February 28, 2024
Colorado Music Festival 2024 in Boulder, July 5 — August 4

World Premiere by Gabriela Lena Frank
Boulder-based Takács Quartet is the ensemble-soloist in 
Frank’s new CMF-commissioned concerto, July 21

Celebration of Bruckner at 200 and
Schoenberg at 150

Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, July 14

Music by Living Composers

John Adams, Anna Clyne, Daniel Dorff, Gabriela Lena Frank, Vivian Fung, Rob Kapilow, Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts and Joan Tower

Guest Artists and Conductors
*Indicates Debut Performance on CMF Stage

Conductors Rune Bergmann*, Gemma New*, and Jacob Joyce*; Soprano Karina Gauvin; Pianists Olga Kern, Christina and Michelle Naughton*, and Awadagin Pratt*; Violinists Vadim Gluzman and Augustin Hadelich; Cellist Alisa Weilerstein; Danish String Quartet and Takács Quartet

BOULDER, CO: February 28, 2024 - The Colorado Music Festival (CMF) in Boulder, Colorado, under the leadership of Music Director Peter Oundjian, returns to Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder this summer for 19 concerts between July 5 and August 4.

Since Oundjian’s arrival as Music Director in 2020, the Festival has been making a name for itself by offering a thoughtful and adventurous combination of music by living composers and favorites from the classical canon, with internationally-acclaimed guest artists, ensembles and conductors. CMF Orchestra musicians represent dozens of orchestras from more than 20 states and Canadian provinces and beyond.". The spectacular setting, at the base of Boulder’s dramatic Flatirons, is just an hour from Denver.

“Every single evening of the Festival this year takes audiences on a different journey,” says Music Director Peter Oundjian. “There is a concert devoted to women composers, with a brand-new concerto by the great Gabriela Lena Frank alongside music by Joan Tower and Florence Price. Pianist Awadagin Pratt will perform the piece he commissioned from Jessie Montgomery, which just won a GRAMMY Award. We’re celebrating Schoenberg at 150 and the Bruckner bicentennial with two masterpieces; and another night is devoted to Mozart, with the amazing piano duo of Christine and Michelle Naughton. My intent is that the contrast between the musical choices will be stimulating for both the musicians and the audience. Each week has a unique focus, and no evening is like any other.”
"We are continuing to focus on how our Festival stands apart,” said executive director Elizabeth McGuire. “There is a brilliance throughout this season as a result of thoughtful, innovative programming. We delight in introducing our audience to diverse and contemporary voices right alongside — and in conversation with! — the great masterworks.”

Festival highlights include the following. A complete, chronological list of concerts can be found at the end of the press release. 

  • The world premiere of a CMF-commissioned concerto by Gabriela Lena Frank, conducted by Peter Oundjian, features the Grammy Award–winning Takács Quartet (who will be embarking on their 50th season) as soloists (Sunday, July 21). Frank’s world premiere is part of a program honoring three generations of women composers, beginning with Florence Price’s Adoration in its string arrangement, and closing with Joan Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Gabriela Lena Frank | Photo: Mariah Tauger
The Takacs Quartet | Photo: Amanda Tipton

  • CMF showcases other 21st-century works by living composers, including Anna Clyne’s Masquerade (July 5 and 7); John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine (July 11 and 12); Vivian Fung’s Prayer (July 18 and 19); Jessie Montgomery’s GRAMMY Award-winning Rounds for piano and string orchestra (July 25 and 26); and Kevin Puts’s Two Mountain Scenes (August 1 and 2).
  • The Festival celebrates anniversaries of two important, very different composers: the 200th birthday of Anton Bruckner and the 150th birthday of Arnold Schoenberg. Peter Oundjian conducts a program on Sunday, July 14, with works by both composers, opening with Schoenberg’s hauntingly beautiful early work Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) and ending with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Romantic.
  • The inventive Danish String Quartet returns to the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series on Tuesday, July 30, with a program of  works by Haydn and Schumann, along with their own arrangements of Scandinavian and Northern European folk tunes. The series includes three other programs featuring CMF’s own musicians (July 9, 16 and 23). 
  • CMF welcomes a diverse group of musicians this summer, including many CMF audience favorites and artists making their debuts. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein makes her highly anticipated return to the Festival on opening night to perform Dvořák’s breathtaking Cello Concerto (July 5 and 7), and the incomparable violinist Augustin Hadelich returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s unparalleled Violin Concerto (August 1 and 2). Pianist Awadagin Pratt makes his CMF debut with Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds, which he commissioned, and which just won a 2024 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition; Pratt also joins the Orchestra in J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A Major (July 25 and 26). Also making his CMF debut is Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann, in a program of music by Vivian Fung, Rachmaninoff (featuring pianist Olga Kern) and Grieg (July 18 and 19). The New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New makes her debut in an evening of Mozart, with pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, who make their long-awaited stage debut at CMF, (following a virtual concert for CMF audiences during the pandemic) (July 28).  And to close out the festival, Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin joins the orchestra for music by Ravel and Mahler (August 4). 
  • On Sunday, July 7 at 10:30 a.m., CMF features its Family Concert “Green Eggs and Ham,” conducted by Jacob Joyce. Musical storytellers Really Inventive Stuff bring a fully staged adaptation by Rob Kapilow of Dr. Seuss’s beloved family classic featuring Sam-I-Am. The program also includes Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, Daniel Dorff’s Three Fun Fables and Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. Tickets are $10. 

Tickets to the 2024 Festival range from $18-85 and will be available on March 5, 2024, on the CMF website.

CMF offers $10 tickets for youth (ages 18 and under) and students (with current school identification). For more information, visit CMF’s ticketing page

For more information about CMF, or to purchase tickets, visit ColoradoMusicFestival.org or call the Chautauqua box office at 303-440-7666.

A full media kit, including photos, is HERE

Colorado Music Festival concerts take place at Chautauqua Auditorium, which was built in 1898. Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons and one of only 25 National Historic Landmarks in the state of Colorado, the Colorado Chautauqua remains committed to its historic purpose.

About Colorado Music Festival 

Founded in 1976, the ​Colorado Music Festival (CMF)​ presents a summer season of classical music concerts performed by professional musicians from around the world at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder. Guest artists from Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S. join more than 100 all-star musicians, who comprise the CMF Orchestra, in performances that inspire and engage concertgoers of all ages. Under the music direction of Peter Oundjian, the CMF thrills audiences of more than 20,000 each season with programming that embraces the most beloved classical music repertoire, while integrating world music and the works of exciting modern composers. For more information about CMF, or to purchase tickets, visit ColoradoMusicFestival.org or call the Chautauqua box office at 303-440-7666. 

Alisa Weilerstein | Photo: Marco Borggreve

Colorado Music Festival 2024
Summer Concert Season
Chronological List of Concerts

Friday, July 5, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 7, 6:30 p.m.

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Anna Clyne, Masquerade (2013)
Antonin Dvořák, Cello Concerto
Felix Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 4, Italian

The 2024 Festival season opens with the much-anticipated return of cellist Alisa Weilerstein, whose music “emerges with sunlit clarity” (The Guardian); here, Weilerstein performs Dvořák’s breathtaking Cello Concerto. The program begins with a brief and evocative Masquerade by Anna Clyne; the composer drew inspiration from promenade concerts held in London’s pleasure gardens and their “exotic street entertainers, dancers, fireworks,” and of course, masquerades. The second half of the concert is devoted to Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony, which he called “the happiest piece I have ever done.” 

CMF Family Concert | Photo: Geremy Kornreich

Sunday, July 7, 10:30 a.m. 
Jacob Joyce, conductor
Really Inventive Stuff, storytellers
Jennifer DeDominici, mezzo-soprano

Mikhail Glinka, Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture
Daniel Dorff, Three Fun Fables
Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 21 
Rob Kapilow, Green Eggs and Ham

Do you like Green Eggs and Ham? Musical storytellers Really Inventive Stuff return by popular demand, this time with their fully staged adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s beloved children’s classic featuring Sam-I-Am. This engaging Family Concert also includes a musical twist on three of Aesop’s most familiar fables: “The Fox and the Crow,” “The Dog and His Reflection,” and “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

Tuesday, July 9, 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Music Festival musicians

Ernst von Dohnányi, Sextet in C Major
Ludwig van Beethoven, Duet with two Obligato Eyeglasses for viola and cello in E-flat Major WoO 32
Robert Schumann, Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47

The 2024 Robert Mann Chamber Music Series begins with a spotlight on the Festival’s own musicians. Dohnányi’s sextet brings together piano, string trio, clarinet, and horn, an uncommon combination that the composer uses to mischievous effect. Beethoven’s brief “Eyeglasses Duo” is so called for a friendly note between colleagues — both Beethoven and his cellist friend Nikolaus Zmeskall required spectacles — and its music is similarly conversational and good-humored. Schumann embedded some of his most aching and romantic music into his Piano Quartet, a chamber gem of contrast and delight.  

Vadim Gluzman | Photo: Marco Borggreve

Thursday, July 11, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 12, 6:30 p.m.

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Vadim Gluzman, violin

John Adams, Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986)
Sergei Prokofiev, Violin Concerto No. 2 
Igor Stravinsky, Rite of Spring

Famous for inciting a riot at its 1913 premiere in response to its revolutionary compositional techniques, Stravinsky’s Rite represents “the mystery and great surge of creative power of Spring.” BBC Music Magazine has praised violinist Vadim Gluzman’s performance of Prokofiev’s acerbic Second Violin Concerto as “a thing of great beauty.” This exuberant program opens with a spirited Short Ride in a Fast Machine, of which composer John Adams asks, “You know how it is when someone asks you to ride in a terrific sports car, and then you wish you hadn’t?”

Sunday, July 14, 6:30 p.m.
Peter Oundjian, conductor

Arnold Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”), Op. 4
Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 4, Romantic

The year 2024 marks Schoenberg’s 150th birthday and Bruckner’s 200th; this program celebrates both with landmark works from each composer. Schoenberg’s chromatic and beautiful Transfigured Night draws inspiration from a poem about a woman harboring a dark secret and the man who loves her enough to forgive her. It is paired with one of Bruckner’s best-loved works, his Fourth Symphony. Music Director Peter Oundjian calls this inspired concert “the most beautiful program of the summer.”

Tuesday, July 16, 7:30 p.m. 
Colorado Music Festival musicians

Carl Nielsen, Wind Quintet, Op. 43
Franz Schubert, String Quintet in C Major, Op. 163, D. 956

The Robert Mann Chamber Music Series continues by highlighting musicians from the Festival’s own ranks. One of the most beloved works ever written for wind quintet is this music by Carl Nielsen; he composed his Wind Quintet with five friends in mind, and this warmth, as well as the personality of each instrument, shines through. Schubert’s sublime and romantic C major String Quartet is regarded as one of the greatest string quartets of any era. 

Thursday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 19, 6:30 p.m.

Rune Bergmann, conductor
Olga Kern, piano
Kabin Thomas, narrator

Vivian Fung, Prayer (2020)
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18
Edvard Grieg, Suite from Peer Gynt

Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann (Music Director of Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic, among other posts) makes his Festival debut with a program that opens with Canadian composer Vivian Fung’s inspirational Prayer. Festival favorite Olga Kern returns to perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, fresh from performances celebrating the composer’s 150th birthday in 2023. After intermission, Colorado Public Radio’s Kabin Thomas narrates the outlandish tale of Peer Gynt by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg; it’s the tale of a hopeless yarn-spinner who lies and sneaks his way through many misadventures and ultimately learns his lesson.

Sunday, July 21, 6:30 p.m. 
Featuring the Takács Quartet

Florence Price, Adoration
Gabriela Lena Frank, world premiere
Joan Tower, Concerto for Orchestra (1991)

This program, celebrating three generations of women composers, is anchored by a world premiere by Gabriela Lena Frank, heralded as one of the most significant women composers in history by The Washington Post, and currently composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra. This new work, commissioned by the Festival, is performed by Boulder’s Grammy-winning Takács Quartet as ensemble-soloist alongside the Orchestra. After intermission is Joan Tower’s brilliant Concerto for Orchestra, about which she says, “I had imagined a long and large landscape that had a feeling of space and distance,” in which the music “travels a long road.” The program opens with Florence Price’s Adoration (1951), originally conceived for solo organ and performed here in its stunning arrangement for strings. 

Tuesday, July 23, 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Music Festival musicians

Joseph Haydn, String Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2
Claude Debussy, Sonata for flute, viola, and harp
Felix Mendelssohn, String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20

The Robert Mann Chamber Music Series continues to spotlight the Festival’s own musicians. Haydn’s String Quartets achieved a new range of expression for secular music; his String Quartet C major, Op. 20, No. 2 is a diamond from start to finish. Debussy, a master of impressionism and fantasy, creates a quintessential dreamscape in his Sonata for Flute, Harp, and Viola. Instead of treating his string octet as two individual quartets, Mendelssohn’s innovative Octet finds all eight musicians working tightly together in, as the composer requested, “symphonic orchestral style.” 

Awadagin Pratt | Photo: Rob Davidson
Jessie Montgomery | Photo: Jiyang Chen

Thursday, July 25, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 26, 6:30 p.m.

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Awadagin Pratt, piano

Johann Sebastian Bach, Keyboard Concerto in A Major BWV 1055 
Jessie Montgomery, Rounds for piano and string orchestra (2022)
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade

Celebrated pianist Awadagin Pratt makes his Festival debut with music old and new, beginning with Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A major. Pratt then performs the 2024 GRAMMY Award-winning Rounds, a piece he commissioned from lauded composer Jessie Montgomery. The work is inspired by an epic poem by T.S. Eliot and the opposing forces that appear in nature — “action and reaction, dark and light, stagnant and swift.”  The concert concludes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, which suggests tales of royalty, festivals, sea voyages, and more in his richly orchestrated fantasy. 

Sunday, July 28, 6:30 p.m.
Gemma New, conductor
Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concerto in E-flat Major for Two Pianos, K. 365
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No. 35, Haffner

New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New, recipient of the prestigious 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, was called “a rising star in the musical firmament” by St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She makes her Festival debut with an evening of Mozart that features twin sister pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, whom The Washington Post declares “have to be heard to be believed.” Following the charming serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik (“A Little Night Music”), the Naughtons perform the Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, written for Mozart to play with his beloved sister Nannerl. After intermission is Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, a staggering work of intensity and invention. 

The Danish String Quartet | Photo: Caroline Bittencourt

Tuesday, July 30, 7:30 p.m.
Haydn, String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20 No. 3 
Schumann, String Quartet No. 3 in A Major, Op. 41 No. 3 
Danish String Quartet (arr), Folk Music 

The Danish String Quartet, one of the world’s preeminent string quartets, are a highly sought-after ensemble known for their inventive programming and profound, joyful performances. They return to the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series with a characteristically varied program including work by Haydn and Schumann as well as their own arrangements of Scandinavian and Northern European folk tunes.  

Thursday, August 1, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, August 2, 6:30 p.m.

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Kevin Puts, Two Mountain Scenes (2007)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Antonin Dvořák, Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70

Augustin Hadelich, widely recognized as one of the greatest violinists of our time, returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s unparalleled Violin Concerto. Kevin Puts’s Two Mountain Scenes, composed “with the impressive backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in mind” and beginning with “the sonic illusion of a single trumpet reverberating across the valley,” opens the program.  The evening concludes with Dvořák’s urgent Seventh Symphony, of which he wrote, “What is in my mind is Love, God, and my Fatherland." 

Sunday, August 4, 6:30 p.m.
Peter Oundjian, conductor
Karina Gauvin, soprano

Johann Strauss, Overture to Die Fledermaus
Maurice Ravel, Shéhérazade
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 4

Music Director Peter Oundjian continues his tradition of ending the season with glorious music by Mahler. The composer built his Fourth Symphony around his own song “The Heavenly Life,” which borrows text from a Bavarian folk poem. “The angelic voices gladden our senses,” the poem proclaims, “so that everything awakens for joy.” Mahler’s sunniest symphony invokes bells, harp, and woodwinds. In keeping with the lightness of the work, Mahler insisted the soprano perform “with childlike, cheerful expression”; the renowned Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin joins the Orchestra in this role. This final concert of the season also includes Ravel’s colorful twist on the Shéhérazade tales — again featuring Gauvin’s “glowing, flexible tone” (Opera News) — and the overture to Strauss’ most famous and farcical operetta, Die Fledermaus.

Peter Oundjian and the CMF Orchestra | Photo: Geremy Kornreich
See Related:
Back to List
Back to Top