Behind the Music

Curious to hear the stories behind the fantastic music being performed at the Colorado Music Festival? Join us for our popular pre-concert lectures, which are now virtual so you can watch from anywhere at any time. For each week of the Festival, a different guest speaker will provide insights into that week’s repertoire and composers and discuss their own connection to the pieces. You’ll hear stories, observations, and commentary in short videos you can access online before you head to the concert. Behind the Music is a free service.

2023 Behind the Music Videos

Peter and the Wolf

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Emily Bowman, Artistic Director at the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras, explores Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, with help from friends at the GBYO.

Peter and the Wolf: The Narrator

Denver-based comedian, actor, and entertainer Janae Burris discusses how she will approach narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf at the Festival’s Family Concert.

Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1

Cellist Anne Brennand discusses themes and background for the Cello Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed on July 27 and 28 by Johannes Moser and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra.

2022 Behind the Music Videos

Takács Quartet + Absolute Jest

In this Behind the Music episode, Education Director Kathy Kucsan discusses John Adams’ Absolute Jest (for orchestra + string quartet) with two members of the Takács Quartet, Harumi Rhodes and Richard O’Neill. 

Beethoven’s 5 Piano Concertos

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Brian Hickman, a piano faculty member at the Center for Musical Arts, discusses Beethoven’s cycle of 5 piano concertos.

Ryan Bancroft, Randall Goosby, Florence Price, and more

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Emily Bowman, principal violist at the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and artistic director at the Greater Boulder Youth Symphony, discusses many facets of the Festival concerts titled Sibelius’ Second Symphony + Violinist Randall Goosby.

Pianist Gabriela Montero & Improvisation

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Susan Olenwine, piano faculty at the Center for Musical Arts, discusses pianist Gabriela Montero’s rare improvisatory skills.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Tamara Meneghini, Professor of Theater at UC Boulder, describes the stories taking place in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony

In this Behind the Music episode, special guest Elliot Moore, Music Director of the Longmont Symphony, discusses Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

Interview: Composer Wang Jie & Music Director Peter Oundjian

In this discussion between composer Wang Jie and Festival Music Director Peter Oundjian, we learn about Jie’s creative process, hear a brief sample of her world premiere, and more.

Pianist Jan Lisiecki Performs Beethoven’s Cadenzas (2020)

Recorded in 2020 as part of our Virtual Festival, this hour includes conversation between Music Director Peter Oundjian and pianist Jan Lisiecki about the cadenzas that accompany Beethoven’s piano concertos, as well as engaging performances by Lisiecki.

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.

Your Gift Makes the Difference

Thank you for helping us to keep the music playing.