Boulder being the artistic hub that it is, it should come as no surprise that we host many festivals that showcase these amazing arts. This is especially true over the summer when we open up our outdoor venues.
From the creek fest to the big-time Shakespeare fest to the world-renowned International Fringe festival, Boulder becomes the destination of choice every summer for artistic festivals.
This weekend, one of the biggest of the festivals Boulder is known for is having its opening weekend, the Colorado Music Festival. The best of the best in classical music comes from local as well as far and wide to share in the performing and celebration of the cream of the crop in the classical music world, up at the beautiful and historic Chautauqua auditorium. This year, a new music director has taken the helm of the famous Colorado Music Festival, one Peter Oundjian, and Boulderites can’t wait to see what’s in store under his new leadership.
There’s something for everyone at the Colorado Music Festival; from Beethoven to Brahms, Dvorak to Tchaikovsky, romantic duos and Russian masters, a Mozart mini-Festival and a performance of Peter and the Wolf for the little ones, the Colorado Music Festival will have it all. Here’s an overview of what to look forward to at the festival:
Music Fests in Colorado
Colorado sure loves its music festivals, especially in the summertime, when the big outdoor venues open up and you can go listen to a myriad of different music groups of all genres, and cultivate your best looking sunburn. Fests like Arise, Sonic Bloom, the Telluride jazz fest, Rockygrass, and so many more are big, bold, and host some of the hottest names around.
Thing is, as cool as these festivals are, you have to travel pretty far from Boulder to get there, and if you’re a classical music fan, you’ll be left wanting.
That’s one of the many reasons why the Colorado Music Festival is so special: it’s right here in Boulder’s back yard, and brings in the greats from all over, to play the greats from across the spectrum and the ages of the classical music genre. Current groundbreaking pieces as well as, well, the classics, all are here under the summery roof of the Chautauqua auditorium.
History of the CMF
The Colorado Music Fest began way back in 1976, as the wee Colorado Chamber Orchestra, and once the Chautauqua auditorium finished its renovations in 1978, the nascent CMF began performing in its new home, at which you’ll find it today.
The year 2000 was a big one for the CMF, as ticket sales went through the roof and a more wide selection of eras of classical music was chosen to be on the menu for the festival. Lots of living legends of the classical music scene premiered their works here in our humble Boulder home (for a fun list of several of these greats, check out the CMF’s Wikipedia page, here), and now in 2019 with a new music director at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited to see what this summer will bring.
The Chautauqua Auditorium
The auditorium up at Chautauqua is one of the most beautiful venues Boulder has to boast, and it’s the perfect backdrop for the Colorado Music Festival. Originally built in 1898, the “Barn” as it’s sometimes affectionately called, is only open May through September. Why? Because it’s all beautiful unfinished timber (just like a real barn!) and is therefore, as the Chautauqua website says, “heated and cooled by Mother Nature.” So though you won’t be literally rained on (like at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival) you’ll still want to keep your eye on the weather forecast and bring water or blankets, depending on what it looks like our crazy Colorado weather is likely to do on your concert night.
The other advantage of the Chautauqua auditorium‘s barn-like qualities is its amazing acoustics: it’s the perfect place for a music festival, especially an orchestra. The surrounding foothills make for a natural accompaniment, and the beautifully rustic architecture is a feast for the eyes even as you get a feast for your ears.
The Chautauqua auditorium seats about 1300 audience members, and is one of Boulder’s historical landmarks, registered in the national registry for such things. What a perfect venue for the unique beauty that is the CMF!
What to Expect This Year
Opening night for the 2019 season is Thursday, June 27th, and it’s a concert called “Beethoven’s Path To Romanticism.” This stellar concert will highlight romantic works from Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, and Respighi, and will star the new director of the festival, Maestro Peter Oundjian, and piano virtuoso Natasha Paremski. This sounds like an amazing night, but it’s only the beginning of what looks like it’s shaping up to be an incredible summer of classical music.
Tickets & Calendar
The 2019 Colorado Music Festival begins Thursday June 27th, and ends Saturday August 3rd, with a festival finale of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. And in between those two dates, you’ll find something spectacular Thursdays through Sundays, with some Tuesdays thrown in for good measure. The full calendar is here on the CMF website; you’ll find so much you won’t want to miss, you might want to get right on your tickets, right here.
Not only is there a plethora of concerts to attend at the CMF, but there’s more: open rehearsals, talks with the artists, a gala, and much more all are on the docket this year for an unforgettable Colorado Music Festival.
See you all there, Boulder!