A Musical Journey Through Colorado

May 7, 2024

Colorado is well-known for its majestic mountains, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. The state also contains a treasure trove for classical music enthusiasts. From intimate chamber performances to grand symphony orchestras, Colorado offers a rich variety of musical experiences that captivate the listener and showcase the talents of musicians of all kinds.

As you embark on your musical journey through Colorado, nature’s beauty and the beauty of classical compositions come together to create an amazing experience. Let’s cover some of the ways the Centennial State creates the time and space to truly enjoy classical music in community, as well as the history and culture behind the artistry.

Exploring Denver’s Classical Musical Heritage

Start your journey in Denver, the bustling capital city nestled against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Here, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a center for artistic excellence, hosting world-class orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the year. Denver offers an array of classical performances of every size to suit every musical palate.

For aficionados of classical piano, the virtuoso performances at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver are not to be missed. Talented pianists perform passionate interpretations of pieces by composers like Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff.

Additionally, the Friends of Chamber Music and the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra are integral parts of Denver’s classical music scene. The Friends of Chamber Music present chamber music performances featuring both established artists and newer talents, enriching the cultural landscape of Denver with their dedication to the chamber music tradition.

Meanwhile, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra hosts performances in the historic Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Denver. With its commitment to artistic excellence and community engagement, the Denver Philharmonic delights audiences with the depth and beauty of classical music.

The Colorado Symphony shares staff members with the Colorado Music Festival, and they offer a user-friendly guide of FAQ’s on their website, so that anyone thinking about visiting or viewing a performance can know what to expect. One of their missions is to make classical music more accessible for Colorado residents and all visitors, and their eclectic blend of performances and educational resources make that mission a reality.

Classical Music Under the Stars

If you’re looking for a bit more of an adventure, drive beyond the city limits and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Colorado’s outdoor concert venues. Picture yourself reclining on a blanket under the clear, Western night sky, listening to symphony orchestras and chamber groups under the stars.

One such venue is the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, carved into the rocks of Morrison, Colorado. Experience the magic of classical music sitting in between the natural sandstone cliffs, creating an acoustic experience unlike any other. No matter the musical style, Red Rocks offers a concert going experience that is truly unforgettable.

Cultural Treasures of Colorado

No musical journey through Colorado would be complete without exploring the state’s rich cultural heritage housed within the mountainous ski towns. Visit historic towns such as Aspen, Vail, and Telluride, where annual music festivals draw renowned musicians and music lovers from around the country. Enjoy the more intimate ambiance of chamber music performances in quaint venues, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain landscape.

The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) is a renowned classical music festival and educational institution located high in the mountain ranges west of Denver. Founded in 1949, it has grown into one of the premier classical music festivals in the world.

Welcoming both accomplished musicians and aspiring young artists, AMFS offers masterclasses and workshops in voice, conducting, composition, opera theater, and much more in addition to the festival in the summer months. Overall, it is a vibrant and dynamic institution that brings together world-class musicians, young and old, and music fans from around the globe for a summer of extraordinary music-making and learning.

Bravo! Vail is another summer-long music festival located in the picturesque mountain town. The festival places a high importance on the capturing and digital archiving of performances, using cinema-quality cameras to record and livestream events. Established in 1987, Bravo! Vail has grown from a handful of attendees to one of the world’s premier music festivals. During the summer months, Bravo! Vail touches the lives of thousands of people, both residents and seasonal visitors ,who come to the area specifically to hear beautiful music in the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Our very own Colorado Music Festival is another testament to the wonderful cultural heritage of Colorado classical music. Our calendar for this upcoming summer is filled with string concertos, piano duets, kid-oriented family concerts, and so much more. 2024 Festival highlights include the return of violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianist Olga Kern, and pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton; the world premiere of a new concerto by Gabriela Lena Frank; a celebration of Bruckner’s 200th birthday; and more, all with the help of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and some of the world’s most accomplished soloists.

Discovering Smaller Classical Groups

While Colorado boasts grand symphony orchestras and prestigious classical music festivals, the state also nurtures smaller classical ensembles that offer unique and intimate musical experiences.

In Boulder, the Boulder Chamber Orchestra attracts audiences with its dynamic performances and innovative programming. Led by renowned conductor Bahman Saless, this chamber ensemble showcases the talents of local musicians while exploring a diverse repertoire that spans centuries of classical music history.

For those who enjoy a more eclectic musical experience, the Colorado Chamber Players present chamber music concerts that blend classical repertoire with contemporary compositions. From Baroque sonatas to modern works by living composers, the Colorado Chamber Players offer a fresh perspective on the classical tradition, making music more accessible and enjoyable for all audiences.

Finally, the Boulder Philharmonic has been voted “Best in Boulder” eight years in a row for their efforts in offering music written by, and performed by, creators of diverse identities. From multi-genre productions featuring dance, choral and visual elements, to concerts with a unique hometown flavor, the Phil’s imaginative programming has resulted in increasing numbers of sold-out concerts, nationwide recognition at the inaugural SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center, and a Futures Fund grant from the League of American Orchestras and the National Endowment for the Arts for groundbreaking engagement.

Music Retail Stores

In the vibrant classical music scene of Denver, Colorado, music enthusiasts have access to a range of fantastic resources, including some stellar local music stores. For those looking to fine-tune their guitar skills or get their beloved instrument repaired, stores like Colfax Guitar Shop provide years of experience, expert sales advice, and top-notch repair services.

Meanwhile, stores like Von’s Violin Shop cater specifically to lovers of classical stringed instruments. Specializing in repair and services for violins, violas, cellos, and more, they’re trusted by musicians seeking to keep their instruments playing in perfect harmony.

And for those in need of rehearsal spaces or recording studios, places like The Keep Recording or The Music Range provide the perfect environment for musicians to hone their craft and bring their musical visions to life.

With these fantastic music stores complementing Denver’s thriving classical music festivals and venues, the Mile High City is a paradise for musicians of every age and genre.

High Elevation Harmonies

Whether you find yourself experiencing the grandeur of a symphony orchestra at Red Rocks, transported by the intimacy of a chamber music recital outdoors in Aspen, or captivated by the innovative performances of smaller classical ensembles, one thing is for sure: Colorado’s musical landscape is as diverse as the natural beauty that surrounds it. So, enjoy all of the sights and sounds of Colorado this summer!

Plan Your Festival Visit


Visiting Boulder

The Festival performs in beautiful Boulder, Colorado — a breathtaking location full of nature, culture, cuisine, art, and more.

Learn About Our Educational Programs


Festival Fellows

Meet the Festival Fellows: eight aspiring professional musicians who receive coaching and performance opportunities through the Festival and its guest artists.

Center for Musical Arts

This excellent community music school is also the educational arm of our organization.