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

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

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