Looking Back on Our First-Ever Virtual Festival
The 2020 Virtual Festival may have concluded, but we are still basking in the warmth of the experience. We are so proud of our staff and musicians for coming together to find a creative way to continue to share beautiful music with the world, and we are grateful to our flexible and open-minded fans and supporters who joined us on our journey.
Here’s a fun fact about the success of the 2020 Virtual Festival: over 4,000 audience members joined us from all over the U.S. (46 states, plus Puerto Rico) and from 33 different countries!
Festival Orchestra Musicians Share Their Favorite Moments from the 2020 Virtual Festival
I loved the idea of working together on projects like this, despite the physical distance between musicians. It gave us a feeling of togetherness. It was great to see the final product. I also love Augustin [Hadelich]’s playing. The pristine sound, the perfect intonation, and his musicianship. One thought that kept coming back is: nothing can compare with live performances. As great as the recordings were, there’s a link missing. The energy between the musicians and their audience.
—Calin Lupanu, Concertmaster
For me the highlights of the [Virtual Festival] were the always incredible Augustin Hadelich and seeing the Copland fanfare. I miss my colleagues so much and hearing how amazing the brass sounded even spread all over the country (and Canada) made me immensely proud of our musicians. [The Festival] has done a brilliant job of creating an online festival that reflects the intensity and love we all share for this music!
—Donna Parkes, Principal Trombone
This was my first exposure to Florence Price’s beautiful quartet. I found it incredibly moving and made me want to go and check out the rest of the piece.
—Viviana Cumplido Wilson, Principal Flute
My fave moments (in no particular order) were:
- Augustin Hadelich — because his artistry was breathtaking, and his conversation was endlessly fascinating, educational, and fun!
- The Villa-Lobos’ Choros #2 and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro — because not only were they the only music I’ve performed live with another musician since the pandemic arts shutdown began, but I got to perform them with my favorite flutist and friend, Viviana Cumplido Wilson.
- The virtual Beethoven 7 performed by the Festival Orchestra — because when I saw our performance, even though we were separated, I could still feel the energy and artistry of my friends and colleagues that I so missed seeing this year. And it brought me to tears.
—Steve Hanusofski, Assistant Principal Clarinet
I was blown away with Ji Su Jung’s virtuosity.
—Peter Wilson, Principal Timpani
I am so proud to be a part of the [Festival] family. It was an incredible experience to watch the virtual festival over the past few weeks. Of the many highlights, I must first mention the exquisite Takács Quartet, of whom I have been an avid fan since I was a young girl. I must have listened to their Beethoven quartets thousands of times! Second, one of the most inspiring soloists and violinists, Augustin Hadelich, who is one of the most incredible artists I have ever heard. And last, but certainly not least, my [Festival] colleagues. I loved getting to connect musically with all of you virtually, and very much looking forward to next summer.
—Tessa Gotman, Violin
Festival Staff Members Share Their Favorite Moments from the 2020 Virtual Festival
I have to admit, my favorite moment of the Virtual Festival was bittersweet. It was when I first saw the compiled footage (in the editing process) of the Orchestra musicians’ recordings for Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. I recognized them and realized how much I missed seeing them in person. I could also see that they were playing in empty rooms to recording devices, yet were still such consummate professionals, giving their all to the performance despite the incredible challenges I knew they were personally and professionally facing. I have never been more inspired to lead this organization, ensuring they and their audience have something to return to in 2021.
—Elizabeth McGuire, Executive Director
For months I anticipated what would end up being my favorite moment of the Virtual Festival. As the Orchestra Personnel Manager, I helped in coordinating the MANY elements that had to line up to create our own Beethoven 7 finale. There were initial Zoom calls to set up our process, followed by getting in touch with all the musicians, and then of course, the technical troubleshooting that our virtual reality demands.
Almost every week of the year I talk and email and text with our Festival Orchestra members in order to coordinate each summer. So, to be without the cathartic moment of seeing the whole Orchestra miraculously arrive in Boulder and play its first notes onstage—well, was something I truly missed. I also really missed my colleagues as I prepared my own violin part for the virtual performance. BUT, I got goosebumps seeing most of our Orchestra appear on the screen for one of my favorite Beethoven symphonies. And I felt like I was ‘meeting’ some of our new musicians who had auditioned for the orchestra during the year. I had been in communication with each of them, but getting to see and hear them play with the orchestra was great.
[Sound engineers] Mike Quam and Mike Hosford did a fantastic job at the command center of this voyage, and I was so moved by the artistic configurations of the video, reflecting the audio content.
I talked and texted with many members after the event, and even heard that some of our Orchestra musicians were holding their own watching parties, hanging out with each other via Zoom, while doing screen sharing of the Festival event. What a double virtual reality!!
Of all my 20 summers as a Festival musician, this summer will certainly register as a memorable one. But I really can’t wait until we are all back onstage together, doing what we do best by connecting with our audiences on the Chautauqua stage.
—Lisa Vaupel, Orchestra Personnel Manager
Beethoven 7. It brought tears to my eyes to see all of the musicians we usually get to spend the summer with. It was both soothing to see and hear them, and heartbreaking for them to be so far away.
—Cindy Hohman, Marketing Director
I fully expected to hear great music, and did. What was particularly fun for me was learning a few tricks of the trade. I will never play violin or marimba, but now know something about bouncing bow technique (violin) and changing intervals with mallets (marimba). This “inside baseball” really enhanced my appreciation!
—Morgan O’Brien, Development Director
Although we missed the special Thursday nights at Chautauqua, gathering with others to share in the music, each Thursday night was filled with the anticipation of the personal interviews from Peter [Oundjian] with the various musicians. It gave a special feel that you were right there in the room with them and part of the intimate setting. Probably the greatest highlight was seeing the brass featured as often as they were. Knowing the incredible talent they bring, it carried an extra special appreciation seeing them each in their own setting playing their hearts out and the sound coming together for all to share. If you closed your eyes, they were all on the stage at Chautauqua.
We know this was not an easy task and it gave us even greater respect and appreciation for each of the dedicated musicians and the experts who made this happen. There is nothing like live music, but this was an incredible gift to be part of and truly made the 2020 season a success. Still looking forward to being with them next year.
—Louise Christopher, Corporate and Major Gifts Associate, and Steve Christopher, Director of Jazz Studies, Center for Musical Arts
Audience Members Share Their Reactions to the 2020 Virtual Festival
Enjoy this small sampling of comments from our attendees, and thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our first Virtual Festival!
I’m giving a digital standing ovation!!!! Thrilling, from start to finish! Ahhhh….beautiful Florence Price. It’s exciting that this composer’s music is being discovered and performed! I teared up throughout her piece! I’m filled to the brim with joy and so grateful to get to experience this extraordinary concert. Thank you, Takács Quartet! Thank you, Peter Oundjian! Thank you, COLORADO MUSIC FESTIVAL!!!
A great set, thrilling performances, and it all translated onto video: not easy to do. Didn’t realize this would be the violist’s debut — what a find. The banter and commentary between pieces also added to a surprisingly intimate evening. And I can’t say enough about the video quality. Absolutely awesome. As such, this really begs for some production credits at the end — it was THAT well done. [Colorado Music Festival] deserves kudos not just for putting this “virtual” season together and sharing it online, but for executing it at such a high level.
The Takács definitely broke through my screen! Thank you, [Colorado Music Festival]!!
Thank you so much. My husband and I watched in our back yard with clouds floating by. Wonderful!
The fireworks at the end over the flatirons and beautiful Chautauqua were great! Great touch, well-timed with the music, and made me laugh out loud! I’ve added Sharon Isbin to my Spotify favorites! Thank you everyone — musicians and especially those behind the scenes.
Glorious passion shared between Peter, Jan [Lisiecki], and of course Beethoven was a joy and their enthusiasm contagious with overflowing love! Wonderful time to share all of these up-lifting performances this summer to inspire everyone, to add this joy and frivolity to the consciousness. Thank you. ^_^
Thank you very much, Peter Oundjian and Jan Lisiecki, for the very interesting insights into Beethoven’s genius world of music. I have a deeper, more intimate understanding of his brilliant techniques, and of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful performances.
Thank you so very much for this wonderful series of concerts. i enjoyed very much the discussions about the specifics of the pieces, hearing from some of the composers, and the energy of the musicians for why they perform together. The presentation in digital format was very engaging and professional. It was a wonderful form of communication to connect to the creativity and originality of each broadcast. Really appreciative to have this fabulous opportunity to invite all of your talent into my home!
What an outpouring of energy, creativity and good will to be able to carry the Colorado Music Festival 2020 on with the unbelievable strength in these times. I am most honored to sit in my home and experience the results of its ongoing beauty and purity of spirit.
Thank you for making this an incredible Virtual Festival!
Whether you were working behind the scenes, making the music, enjoying the artistry, your participation made our first-ever Virtual Festival a success.
Watch clips of the 2020 Virtual Festival on YouTube
Watch a bonus performance by the Takács Quartet (Beethoven String Quartet No. 15, movement III)
Experience our Festival 360° performance (be sure to click and drag your mouse to change the perspective of the video)