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.

 

Olga Kern & Grieg’s Peer Gynt

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Welcome back, Festival favorite Olga Kern! Fresh off a celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th anniversary, Kern performs his Second Piano Concerto — a success from its inception, this memorable concerto’s themes that have been borrowed by countless films, Sinatra songs, and more. After intermission, Colorado Public Radio’s Kabin Thomas narrates the outlandish tale of Peer Gynt, a hopeless yarn-spinner who lies and sneaks his way through many misadventures and ultimately learns his lesson. Audiences will immediately recognize Grieg’s music, including the unforgettable “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and “Morning Mood.” Guest conductor Gemma New leads this crowd-pleasing program, which opens with Vivian Fung’s inspirational Prayer.

$18 – $85

Olga Kern & Grieg’s Peer Gynt

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Welcome back, Festival favorite Olga Kern! Fresh off a celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th anniversary, Kern performs his Second Piano Concerto — a success from its inception, this memorable concerto’s themes that have been borrowed by countless films, Sinatra songs, and more. After intermission, Colorado Public Radio’s Kabin Thomas narrates the outlandish tale of Peer Gynt, a hopeless yarn-spinner who lies and sneaks his way through many misadventures and ultimately learns his lesson. Audiences will immediately recognize Grieg’s music, including the unforgettable “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and “Morning Mood.” Guest conductor Gemma New leads this crowd-pleasing program, which opens with Vivian Fung’s inspirational Prayer.

$18 – $85

Gabriela Lena Frank’s World Premiere

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Be the first to experience a brand new concerto by Gabriela Lena Frank, heralded as one of the most significant women composers in history by the Washington Post. This exciting new work was commissioned by the Festival and will be performed by Boulder’s Grammy-winning Takács Quartet as ensemble-soloist alongside the Orchestra. After intermission, Joan Tower’s brilliant Concerto for Orchestra allows for great moments of individual virtuosity, but ultimately it is the entire Orchestra that shines. “I had imagined a long and large landscape that had a feeling of space and distance,” Tower says of her Concerto for Orchestra, in which the music “travels a long road.” This program celebrates three generations of women composers and opens with Florence Price’s Adoration, originally conceived for solo organ and performed here in its stunning arrangement for strings.

$18 – $80

Haydn, Debussy & Mendelssohn

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

The Robert Mann Chamber Music Series continues with a spotlight on the Festival’s own musicians. Haydn’s String Quartets achieved a new range of expression for secular music; his String Quartet C major, Op. 20, No. 2 is a diamond from start to finish. Debussy, a master of impressionism and fantasy, creates a quintessential dreamscape in his Sonata for Flute, Harp, and Viola. Instead of treating his string octet as two individual quartets, Mendelssohn’s innovative Octet finds all eight musicians working tightly together in, as the composer requested, “symphonic orchestral style.”

$18 – $70

Awadagin Pratt + Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Celebrated pianist Awadagin Pratt makes his Festival debut with music old and new, beginning with Bach’s nimble Keyboard Concerto in A major. Pratt then performs a piece he commissioned from lauded composer Jessie Montgomery; her Rounds is inspired by an epic poem by T.S. Eliot and the opposing forces that appear in nature — “action and reaction, dark and light, stagnant and swift.” In Eastern folklore, the princess Scheherazade told the cruel Sultan 1,001 stories in order to save her own life; Rimsky-Korsakov borrows Scheherazade’s tales of royalty, festivals, sea voyages, and more in his richly orchestrated fantasy.

$18 – $80

Awadagin Pratt + Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Celebrated pianist Awadagin Pratt makes his Festival debut with music old and new, beginning with Bach’s nimble Keyboard Concerto in A major. Pratt then performs a piece he commissioned from lauded composer Jessie Montgomery; her Rounds is inspired by an epic poem by T.S. Eliot and the opposing forces that appear in nature — “action and reaction, dark and light, stagnant and swift.” In Eastern folklore, the princess Scheherazade told the cruel Sultan 1,001 stories in order to save her own life; Rimsky-Korsakov borrows Scheherazade’s tales of royalty, festivals, sea voyages, and more in his richly orchestrated fantasy.

$18 – $80

Mozart: Duo Pianos, Haffner & A Little Night Music

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

The Washington Post declares that twin sister pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton “have to be heard to be believed”; the Festival is honored to welcome these audience favorites for an all-Mozart program. Following the charming serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik (“A Little Night Music”), the Naughtons perform the Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, written for Mozart to play with his beloved sister Nannerl. After intermission is Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, a staggering work of intensity and invention.

$18 – $80

Danish String Quartet

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

“Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did,” says the Danish String Quartet, a highly sought-after ensemble of energetic musicians who met each other at music camp as teenagers. The Quartet returns to the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series with a varied program including work by Haydn, Stravinsky, and Mozart, as well as Shostakovich’s profound String Quartet No. 3 and three Irish folk melodies by Celtic harper and composer Turlough O’Carolan.

$18 – $70

Augustin Hadelich & Dvořák 7

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Augustin Hadelich, one of the greatest violinists of all time, returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s unparalleled Violin Concerto. The deeply patriotic Dvořák wished to use his music to recognize the struggle and oppression of his fellow Czechs; he wrote of this urgent Seventh Symphony, “What is in my mind is Love, God, and my Fatherland." Kevin Puts’ Two Mountain Scenes, composed “with the impressive backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in mind” and beginning with “the sonic illusion of a single trumpet reverberating across the valley,” opens this wondrous program.

$18 – $85

Augustin Hadelich & Dvořák 7

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Augustin Hadelich, one of the greatest violinists of all time, returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s unparalleled Violin Concerto. The deeply patriotic Dvořák wished to use his music to recognize the struggle and oppression of his fellow Czechs; he wrote of this urgent Seventh Symphony, “What is in my mind is Love, God, and my Fatherland." Kevin Puts’ Two Mountain Scenes, composed “with the impressive backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in mind” and beginning with “the sonic illusion of a single trumpet reverberating across the valley,” opens this wondrous program.

$18 – $85

Mahler 4 & Ravel’s Shéhérazade

Chautauqua Auditorium 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO, United States

Music Director Peter Oundjian continues his tradition of ending the season with glorious music by Mahler. The composer built his Fourth Symphony around his own song “The Heavenly Life,” which borrows text from a Bavarian folk poem. “The angelic voices gladden our senses,” the poem proclaims, “so that everything awakens for joy.” Mahler’s sunniest symphony invokes bells, harp, and woodwinds; in keeping with the lightness of the work, Mahler insisted the soprano perform “with childlike, cheerful expression;” soprano Karina Gauvin joins the Festival in this role. This final concert of the season includes Ravel’s colorful twist on the Shéhérazade tales — again featuring Gauvin’s “glowing, flexible tone” (Opera News) — and the overture to Strauss’ most famous and farcical operetta, Die Fledermaus.

$18 – $80