Rousing Beethoven from Pro Musica Colorado

Folkish new piece by UC grad Ben Morris, “utterly enjoyable” concerto by Florence Price

By Peter Alexander Nov. 20 at 12:15 a.m.

Last night (Nov. 19) conductor Cynthia Katsarelis and the Pro Musical Colorado Chamber Orchestra opened their 2022-23 concert season in the newly-renovated sanctuary of the Mountain View Methodist Church in Boulder.

Cynthia Katsarelis and the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra

Venue renovations often bring gains and losses, and this was no exception. This is worth noting, because the Mountain View church is being used more as a concert venue. It is a visually attractive space, and offers about the best parking of any venue in Boulder.

The carpet has been removed and replaced with a hard wood floor, and the  pews have been replaced with reasonably comfortable chairs, which is all to the good. The sound is much more lively than before, and it may take performers a while to adjust to the new acoustic. Balance is problematic, as the strings had a hard time being heard over the boosted wind sounds. The wood floor certainly beefed up the bass, although not always in a helpful way. In time performers will likely adjust to the increased resonance.   

Ben Morris

The concert opened with the world premiere of The Hill of Three Wishes by Ben Morris, winner of the 2021 CU composition Competition. Reflecting the legend of Helgafell , a magical hill in Iceland that grants three wishes to anyone who can walk to the top without looking back, the score has an attractive folkish quality. It is written in a modal style that avoids harsh dissonance and welcomes listeners.

Morris makes great use of instrumental sounds to create a mythic quality that Katsarelis compared to The Lord of the Rings. Opening brass gestures establish the setting. An ancient Icelandic folk song adds a sense of timelessness, and at the end the music drifts atmospherically into silence. From the score I couldn’t tell if Morris was granted his wishes—did he, like Orpheus, submit to the temptation to look back?—but the hike is clearly a pleasant one. The brief score should find willing performers and audience enjoyment.

Another rare adventure was provided by the Piano Concerto in One Movement by Florence Price, whose music from the early 20th century was once forgotten but is being rediscovered. The first African American woman to have her music performed by a major orchestra when her First Symphony was premiered by the Chicago Symphony in 1933, Price was a skilled and accomplished composer. The concerto is symbolic of her fate: the full orchestral setting was lost and only rediscovered in 2019. Pro Musica is among the first to perform it as originally written. 

The concerto is, however, misnamed as it is not truly in one movement. There is a clear cadence and break between the first and second movements, and the dramatic transition from the slow movement to the lively finale parallels many classical concertos. Like many of Price’s works, the score draws on her African American heritage, from the bluesy trumpet and trombone riffs at the outset, to the slow movement that channels dozens of great spirituals, and the juba dance finale that could easily be mistaken for a Joplinesque rag. This is a unique and valuable part of our country’s musical history.

Jennifer Hayghe

Pianist Jennifer Hayghe gamely tackled the difficult solo part—Price herself was a virtuoso pianist—but while she started with a resounding first entrance, at other times balance issues prevented her playing from being clearly heard. Moments of lighter orchestration, with the piano against one or two winds, worked best. As well as I could hear, Hayghe carried off the solo part handily. Special notice should go to flutist Michelle Stanley, oboist Miriam Kapner and cellist Carole Whitney (if the program is to be trusted) for their solos in the second movement.

The finale had compelling energy, but as performed it was essentially an orchestral dance movement with the piano playing along. This is an utterly enjoyable movement, whether it shows off the pianist to full advantage or not. Katsarelis, Hayghe and the Pro Musica deserve our gratitude for bringing a valuable but rarely heard piece to the Boulder audience. Now that the original score has been reassembled, others should take up this concerto.

The concert concluded with a spirited reading of Beethoven’s powerful, popular Seventh Symphony. Audiences are used to hearing it played by larger ensembles, but a smaller orchestra like Pro Musica can bring a welcome muscularity and clarity to this and other classical scores. Once again, however, the lively acoustic was sometimes problematic. The fast rhythmic figures of the first movement and rapid passages in the strings were sometimes obscured by the punctuating chords or lost in the general resonance of the space.

Katsarelis followed all the road signs of Beethoven’s score, outlining both the structure and the drama of the piece.  While some dynamic differences were swallowed in the overall resonance, she kept the tempo and maintained the thrust all the way to the end. That’s just what Beethoven calls for, and it provided a rousing culmination for the concert.

Icelandic Legends and the Spirit of the Dance

Pro Musica Colorado concert has a hopeful message

By Peter Alexander Nov. 17 at 4:48 p.m.

Composer Ben Morris

Conductor Cynthia Katsarelis and the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra will present the world premiere of The Hill of Three Wishes by former CU composition student Ben Morris on their next concert, Saturday at Mountain View Methodist Church in Boulder (7:30 p.m. Nov. 19).

The score was selected last year as the winner of an annual competition that Pro Musica holds in collaboration with the CU composition department. The department gives Katsarelis works by several composers, and she selects one composer to receive a commission from a fund that was financed by the late Thurston Manning. Normally the new works are premiered in the spring, but last year’s planned performance was postponed. 

The concert, titled “Apotheosis of the Dance,” opens the Pro Musica 2022–23 season of three concerts. Other works on the program are Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement, which concludes with an African American juba dance; and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in A major, which has such exuberant rhythmic movement that Richard Wagner once called it “the apotheosis of the dance.”

Pianist Jennifer Hayghe, the chair of the CU Roser Piano and Keyboard Program, will be the soloist for Price’s concerto.

“Ben Morris is a wonderful emerging composer,” Katsarelis says. “First of all he really knows what to do with an orchestra. His orchestration is superb, and his colors, and the textures. 

“He has two major influences: a jazz background, but also a Scandinavian (Norwegian) background. And so he gets this Nordic folk music aspect into his music, sometimes with extended jazz chords.”

Helgafell, Iceland. Photo by Ben Morris.

The Hill of Three Wishes is based on Helgafell, a site in Iceland that Morris visited. The legend about Helgafell is that if you can hike to the top without looking back, you will be granted three wishes. He incorporated an ancient Icelandic song into the score, which gives the music “a medieval sound,” Katsarelis says. “He weaves it in nicely, and you can really imagine the climb up the hill.”

Price, whose career spanned the first half of the 20th century, was a composer, pianist and organist trained at the New England Conservatory. She was the first African American woman to have music presented by a major orchestra, when her First Symphony was played by the Chicago Symphony in 1933.

For many years, the original score of her Piano Concerto in One Movement was lost, and the piece was known only from a two-piano version. Some orchestral parts were found in Price’s former summer home, and others turned up recently at an auction, allowing the assembly of the original orchestration. That original version has been published and will be used by Pro Musica.

Florence Price. Photo by G. Niledoff.

“Although it’s a piano concerto in one movement, it does have three sections that correspond to a fast first movement, a slow second movement, and then a jolly finale,” Katsarelis says. “The finale is a juba dance, and the whole thing clearly draws on her African American background.

“The second movement is reflective (and) has a call and response aspect to it. The first movement has melodies that you can associate with spirituals, or maybe a blues. It’s quite virtuosic for the piano, which I think speaks to Florence Price’s (skills as a pianist).”

Price was born in Little Rock, Ark., but she and her family joined the Great Migration of Southern Blacks to the north and settled in Chicago. There she became part of what is called the “Chicago Renaissance,” which was akin to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s. “She was incredibly active,” Katsarelis says. 

“She belonged to two women’s music clubs, she was playing recitals all the time, she got her symphony performed by the Chicago Symphony, (and) her other symphonies were done by the Women’s Symphony in Chicago and Detroit. She got excellent reviews for the piano concerto and her symphony, and then it all disappeared. Her music is re-emerging, and rightfully so: it’s such a wonderful, authentic, American voice and we owe a great debt of gratitude for her.”

The program concludes with Beethoven Seventh Symphony, which Katsarelis selected for several reasons. “It’s one of his most beloved symphonies for good reason,” she says. “I could have picked a couple of other Beethoven symphonies, but I thought (the Seventh) went so well with the Florence Price, with the juba dance. It’s an incredibly joyful and energetic piece, with long (melodic) lines and moments of insanity—it takes you on a journey!”

Another reason is that she thinks that the symphony, with its joyful ending, speaks to our current time in an important way. “Beethoven’s music is perceived as coming out of that enlightenment philosophy of the common man who can rise above with his achievements,” she says. “That’s something that we always admire.

“Given the challenges of our time, I think it’s an inspirational and hopeful message.”

# # # # #

“The Apotheosis of the Dance”
Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
With Jennifer Hayghe, piano

  • Ben Morris: The Hill of Three Wishes (world premiere)
  • Florence Price: Piano Concerto in One Movement (restored original version)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 72

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Mountain View Methodist Church, 35 Ponca Place, Boulder

Both in-person and online tickets are available HERE.

Grace Notes: Three classical organizations announce 2022–23 seasons

Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Pro Musica Colorado and Boulder Opera

By Peter Alexander Oct. 3 at 5:15 p.m.

With the 2022–23 concert season getting underway, Boulder’s many classical music organizations are getting their season schedules up on the Web. Here are three of the planned seasons for the coming year, from the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, starting Oct. 29; Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, starting Nov. 19; and Boulder Opera., starting Dec. 9.

While the seasons include some pretty standard repertoire, including Beethoven and Mendelssohn symphonies and two different renderings of Mozart’s early Symphony in A major, K201, it will also offer pieces that are not standard. These include Beethoven’s Mass in C by the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and Boulder Chamber Chorale, and music by Florence Price and Caroline Shaw by the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra.

Here are the respective seasons:

# # # # #

The Boulder Chamber Orchestra opens its season Oct. 29 without conductor Bahman Saless. Guest conductor Giancarlo De Lorenzo and violinist Loreto Gismondi, both from Italy, will perform a mostly Mozart concert featuring that composer’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K218, and Symphony No. 29 in A major, K201. Opening the concert will be Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” from the oratorio Solomon. 

This concert is part of an exchange between De Lorenzo and Saless, who previously conducted the Italian orchestra with which De Lorenzo is affiliated.

Other orchestral concerts during the year will be “A Gift of Music” on Saturday, December 17, with soprano Szilvia Shrantz, BCO bassist Kevin Sylves and holiday selections; and a performance of music by Beethoven, Brahms and Mendlessohn with violinist Edward Dusinberre on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. The season concludes with a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Boulder Chamber Chorale on Saturday, April 1. Saless will lead these performances.

Concerts by the Boulder Chamber Orchestra will take pace in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Ave. Here is the full season schedule:

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29
Boulder Chamber Orchestra with guest conductor Giancarlo De Lorenzo and Loreto Gismondi, violin

  • Handel: “Arrival of Queen of Sheba” from Solomon
  • Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K218
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A major, K201

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with Szilvia Shrantz, soprano, and Kevin Sylves, double bass

  • Handel: Selected arias
  • Henry Eccles: Sonata in G minor for double bass and strings
  • J.S. Bach: Concerto in D minor for two violins and orchestra 

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb.11
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with Edward Dusinberre, violin

  • Beethoven: Overture to Egmont
  • Brahms: Violin Concerto
  • Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major (“Italian”)

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with the Boulder Chamber Choir

Beethoven: Mass in C

TICKETS  

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The Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra will celebrate its “Sweet 16th” concert season with three programs, presented Nov. 19, Jan. 28, and April 29.

The programs feature several works by women composers, including a woman of color and two living composers, in addition to classic works by Mozart and Beethoven, and a major work of the early 20th century by Arnold Schoenberg. All three performances will be at 7:30 p.m. in Pro Musica’s musical home, Mountain View United Methodist Church at 355 Ponca Place Boulder.

Performances by Pro Musica Colorado will be under the direction of their music director, Cynthia Katsarelis. 

The opening concert will feature pianist Jennifer Hayghe, the chair of the Roser Piano and Keyboard Program at CU-Boulder, playing the Piano Concerto in One Movement by Florence Price. The first female African American composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra, Price was well known in the 1930s and 1940s/ After fading from prominence, her name has recently been returning to concert programs.

Other soloists during the season will be cellist Meta Weiss, chamber music coordinator at CU-Boulder, and Takács Quartet members Harumi Rhodes, violin, and Richard O’Neiill, viola. Each concert will be preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. Here is the full season’s schedule:

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
“Apotheosis of the Dance”
Pro Musical Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor, with Jennifer Hayghe, piano

  • Ben Morris: The Hill of Three Wishes
  • Florence Price: Piano Concerto in One Movement
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023
“Through the Looking Glass”
Pro Musical Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor, with Meta Weiss, cello

  • Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
  • Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A major, K201

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29
“Transfigured Night”
Pro Musical Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor, with Harumi Rhodes, violin, and Richard O’Neill, viola

  • Jessie Lausé: World premiere
  • Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E-flat major, K364
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht

TICKETS  

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Boulder Opera has announced their 11th season, featuring a family-themed production for the holiday season and a French Grand Opera early in 2023.

The first production of the season will be Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, which is a perennial holiday event for families with children in Germany and Austria. The Boulder opera production, scheduled for Dec. 9 through 18 at the Dairy Arts Center, will be presented in an abridged English version with narrator. 

Designed as an ideal introduction to opera, the performances will last only one hour, and include a Q&A session after each performance. The performance is suitable for children age three and up.

After the new year, Boulder Opera will present two performances of Manon by Jules Massenet, one of the classics of the French Grand Opera tradition. Performances will be Feb. 18 and 19 in the Dairy Arts Center. Here is the full schedule:

Engelbert Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel
Boulder Opera, stage directed by Michael Travis Risner
Aric Vihmeisterr, piano, and Mathieu D’Ordine, cello

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9
2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 17
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18
Grace Gamm Theater, Dairy Arts Center

TICKETS  

Jules Massenet: Manon
Boulder Opera, Steven Aguiló-Arbues, conductor, and Gene Roberts, stage director

7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19
Gordon Gamm Theater, Dairy Arts Center

TICKETS   

Conductor Cynthia Katsarelis and Pro Musica choose ‘Joy’

Music of Tchaikovsky, Bach and Dvořák for Sunday’s concert

By Peter Alexander April 29 at 1:10 p.m.

Conductor Cynthia Katsarelis found inspiration for her next concert in poetry.

In the midst of dire events in Boulder and around the world—the pandemic, the Marshall Fire, and the war in Ukraine—“I was thinking, how are we going to find joy?” she asks. “There’s a wonderful quote by an African-American poet, Toi Derricotte, ‘Joy is an act of resistance.’ It’s really been a source of inspiration.”

The renovated sanctuary of Mountain View Methodist Church

With that in mind, she decided to put together a concert program for the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra titled “Joy” that would offer joy through music. The concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday (May 1) in the newly remodeled Mountain View Methodist Church (see details below). 

The program comprises three pieces: Andante cantabile by Tchaikovsky, the Orchestral Suite in B minor by J.S. Bach, and the Serenade for Winds by Dvořák.

Katsarelis found another source of inspiration in the history of her own family, which has ancestral ties to Greece. “I thought a lot about my family in World War I and in World War II,” she says. “They found joy in their lives in the middle of all this, so I was thinking, how are we going to find joy?

Cynthia Katsarelis

“You can find joy going to a concert and hearing great music, connecting to your own humanity but also connecting to the humanity around you—people in the audience, the musicians (and) the artists. So it was really out of the depths that I decided to put on a concert called ‘Joy.’”

Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile is a string orchestra version of the slow movements from the composer’s First String Quartet. “It’s just this really beautiful work,” Katsarelis says. “It opens the concert with a lovely wash of the soul and a little tug at the heartstrings.”

It’s inclusion on this program is also a subtle political statement about the war in Ukraine. Katsarelis explains: “You have to remember that Tchaikovsky was a gay man who had to hide it, and was oppressed because of it. Putin has been brutal on the LGBTQ+ community, and when the Russians invaded Ukraine they had a list of people to target (including) LGBTQ+ activists. Tchaikovsky suffered in the society that he was in, and that element’s still there.”

Michelle Stanley

The Orchestral Suite in B minor for flute and strings is one of Bach’s best known works. The featured performer will be Michelle Stanley, Pro Musica’s flutist and a flute professor at Colorado State University.

Katsarelis says that Pro Musica’s approach to Bach’s work would be “historically informed on modern instruments,” meaning that all of the orchestral players will have modern instruments, with their large dynamic range and fuller sound, but they will also make use of Baroque-era conventions in the treatment of rhythms and other details of articulation and interpretation.

“There are some conventions that we follow that are part of the Baroque dance,” Katsarelis says. “There’s a lot about Baroque music that’s suggestions, but you don’t play exactly what’s on the page. We add dynamics, we add articulations, we do the rhythms and in a way that represents the movements (of the different dances).”

The final piece of the “Joy” program is Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds, a piece that Katsarelis has programmed before. She turned to music for winds because she had been able to present music for strings over the past two years, since they can play while wearing masks, but “the winds were out of work for a year and a half during the pandemic,” she says. “And so I thought it was time to do the Dvořák again.”

Dvořák wrote the Serenade in 1878 when he was 37, and included it in an application for an Austrian state award for musicians, which he won. “Brahms was on the jury of that competition and specifically mentioned that he enjoyed that piece,” Katsarelis points out. “It’s a beautiful gem of a piece.

“It’s just lovely to listen to and really nice in character and sophisticated in a way where you don’t have to work at it. It’s very satisfying emotionally and it’s almost like therapy to play and listen to this beautiful piece. And to give the wind players an opportunity to really shine for 25 minutes in a major work is really special for us.”

In fact, Katsarelis hopes that the entire program becomes “almost like therapy” for the audience. “In the depths of everything going on in the world, reaching for joy and happiness felt like the medicine we all need,” she says.

# # # # #

“Joy!”
Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra
Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor, with Michelle Stanley, flute

  • Tchaikovsky: Andante cantabile, op. 11
  • J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor
  • Antonín Dvořák: Serenade for Winds in D minor, op. 44

3 p.m. Sunday, May 1
Mountain View Methodist Church, Boulder

TICKETS

CORRECTION 4/29: The spelling of poet Toi Derricotte’s name was corrected. It is Derricotte, not Deracotte.

Pro Musica responds to past year’s events in Boulder with music

“A Concert for Healing” in Longmont Friday, Boulder Saturday

By Peter Alexander Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

Cynthia Katsarelis. Photo by Glenn Ross.

Cynthia Katsarelis planned the next concert for Pro Musica Colorado (PMC) Chamber Orchestra as an opportunity for healing for the Boulder community—from the March 2021 King Sooper’s Shooting and from the pandemic.

In planning the 2021-22 season over the summer, she says, “I’m thinking about our response to the pandemic and all our losses there, and the King Soopers shooting.” In that context, she decided that the first concert program of 2022 would be devoted to healing, with music that seemed suited for that purpose. 

“Mozart: A Concert for Healing” will be performed in Longmont at 7:30 Friday (Feb. 4) at the Stewart Auditorium and in Boulder at 7:30 Saturday (Feb. 5) at the First United Methodist Church (see concert details below).

“Something I think always works medicinal magic in the hearts of human beings is Mozart,” Katsarelis says. And so two of Mozart’s symphonies became the bookends of the program: Symphony No. 15, chosen in honor of the orchestra’s 15th season to open the program, and the “Jupiter” Symphony to round it off with a masterpiece.

Flutist Christian Jennings

The rest of the program fell into place through a collaboration with flutist Christina Jennings from the CU Music faculty. Last summer Katsarelis and Jennings were talking about what they could do together, and Jennings said, “Maybe Carter (Pann, a CU composition professor) will write something for me.”

“She must have texted him,” Katsarelis says, because in less than half an hour, Jennings had Pann’s agreement. “Of course we’ll do a world premiere,” Katsarelis says. “The idea was born via text in about 30 minutes!” And completing the program Jennings will play one of the flute’s most lively pieces, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Flute known as “The Goldfinch.”

Carter Pann

It should be remembered that at the time she planned this program, Katsarelis had no idea that a third disaster would strike in the middle of the orchestra’s season. “Of course we didn’t know the Marshall Fire was going to happen,” she says. “I’m glad that we planned this concert as we had.”

Katsarelis was looking around for pieces numbered 15 to fit the PMC’s anniversary, and since Mozart is always a good programming choice she decided to look at his 15th Symphony. Written when Mozart was 16, it is not a well known work, but Katsarelis says “he’s pretty mature actually by that point.

“The symphony has a lot of witty details. In the recapitulation, when you expect the scale to go up as it had before, it goes down—things like that. It’s four movements, but they’re really short. It makes a good opener—it has wonderful energy, and these wonderful ideas. It’s a dynamite piece.”

At the opposite end of the program and of Mozart’s career is his last symphony, the “Jupiter.” “It marks Mozart’s progression as a composer,” Katsarelis says. “It marks [the transition] of the early classical to the high classical style, and Mozart is in dialog with Bach with contrapuntal and fugal writing.

“Mozart’s always loaded with ideas, and they’re always beautiful and balanced and have incredible variety and different kinds of energies and characters. But this [symphony] goes beyond. This is just astonishing.”

As familiar as the “Jupiter” Symphony has become, the key for performers and listeners, Katsarelis says, is to approach it like a new piece, “like it’s the freshest idea ever. That’s how you have to present it. That’s (PMC’s) approach to Mozart—doing it like we’re composing it ourselves. That’s what we bring to it, and I think that the aspect of familiarity done really beautifully in this way is part of healing.”

European Goldfinch

Of the two pieces that Jennings will play, the Vivaldi concerto is bright, cheerful and showy. It was written for girls at a famous orphanage in Venice, the Ospedale della Pietà, where Vivaldi taught. The girls’ orchestra was internationally famous, with people coming from all across Europe to hear their performances. With music as their main activity, the girls were renowned for their virtuosity.

Carter Pann’s piece creates a strong contrast with Vivaldi, and it fits the concert theme very well. “It’s beautiful and evocative,” Katsarelis says. “Christina (Jennings) was really into the theme about healing, and wanting a beautiful , cantabile kind of work—something that was more soulful and more cantabile. That’s what we thought would be really nice in this program, and I think it works out really well. 

As she talks about the concert, Katsarelis keeps reflecting on subject of healing and the triple challenge Boulder has had to face in the past year, with a pandemic, a shooting and then a fire. “I just never thought I would see that level of devastation,” she says. “It seems to me that the arts have to respond. All of us in the arts need to think deeply and ponder our role, what do we need to say, who do we need to be for the community.

“That’s been on my heart a great deal.“

# # # # #

“Mozart: A Concert of Healing”
Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
With Christina Jennings, flute

  • Mozart: Symphony No. 15 in G major, K. 124
  • Vivaldi: Concerto for Flute in D major, op. 10 no. 3, “The Goldfinch”
  • Carter Pann: My Cross for solo flute and chamber orchestra (world premiere)
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551 (“Jupiter”)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 
First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder

TICKETS

NOTE: All Pro Musica musicians have been vaccinated. Audience members must show proof of vaccination at the door. Audience members age 2 and up will be required to wear a mask. Audience capacity will be limited to allow for approhripriate distancing, and patrons are asked to observe social distancing in the hall and the lobby. If you cannot receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you will be asked to show a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before the performance.

Holiday season brings a wide spectrum of musical celebrations

Two Messiah performances lead the local programs

By Peter Alexander Dec. 1 at 3:52 p.m.

What is one thing COVID has not closed down this year? The flood of Holiday-themed concerts in December.

This is in stark contrast to last year, when there were virtually no live concerts anywhere. Holiday music-making, if any, was done online. But now Boulder has returned to near normal, and there is no space or time to give individual coverage to all the concerts. Here is a compilation of most local classical concerts, all of them available for live attendance and some with streaming as well (details and ticket information are below; check each group’s Web page for COVID requirements):

Boulder Ballet Nutcracker (2018). Image by Amanda Tipton Photography

The Nutcracker returns to Longmont in performances by the Longmont Symphony and Boulder Ballet (Dec. 3–5). Performances of this perennial family favorite also include a sensory-friendly “Gentle” Nutcracker performance that will be under one hour with both dramatic and musical elements as well as lighting adapted for special needs children.

Boulder Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker almost had to be cancelled for the second year running, until supporters of the ballet and the symphony raised funds to support the performances. LSO executive director Catherine Beeson released a statement, saying “The thought of our communities having to miss a second year of this holiday tradition was too disappointing to consider. We are so grateful to Boulder Ballet and LSO patrons, supporters and sponsors who stepped up to fill the gap.”

The CU Holiday Festival (Dec. 3–5), featuring CU College of Music ensembles, is one of the oldest musical traditions in Boulder, dating back decades. Performing groups this year will be the Holiday Brass, the Holiday Festival Orchestra, Chamber Singers, Holiday Festival Choral Union, West African Highlife Ensemble, Holiday Festival Jazz, and the Magari Quartet.

The 2013 Holiday Concert put on by the College of Music in Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

There will be some very familiar Holiday music—“Ding, Dong Merrily on High,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and the perennial favorite, Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.” But there will also be some unusual selections, including the Spanish villancico “Ríu, ríu, chíu,” the Gloria from the Misa Criolla (Creole Mass) by the Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez, and a Nigerian Christmas song, “Betelehemu” (Bethlehem). The program will conclude with the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

The Holiday Festival often sells out. That may be different this year, with COVID restriction still in place, but check availability before making plans.

There will be two performances of Handel’s Messiah  in Boulder this year: One by conductor Cynthia Katsarelis with the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra and Boulder Chamber Chorale (Dec. 4), and one by conductor Zachary Carrettin and performers of the Boulder Bach Festival (Dec. 17 and 19).

Both organizations will present only the Christmas portion of Messiah; Pro Musica Colorado will add the “Hallelujah” chorus. Theirs will be the more traditional style of performance, with full chorus. The Boulder Bach Festival will present Messiah with only one on a part in both orchestra and chorus; in other words, the choral parts will all be sung by a quartet of vocal soloists rather than a traditional chorus.

The Ars Nova Singers will present their Holiday program, “Made Merry,” in Denver (Dec. 10), Longmont (Dec. 12) and Boulder (Dec. 16 and 17).

Harpist Kathryn Harms

Under the direction of Thomas Edward Morgan, the Ars Nova Singers will be joined by guest artist Kathryn Harms on harp. The program follows the usual pattern for Ars Nova Holiday concerts: a mix of new arrangements and recent compositions with more traditional tunes. 

Featured works will include Variations on “Lo How a Rose” by Hugo Distler, a prominent composer of sacred music in early 20th century Germany, whose short life illustrates the tragedy of his times. Torn between his revulsion for the Nazi regime and the prominent positions he was granted, he took his own life in 1942 at the age of 34. 

Other works on the program are Morgan’s arrangement of “What Child is This?,” Benjamin Britten’s arrangement of “In the Beak Midwinter,” Jeffrey Van’s arrangement of the Mexican carol “El Rorro” (The babe) and contemporary English composer Jonathan Dove’s setting of “The Three Kings” by Dorothy Sayers.

The Longmont Symphony’s annual Candlelight concert, this year titled “A Baroque Christmas,” will be presented at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Westview Presbyterian Church in Longmont. Elliot Moore will conduct, with soprano soloist Ekaterina Kotcherguina.

Music by familiar Baroque composers will comprise the majority of the program, including Corelli’s Concerto Grosso op. 6 no. 8, known as the “Christmas Concerto” and J.S. Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto. Kotcherguina will sing arias from Handel’s Messiah, including “I know that my redeemer liveth” and “Rejoice Greatly.”

She will also sing “The Holy City,” a Victorian-era ballad that was extremely popular and widely performed around the turn of the 20th century, and that has been called “the most pirated piece prior to the internet.” Published under the name Stephen Adams, it was actually the work of English composer and singer Michael Maybrick.

According to legend, the song got a group of drunken prisoners released by a judge, it was mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses, and via a spiritual titled “Hosanna” its melody found its way into Duke Ellington’s Black and Tan Fantasy. It continues to be performed, often under the title “Jerusalem.”

# # # # #

Longmont Symphony and Boulder Ballet
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3
1 and 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4
1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5: “Gentle Nutcracker”
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Vance Brand Civic Auditorium
Tickets

CU College of Music ensembles
“Holiday Festival 2021”
Featuring College of Music faculty with student choirs, bands and orchestras

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3
1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Macky Auditorium
Tickets

Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
With the Boulder Chamber Chorale and vocal soloists
George Frideric Handel: Messiah

7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, First United Methodist Church, Boulder

Tickets for in-person and live-streamed performance

Ars Nova Singers, Thomas Edward Morgan, conductor
“Made Merry”

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, St. Paul Community of Faith, Denver
4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, United Church of Christ, Longmont
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, First United Methodist Church, Boulder
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, First United Methodist Church, Boulder

Tickets for in-person and streamed performances.

Boulder Bach Festival, Zachary Carrettin, conductor
George Frideric Handel: Messiah

7:30 pm. Friday, Dec. 17
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19

Broomfield Auditorium
Tickets

Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
“Candlelight: A Baroque Christmas”

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, Westview Presbyterian Church, Longmont

Tickets

Pro Musica Colorado opens 2021–22 season

Both in-person and streaming options are available for the 2021-22 season

By Peter Alexander Oct. 6 at 12 noon

The Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra returns to the stage with “Rainbow Strings! A Concert of Hope,” Thursday, Oct. 7, in Longmont and Saturday, Oct. 9, in Boulder.

For their first in-person concert post-pandemic, music director Cynthia Katsarelis and the orchestra will be joined by violinist Harumi Rhodes for the Violin Concerto in G major of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges, the 18th-century mixed-race French-Caribbean violinist and fencing master sometimes referred to as “the Black Mozart.” Also on the program will be Dance Card by American composer Jennifer Higdon, and the much loved Serenade for Strings by Tchaikovsky.

Cynthia Katsarelis with the Pro Music Colorado Chamber Orchestra

Thursday’s performance will be at 7:15 p.m. in Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum, with tickets available from the museum. Saturday’s performance will be at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Boulder. Tickets for the concert are available through the Pro Musica Web page. Proof of vaccination and masks will be required for both in-person performances. Like other concerts in Boulder this fall, the program will be about an hour in length, with no intermission.

Digital access will also be available for anyone who prefers not to attend in person. Thursday’s performance in Stewart Auditorium will be recorded and streamed for digital access at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, at the time of the Boulder performance. Access to digital streams of this and other Pro Musica concerts in the coming year is available here.

Like other conductors this fall, Katsarelis thought seriously about how she wanted to begin live performances after such a long layoff. One consideration is that she wanted music that connected to Pro Musica’s mission. “We really believe in celebrating great music, and bringing forth voices that deserve to be heard,” Katsarelis says. That specifically means lifting up composers and music from under-represented groups, she says, listing BIPOC (Saint Georges), women (Higdon), and members of the LGBTQ+ community (Higdon and Tchaikovsky) for this program.

Jennifer Higdon. Photo by J.D. Scott

“Maybe you can’t hear [the color or sexual identity of the composer], but we can celebrate it,” she says. “I think that diversity, inclusion is about the tapestry of humanity. We want to experience all the parts of this tapestry and celebrate the difference, celebrate the identity, and celebrate the great music.”

Higdon’s Dance Card is particularly effective as a place to start because it is a fun and energetic piece. “It’s about the joy of being a string player,” Katsarelis says. “It has that rhythmic vitality that we associate with American music. Her music is very colorful in general, but her slow movements are impressionistic in an American way.

“It’s a fun piece to play. It’s a difficult piece, it’s a very tricky piece, but I think our players will sink their teeth deeply into it.”

Saint Georges is one of the most interesting composers of the 18th century. He was born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, the child of a wealthy planter and a slave. He was educated in France, becoming both a virtuoso violinist and an accomplished swordsman. He played in and conducted an orchestra in Paris that commissioned and premiered the six “Paris” Symphonies of Joseph Haydn. After the revolution he fought for the French Republic as a colonel in the first all-Black regiment in Europe.

Chevalier de Saint Georges. Painting by Auguste Robineau.

Katsarelis and Rhodes had first planned to perform the concerto more than a year ago, but that performance was postponed due to COVID. “We didn’t want to cancel it, we really loved the piece,” Katsarelis says. “It’s got a lot of that style that you kind of expect around Mozart. It’s definitely that classical style, with a sort of French twist. And the virtuosity of string writing! I mean, it goes way up into the stratosphere. You can tell he was quite the virtuoso.

“When I hear his music, you can really see the Chevalier de Saint Georges with his sword. There’s a whole series of gestures that come with that. I can not hear that he’s black, but I believe that I can hear that he’s a champion fencer.”

The final work on the program was also chosen for this particular time, because it is a well loved and comforting piece for many listeners. The Serenade for strings is “a really heartfelt piece, one of Tchaikovsky’s favorites himself,” Katsarelis says. “He wrote it in the style of Mozart in terms of the form, but the emotional content is his. And the deeper I look into it [I find] how he goes from one place to another is not only genius and not only beautiful, but he’s found the way to be beautiful and at the same time his harmonies pull at the heart strings. 

“We call the concert ’Rainbow Strings,’ but it really could be ‘Heart Strings.’ The emotional content is really rich, deeply heartfelt, and I think very authentic. I thought it would be a great piece to hear, to experience, and for the players to play after the last year and a half of loss. 

“I think it’s going to be cathartic for us all.”

# # # # #

“Rainbow Strings! A Concert of Hope”
Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra
Cynthia Katsarelis, Music Director and Conductor
Harumi Rhodes, violin 

  • Jennifer Higdon: Dance Card
  • Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges: Violin Concerto in G Major
    Harumi Rhodes, violin
  • Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings 

7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7
Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum
(Tickets available from the Longmont Museum)

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9
First United Methodist Church, Boulder
In person and digital access tickets

Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra brings “a tsunami of happiness” May 1

Concert will be streamed, and performed live to invited supporters

By Peter Alexander April 29 at 7 a.m.

Cynthia Katsaarelis. Photography by Glenn Ross.

“We are so excited to be playing music—and in front of an audience of our [invited] supporters!” Cynthia Katsarelis, music director of the Colorado Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, says.

“Those 30 or 35 people are going to get a tsunami of happiness to actually hear [live] music.”

Violin soloist Yumi Hwang-Williams will appear with Katsarelis and the orchestra to perform “Spring” and “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Other works will be the Suite from Copland’s Appalachian Spring in the original version for 13 instruments, and the premiere of a piece by CU College of Music graduate student Jordan M. Holloway. This performance will also be available in a live stream at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May. 1. 

Members of the public who want to share in the “tsunami of happiness” may purchase tickets for the stream here

The program opens with the premiere of Holloway’s Three Coloradan Snowscapes, winner of Pro Musica’s annual Composition Competition. The three movements are musical depictions of scenes Holloway has experienced. They are also likely familiar to many Coloradans: “”Flurries (The Loch, June 2020),” “White Abyss (Independence Pass, October, 2020)” and “Downhill (Vail, February 2019).”

The first movement “is really cool,” Katsarelis says. “He’s got these blips and blops that are definitely like the snow hitting you in the nose—something like that. And lovely soaring themes that are fitting for the mountains.”

View from Independence Pass without clouds

For the second movement Holloway describes a drive over 12,000-foot Independence Pass with clouds filling the valleys below. “The typically clear valleys were filled with a great fog, which created this amazing and visually impenetrable wall of snow and vapor,” Holloway wrote in program notes.

“The second movement is particularly interesting” is Katsarelis’s response. “It’s aleatoric [using elements of chance] and unmeasured.” As conductor, she will mark points that are spaced 5 or more seconds apart—“just telling [the players] when to change texture and pitch.

“You’re creating the soundscape but it’s not technically challenging—it’s just fun.”

The third movement, “Downhill,” is “a tight-knit image of an alpine skier, very fast-paced with angular melodies that make for a turbulent two minutes,” the composer wrote. After looking at the score, Katsarelis decided he’s a pretty good skier. 

“I think it’s a double or triple diamond that he must be on,” she says. “The reason I think this is the underlying rhythm is the ‘Mission Impossible’ rhythm!”

Yumi Hwang-Williams

For a concert during the pandemic, portions of Vivaldi’s Seasons are an obvious choice. It only calls for string players, who can wear masks while performing; just about every string player knows The Seasons; and it’s always popular with audiences.

“Pretty much every violinist in the orchestra” knows the solo part, Katsarelis says. “Even I can play it!” But she wanted to ask Hwang-Williams, concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony, because Katsarelis knows that she’s up for most anything. “I really know I can rely on Yumi,” she says.

The final part of the program is a piece that Katsarelis believes is practically tailor made for our current time. “I find [Copland’s Appalachian Spring] a fascinating piece,” Katsarelis says. “It’s so easy to just take it as this wonderful, optimistic, joyful American work, but there’s something deeper there, if you’re inclined to look for it.”

Katsarelis believes that is particularly true of the original version, which was written for the 13 instruments that would fit in the pit of the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress where the first performance of Martha Graham’s ballet took place. “The intimacy makes the emotion of it more powerful,” she says. “It will be a very, very personal expression from all of the players.”

The score is noted for it’s spare texture and open chords, which were aspects of American modernism of the 1940s when it was written. That aesthetic is reflected in the music, but was also evident in the dance and the very limited sets designed for the premiere by Isamu Noguchi.

“The open chords, like the open set of Noguchi, leaves  a lot of space for our projections of our hopes, dreams,” Katsarelis says. “And inside is this space that you can inhabit in a really intimate and reflective way.”

The intimacy of the chamber version and the open, welcoming aesthetic of Appalachian Spring  fit the current moment, she believes. “I think we all are just dying for a human connection that music is so uniquely capable of bringing,” she says. “And that Copland can do more powerfully than almost any other piece I can think of.” 

The excitement that Katsarelis and the players feel about playing together again and sharing their music-making with an audience also carries a lesson, Katsarelis says. “It’s been a really rough year. I’m ecstatic about the fact that we’re about to make music, but there’s a lot of things I hope never to take for granted again, ever.”

# # # # #

Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
With Yumi Hwang-Williams, violin

  • Jordan M. Holloway: Three Coloradan Snowscapes (World Premiere)
    —I. “Flurries (The Loch, June 2020)”
    —II. “White Abyss (Independence Pass, October, 2020)”
    —III. “Downhill (Vail, February 2019)”
  • Vivaldi: “Spring” and “Summer” from The Four Seasons
  • Copland: Appalachian Spring, Ballet for Martha, Suite for 13 players

Stream available from 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 1

Tickets available here.

Pro Musica Colorado to stream 2019 Bach performance with conductor Katsarelis

B-minor mass, performed with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and soloists

By Peter Alexander Feb. 4 at 7:15 p.m.

The COVID pandemic has left huge gaps in the classical musical calendar

Conductor Cynthia Katsarelis and the Pro Musical Colorado Chamber Orchestra, unable to gather for the concerts they had hoped to present this month, decided to fill the gap with a streamed performance from their archives: a performance of J.S. Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor originally presented live in October, 2019. 

Pro Musica and St. Martins’ Chamber Choir performing Bach’s B-minor Mass

The performance features Katsarelis with the Pro Musica orchestra, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, and a quartet of soloists: soprano  Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson, mezzo Julie Simson, tenor Derek Chester and bass-baritone Jeffrey Seppala.

A release announcing the broadcast explains, “The audio engineering is radio broadcast quality, however, the video is pre-pandemic archival. The video from the first half offers a view from the chorus and the second half offers a view from the balcony in audience.”

In a separate written announcement, Katsarelis stated that “Sharing the Bach seemed like a nice thing to do for a number of reasons, but most of all because of its capacity to bring healing. In addition to the terrible losses of people to COViD-19, I felt deeply traumatized by the event of January 6. For a week afterwards, about all I could do was play Bach on violin. Given that the February concert couldn’t proceed as planned, the Bach B-Minor Mass is our offering to healing and peace in this world.”

The streamed performance will be preceded by a pre-concert talk by Rebecca Maloy, a professor of musicology at CU, Boulder.

Anyone who purchased a ticket to the cancelled Feb. concert will have access to this performance from 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, Feb. 14. Tickets may be purchased HERE.

# # # # #

Special Online Broadcast
Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
St. Martin’s Chamber Choir
Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson, soprano; Julie Simson, mezzo-soprano; Derek Chester, tenor; and Jeffrey Seppala, bass-baritone

Pre-concert talk by CU Professor of Music Rebecca Malloy

J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Original performance from Oct., 2019
Streamed performance available from 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, Feb. 14
Tickets HERE.

HOLIDAY CONCERTS TO STREAM AT HOME

Celebrate the holidays virtually this year with local festive concerts.

By Izzy Fincher and Peter Alexander December 3 at 10:45 a.m.

Relax with a hot cocoa, a warm blanket and your favorite holiday tunes, all from the comfort of your own home.

This year, holiday music on Boulder’s classical scene will not be the same without the decked-out concert halls and communal holiday spirit. However, the holiday celebrations will continue virtually in Boulder with CU-Boulder’s Holiday Fest and festive concerts from Pro Musica, the Boulder Phil and the Longmont Symphony. 

Holiday Festival 2020 Dec. 4

The 2013 Holiday Concert in Macky Auditorium. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

This year CU-Boulder’s Holiday Festival won’t be the usual grand event at Macky, where the auditorium is filled with students, faculty, family and other fans. Instead, 2020’s scaled-down online broadcast of the Holiday Fest will have pre-recorded performances of seasonal favorites and traditional selections from the fall semester. The holiday spirit of a festive Macky continues on from the comfort of home.

“Holiday Festival 2020”
CU-Boulder College of Music students and faculty
Available from 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4
Tickets

“Holiday Moods” Dec. 5 and 6

Under the direction of Cynthia Katsarelis, Pro Musica will present “Holiday Moods,” featuring both traditional and diverse holiday tunes. Earlier this year, Katsarelis planned to collaborate with the Boulder Chorale to perform Handel’s Messiah, but due to COVID-19 restrictions she decided on an all-strings program instead. 

Yumi Hwang-Williams

The program will feature soloist Yumi Hwang-Williams, concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony. The two performances of “Holiday Moods” with a limited in-person audience at the Broomfield Auditorium and First United Methodist Church have been canceled and moved to an online broadcast, available for up to 48 hours after the concert times, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.

“Holiday Moods” continues Pro Musica’s season theme of diversity and healing. The program opens with Novellette No. 1 by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Black composer and conductor active in England in the early 20th century. The rest of the program is composed of traditional repertoire, to offer healing and comfort to listeners, according to Katsarelis.

The second work is Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, which was composed for Christmas night (Fatto per la notte di Natale) in 1690, likely for Corelli’s patron, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, in Rome. Next, Hwang-Williams takes center stage for “Fall” and “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, another Baroque classic. To end the program, Pro Musica will play Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, one of the composer’s most popular orchestral works.

“Holiday Moods”
Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra
Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor, with Yumi Hwang-Williams, violinist
Available from 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6
Tickets

“Happy Holidays from the Phil” Dec. 13

Michael Butterman rehearsing in the Brungard Aviation hangar at Boulder Municipal Airport

With conductor Michael Butterman, the Boulder Phil’s brass and percussion sections will present a selection of carols and other holiday tunes. Like the rest of the Boulder Phil’s fall 2020 season, this concert was recorded in a hangar at Boulder Municipal Airport, on a tight 48-hour rehearsal and recording schedule. 

The wide-ranging program is a mix of holiday favorites, including “Carol of the Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (mashed up with the French carol “Patapan”). The program also features lesser-known carols, including “Wassail Song” and “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”; modern holiday music, Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo”; and a Hanukkah observation, “A Celebration of Hanukkah.”

“Happy Holidays from the Phil”
Boulder Philharmonic Brass and Percussion, Michael Butterman, conductor
Available from 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 27
No tickets required; contributions welcomed

Vocal Concert will substitute for Messiah Dec. 13

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) will present a Holiday Concert Sunday, Dec. 13—but not the one they had originally planned. 

The LSO previously announced pared-down selections from Handel’s Messiah with four soloists but no chorus as their seasonal offering. That performance was to have been recorded in the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium and streamed starting at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.

With the recent announcement that Boulder County has reached COVID Dial “Red Level: Severe Risk,” Stewart Auditorium became unavailable, and no other acceptable venue for the recording was found.An announcement from the LSO states, “The restrictions made it difficult to find a venue and to safely film the performance with our musicians.”

Consequently, the LSO reluctantly decided Tuesday (Dec. 1) to cancel the performance. Instead, the LSO will present a Holiday Concert featuring pianist Spencer Myer and baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco, from their home in New York City. The performance will include classical song selections by Handel and Schubert, as well as holiday favorites.

Their performance will be streamed at the same time as was announced for Messiah—4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Season tickets for the LSO fall 2020 season and tickets purchased separately for Messiah will be honored for the Myer/Diaz-Moresco concert. For more information, see the LSO Web page

“Holiday Concert, New York—Longmont”
Spencer Myer, piano, and Mario Diaz-Moresco, baritone
Available from 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13
Tickets