductor

J.S. Bach: Concerto for oboe, violin and strings
Keynes Chen, violin and leader; Ingrid Anderson, oboe

Dvořák: Stabat Mater
Julianne Davis, soprano; Clea Huston, mezzo-soprano; Jason Baldwin, tenor; and Malcolm Ulbrick, baritone

7 p.m. Saturday, May 11
2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 12
First Presbyterian Church, 1820 15thSt., Boulder

Tickets