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Colorado Music Festival Returns To Boulder's Chautauqua Auditorium After 2 Years

By Rachel Smith

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- The Colorado Music Festival is making a splash this summer, as it cannonballs back into the deep end with a full orchestral ensemble for the first time in two years. The six-week festival will return to Boulder's Chautauqua Auditorium with a wide range of performances aimed at appealing to many different kinds of music lovers.

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(credit: CBS)

"We are thrilled to celebrate the return of our full, Mahler-sized symphony orchestra to the stage of Chautauqua this year," said Peter Oundjian, music director for the festival. "After a long period of missing the magical sound of a large orchestra in person, we have a renewed sense of gratitude for the ability to share the greatest orchestral music with our community once again."

There will be 13 guest artists, 4 guest conductors, and three internationally-acclaimed quartets. That includes Boulder's own Grammy Award-winning Takács Quartet, which will open the festival on June 30.

"[Takács] is one of the best quartets in history of string quartet playing and they have resided in boulder at CU for 30 years at least." Oundjian said in an interview with CBS News Colorado.

He added that many of the musicians at the festival come from across the country and the world for this festival.

"These people have been playing together during the summertime for many, many years. Some of them for 30 years, some of them are new."

Oundjian says that regardless of their experience, all of the musicians manage to get up to speed in a very short amount of time.

"They adapt extremely quickly, it's just a language that we all try to understand as fast as we can and express with as much conviction as we can."

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(credit: CBS)

There are three pieces premiering at the 2022 festival, including a world premiere commissioned work by Timo Andres performed on July 14; a Colorado premiere and co-commission by Wynton Marsalis on Aug. 7; and a world premiere by Wang Jie, Flying on the Scaly Backs of Our Mountains, on Aug. 4.

There will also be unique programming, including a one-night-only performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, including a dramatic reading by actor John de Lancie, known for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, on July 31. Local actors will make up the cast, but the musicians are not limiting their contributions to staying in the orchestral pit.

"Even our tuba player, who is an incredible personality, will be taking on the role of Bottom."

On the subject of tubas, the annual CMF family concert returns on Sunday, July 3, with a performance of Tubby the Tuba by vaudeville-inspired musical storytellers Really Inventive Stuff. The program also includes Benjamin Britten's classic Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The family concert is designed to introduce children to orchestral performances in an approachable way and help them become lifelong lovers of classical music.

For a second year, CMF will perform its Kaleidoscope concert on July 15, which adds theatrical elements such as lighting and cinematography to a concert centered around John Adams' Road Movies.

"The program is incredibly varied and quite unpredictable. We did it for the first time last year and I have to say it was probably my favorite concert. That is partly because I was in the audience for it."

There will also be a full week dedicated to contemporary composers—called "Music of Today Week."

"We're playing really only music by living composers which is really exciting…" Oundijan says that there is only one exception to the rule. "I'm actually going to close that week with Symphony #6 by Christopher Rouse who is the only non-living composer. But the reason he's there is that he passed away very recently, right after he completed the 6th symphony. He did not even hear the premiere performance, which happened right before the pandemic."

colo music festival
(credit: CBS)

Colorado Music Festival concerts will take place at Chautauqua Auditorium from June 30 through Aug. 7. For more information about CMF or to purchase tickets, visit, email, or call 303-440-7666.


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