Classical Music

Colorado Music Festival announces 2023 concerts


Joshua Bell as artist-in-residence, John Corigliano composer-in-residence

By Peter Alexander Jan. 25 at 11 a.m.

The Colorado Music Festival (CMF) has announced their 2023 summer season at Chautauqua. 

Peter Oundjian. Photo by Geremy Kornreich

The formal announcement of the season was made last night (Jan, 24) at the Center for Musical Arts in Lafayette, which is the sister organization of the CMF. The event was live streamed to the public.

Before the introduction of the concerts by music director Peter Oundjian, executive director Elizabeth McGuire announced that the CMF’s 2022 world premiere performance of Flying On the Scaly Backs of Our Mountains by Wang Jie had reached more than a million listeners world-wide through radio—“more than doubling the reach of the festival over its history with one performance,” she said.

Oundjian has written of the 2023 season, We are so fortunate to bring to you some of the greatest performers alive today, including artist-in-residence Joshua Bell, along with the extraordinary talents of eight of today’s brilliant composers. It is such a thrill to hear today’s voices alongside—and interacting with—groundbreaking voices from the past, giving us a unique window into centuries of the greatest in creativity.”

John Corigliano. Photo by J. Henry Fair

Since his appointment as music director in 2018, Oundjian has made the music of today a focus of the festival. Among the living composers whose music will be performed this summer is John Corigliano, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, four Grammies and an Academy Award. As composer-in-residence, Corigliano will be present at the festival for a concert devoted entirely to his music on July 13 (see full programs below).

Premieres will be presented of works by Jordan Holloway, CU faculty member Carter Pann, and Adolphus Hailstork. All three will be performed on July 16, as the culmination of a week of “Music of Today.” A preview of music by five other living composers will be offered by Bell, who has commissioned a five-movement suite for violin and orchestra from five different composers.

Joshua Bell. Photo by Phillip Knott

The concerto, titled Elements, will have its official premiere later, but all five movements will be previewed over two concerts at CMF—the final two concerts of the season (Aug. 3 and 6). The composers who have contributed to Elements are among the most important composers working today: Jake Heggie, Jessie Montgomery, Edgar Meyer, Jennifer Higdon and Kevin Puts.

Bell will also be at CMF for the first week of the festival and will play Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G minor on the opening program, June 29 and 30.

A highlight of the 2023 festival will be two programs celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (July 6–7 and July 9). Oundjian said that it seemed appropriate in 2023 to perform works composed outside Russia, many of them in the United States which was Rachmaninoff’s home in the later years of his life. These works include the Third and Fourth piano concertos, the beloved Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and the rarely performed Symphony No. 3.

Michael Christie. Photo by Bradford Rogne

Another feature of the 2023 festival of which Oundjian is particularly proud is the continuation of the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series, named for the founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet. In addition to performances by members of the Festival Orchestra, the four-concert series will also feature guest performances by the JACK Quartet, renowned for their performances of contemporary music, and the Brentano String Quartet.

The 2023 festival will also see the return of Music Director Emeritus Michael Christie to conduct concerts on July 20 and 21. Christie was the CMF music director 2000–13.

“Not only does the 2023 season promise to be artistically stunning, I know our audiences will appreciate the way the programming weaves so many diverse, timely, and relevant voices into the fabric of classical music,” executive director Elizabeth McGuire wrote.

Performances this summer will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Sundays. As in past years, Tuesdays will be devoted to chamber music, other days to Festival Orchestra performances. In response to comments from patrons, the Family Concert on Sunday, July 2, has been moved earlier in the day, to 10:30 a.m. Other updates to the festival this year include a new ticketing system through the Chautauqua Box Office, and meals available for pre-order through the ticketing system.

Subscription tickets for the 2023 festival are available here. Single-concert tickets go on sale March 7 through the CMF Web page, or by phone at the Chautauqua Box Office at 303-440-7666. New for 2023, CMF is offering $10 tickets for youth (ages 18 and under) and students with current school identification. More information can be found HERE.

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COLORADO MUSIC FESTIVAL
2023 Performance Schedule
All performances at Chautauqua Auditorium

7:30 p.m. Thursday June 29 and 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 30: Festival Opening Program
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Joshua Bell, violin

  • Carlos Simon: “Motherboxx Connection” from Tales: A Folklore Symphony for orchestra
  • Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel)

Family Concert: 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 2
Festival Orchestra, Kalena Bovell, conductor
With Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson, soprano, and Janae Burris, narrator

  • Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 1
  • Eric Whitacre: Goodnight Moon
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: “Danse Nègre” from African Suite
  • Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6 and 6:30 p.m. Friday July 7
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Nicolai Lugansky, piano

  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor,
    —Symphony No. 3 in A Minor

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Nicolai Lugansky, piano

  • Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
    —Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Minor
    Symphonic Dances

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11
Robert Mann Chamber Music Series: JACK Quartet

  • Morton Feldman: Structures for String Quartet (1951)
  • Caleb Burhans: Contritus (2010) 
  • Philip Glass: String Quartet No. 5 (1991)
  • Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte (2011)
  • John Zorn: The Remedy of Fortune for String Quartet (2016)

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Timothy McAllister, saxophone

  • John Corigliano: Gazebo Dances (for orchestra) (1974)
    One Sweet Morning for voice and orchestra (2010)
    Triathlon for saxophone and orchestra (2020)

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 16
World premieres: Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Janice Chandler-Eteme, soprano, and Eric Owens, narrator

  • Jordan Holloway: Flatiron Escapades (world premiere commission)
  • Carter Pann: Dreams I Must Not Speak (world premiere commission)
  • Adolphus Hailstork: JFK: The Last Speech (world premiere)

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 18
Robert Mann Chamber Music Series: Brentano String Quartet

  • Mozart: String Quartet in D Major, K499
  • James MacMillan: Memento for string quartet (1994)
    For Sonny for string quartet (2011)
  • Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, op. 130

6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20, and 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 21
Festival Orchestra, Music Director Emeritus Michael Christie, conductor
With Michelle Cann, piano

  • Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major
  • Florence Price: Piano Concerto in One Movement
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, op. 36

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 23
Festival Orchestra, François López-Ferrer, conductor
With Grace Park, violin

  • Mozart: Overture to The Impresario K486
    —Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K216
    —Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K546
    —Symphony No. 36 in C Major, (“Linz”) K425

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25
Robert Mann Chamber Music Series: Members of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra

  • Benjamin Britten: Phantasy Quartet for Oboe and Strings, op. 2
  • Francis Poulenc: Sextet in C Major for Piano and Winds
  • Brahms: String Sextet No. 2 in G Major, op. 36

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27, and 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 28
Festival Orchestra: Eun Sun Kim, conductor
With Johannes Moser, cello

  • Mason Bates: The Rhapsody of Steve Jobs (2021)
  • Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, op. 107
  • Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, op. 73

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 30
Festival Orchestra, Hannu Lintu, conductor,
With Lise de la Salle, piano

  • Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus (1974)
  • Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor
  • Haydn: Symphony No. 96 in D Major (“Miracle”)

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1
Robert Mann Chamber Music Series: Members of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra

  • Beethoven: String Trio in C Minor, op. 9 no. 3
  • Debussy: Danses sacrée et profane (Sacred and profane dances)
  • Dvořák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, op. 81

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Joshua Bell, violin

  • The Elements: Suite for Violin and Orchestra (commissioned by Joshua Bell)
    “Fire” by Jake Heggie
    “Ether” by Jessie Montgomery
    “Water” by Edgar Meyer
  • Debussy: La Mer

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6: Festival Finale Concert
Festival Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
With Joshua Bell, violin

  • The Elements: Suite for Violin and Orchestra (commissioned by Joshua Bell)
    “Air” by Jennifer Higdon
    “Earth” by Kevin Puts
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D Major (“Titan”)



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