By Libby Smith

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS)Colorado Music Festival will be presenting a full season of in-person concerts at Chautauqua Auditorium, with some live-streaming options. The season runs from July 1 – August 7, and will feature 22 performances of orchestral and chamber music, by the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and guest artists.

“It’s just so exciting,” said Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Festival, of planning an in-person season again. “Because performing for cameras or microphones is just not the same, everyone can sense that. An audience may seem like their silent, but actually it really is kind of a conversation. So we’re all very, very excited to get back.”

(credit: Colorado Music Festival)

The Festival features world-class musicians from around the country who come together to make up the Colorado Music Festival orchestra under the direction of Oundjian. The orchestra will be joined by 17 guest artists, three string quartets, and three guest conductors.

“A huge amount of variety actually,” Oundjian said of the season. “Several phenomenal violinists and pianists, a great saxophone player, probably the world’s greatest female cellist since Jacqueline du Pre, who was such a legend.”

Chautauqua Auditorium (credit: CBS)

Artist-in-residence Augustin Hadelich will perform the first and fifth weeks of the Festival. First he’ll do Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E, and then he’ll perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

“I think many people will say he’s the greatest violinist of his generation. He’s the most wonderful human being, and an impeccable player,” Oundjian said of Hadelich. “I mean he plays incredibly fast but it just doesn’t seem difficult for him at all.”

Probably the most exciting aspect of the season this summer is that the Festival will have four world premieres, including a work from Aaron Jay Kernis which commemorates the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So we thought that was really important to start the festival with a gesture towards what we’ve all be through.” Oundjian explained.

There will also be a new cello concerto by Joan Tower, a new work by Hannah Lash, and a tribute to James Baldwin by composer Joel Thompson. The piece will feature selections of Baldwin’s own words woven into a musical profile.

“I think a lot of people think of classical music as being always by people who died a long time ago. And as great as the music of Beethoven or Mozart or whatever is, it’s really important that we hear music being created today,” Oundjian told CBSN Denver.

LINK: Ticket Information for the Colorado Music Festival

The Colorado Music Festival runs July 1 – August 7 at Chautauqua Auditorium.

Libby Smith