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.


JFK: The Last Speech – World Premiere

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

“Our national strength matters,” said President John F. Kennedy, “but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much.” This line and others appear in the libretto of the world premiere symphony JFK: The Last Speech, inspired by the celebration of poet Robert Frost which would become President Kennedy’s final speech. Composer Adolphus Hailstork says of JFK: The Last Speech, “My writing will reflect the autumn season, the solemnity of the moment, and the unique oratorical gifts of Kennedy the president, and the profound literary gifts of Frost the poet.” This landmark program begins with two additional world premiere performances; be the first to experience new music by rising star Jordan Holloway and Pulitzer Prize-nominated CU Boulder Professor of Composition Carter Pann, each commissioned by the Festival.

JFK: The Last Speech is a project of members of the Amherst Class of 1964 through their non-profit Reunion ’64, Inc. They had the privilege of witnessing President Kennedy deliver his last major speech, October 26, 1963. The symphony joins two earlier projects, a book, and documentary of the same title.

$18 – $75

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

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Visiting Boulder

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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.