Peter Oundjian takes the helm for a season exploring Beethoven’s influence
By Peter Alexander Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.
The Colorado Music Festival has announced that distinguished conductor and violinist Peter Oundjian will be the festival’s music director.
Oundjian, who served as the Artistic Advisor for the 2018 festival, becomes the fourth music director in CMF’s 42-year history. Previous music directors were Giora Bernstein (1977–2000), Michael Christie (2001–2013) and Jean-Marie Zeitouni (2015–2017). Oundjian will lead seven concert programs during the six-week summer season, which runs June 28 to Aug. 3.
Other conductors appearing with the CMF orchestra will be the former music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni, for two concert programs; David Danzmayr, who appeared as guest conductor in 2018, for two concert programs; and Pittsburgh Symphony associate conductor Earl Lee, who will lead the family concert July 7 (see full schedule below).
The move to CMF marks a transition in Oundjian’s career. The former first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet (1981–95), he recently concluded tenure as music director of the Toronto Symphony (2004–18) and the Scottish National Orchestra (2012–18). In a news release from the CMF, Oundjian is quoted: “After leading a number of orchestras year-round, this [summer festival] is an exciting change of pace.”
Elizabeth McGuire, the CMF’s executive director, said that Oundjian’s appearances at the festival in 2018 convinced the CMF board to offer him a contract. “His rapport with the audience is at a level that I’ve never experienced,” she says. “He makes each individual audience member feel as if he’s talking directly to them.”
She also praised his ability to make connections between different pieces and programs in a way that fits the Boulder audience. “He has a real depth of understanding of the history and the people and their lives, and he really makes deep connections between the pieces,” she says. “In 2018, that was one of the things that really appealed to us.
“Because he’s so knowledgeable, he’s able to extract details from that big picture and make connections between concerts that are really interesting and play into Boulder’s sense of highly-educated concertgoers. And despite his amazing talents as a performer, he’s very down to earth and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. That’s what makes him good for Boulder.”
The 2019 festival continues the basic pattern of recent seasons: Festival Orchestra concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings, separate orchestral programs on Sunday evenings, and chamber concerts on Tuesdays. Four of the six Festival Orchestra concerts will be presented twice, as Thursday-Friday pairs. The season opens Thursday, June 27, and concludes with the “Season Finale” concert Saturday, Aug. 3. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium.
One theme of the 2019 season is the influence of Beethoven on the music of the 19thand 20thcenturies. This theme was developed by Oundjian in anticipation of the 250thanniversary of Beethoven’s birth, to be celebrated in 2020, and represents the kind of comprehensive season planning that McGuire likes. “We appreciated that he was able to conceive of an entire season with one underlying common denominator,” she says.
This year many of the orchestral works include a work by Beethoven and works that are in some ways related to or influenced by Beethoven’s music. The season concludes with Mahler’s Third Symphony, which was heavily influenced by Beethoven, including references to Beethoven’s last string quartet in the symphony’s finale. As part of exploration of Beethoven’s influence on later generations, the scholar Jan Swafford, author of Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (2014) will present an evening of discussion of the composer.
A two-concert mini-festival will be devoted to music by Mozart. Titled “Magnificent Mozart,” the concerts July 21 and 28 will feature works in several genres including symphonies, concertos and a divertimento.
The summer’s extensive list of guest artists features pianist Natasha Paremski, violinist James Ehnes, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, pianist Coco Ma, violinist Jan Vogler, violist Mira Wang, pianist Lilya Zilberstein; pianist Gabriela Montero, violinist Stefan Jackiw, cellist Kian Soltani, clarinetist Jörg Widmann, violinist Robert McDuffie, mezzo-soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, the ensemble Really Inventive Stuff, the St. Martin’s Festival Singers, and the Boulder Children’s Chorale.
Tickets to CMF performances can be purchased through the Chautauqua Box Office (303-440-7666). The box office is currently accepting renewals of previous CMF season subscriptions. New subscriptions and single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18.
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COLORADO MUSIC FESTIVAL
Schedule of Concerts, 2019 Season
All performances at the Chautauqua Concert Hall
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: La forza del destino Overture
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: La gazza ladra Overture
Tchaikovsky: Overture 1812
Sousa: “Washington Post March”; “Liberty Bell March”; “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
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
7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday July 11 & 12, 7:30 PM
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor, with Mira Wang, violin, and Jan Vogler, cello
Fauré: Pelleas et Mélisande Suite
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Violoncello
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture
Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2
7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO NEOCLASSICISM
Conductor: Jean-Marie Zeitouni, with Lilya Zilberstein, piano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16
CMF Chamber Players
Arnold Bax: Quintet for Harp and String Quartet
Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet
Ravel: String Quartet
Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major
7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, July 18 & 19
TCHAIKOVSKY’S SYMPHONY NO. 6 “PATHETIQUE”
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Gabriela Montero, piano
Grieg: Piano Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”)
7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21
MAGNIFICENT MOZART MINI-FESTIVAL I
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Stefan Jackiw, violin
Mozart: Symphony No. 32
Violin Concerto No. 5 (“Turkish”)
Overture from Don Giovanni
Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”)
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23
CMF Chamber Players
Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor
7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, July 25 & 26
Peter Oundjian, conductor with Kian Soltani, cello
Vivian Fung: Dust Devils
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28
MAGNIFICENT MOZART MINI-FESTIVAL II
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Jörg Widmann, clarinet
Mozart: Divertimento in D Major
Clarinet Concerto in A major
Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO MINIMALISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Robert McDuffie, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 1
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Janice Chandler-Eteme, mezzo-soprano, St. Martin’s Festival Singers and the Boulder Children’s Chorale
Mahler: Symphony No. 3
Each Thursday and Friday night orchestral concert will be preceded by a “Talk Under the Tent,” just outside the North doors to Chautauqua Auditorium. Talks will be presented by scholars, journalists, and CMF musicians.
Previous Subscription may currently be renewed. New subscriptions and single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18.
Purchase tickets through the Chautauqua Box Office HERE or by phone at 303-440-7666.