Welcome to the 2020 Season

March 5, 2020

by Peter Oundjian | Music Director

Preparing for my second season with this wonderful Festival has been an enormous pleasure. The joy of joining a new community of musicians and music lovers still greets me every time I arrive back in Boulder. Now it’s met with the warmth of familiarity and tremendous respect I have for everyone I get to work with here.

Firstly, I’m thrilled to announce our new chamber music series. The Festival and I both share a long history with chamber music, so it seemed inevitable from the start that we would make good use of our mutual adoration.

The Robert Mann Chamber Music Series is named to honor the legacy of a beloved violinist, mentor and pioneer of chamber music in America. It’s fitting that we launch this new series by inviting the Juilliard String Quartet, of which Robert was first violinist for 51 years, to the stage at Chautauqua. The series will feature both internationally-acclaimed touring ensembles and groups comprised of the Festival’s own extraordinary musicians. I haven’t found anything in music that quite compares to the intimacy of experiencing chamber music in person, and I’m excited for it to be a part of our Festival experience this year.

This season will also feature a variety of music written in the 21st century, and as recently as 2020. While many of us are familiar with the great composers of generations past, we would all be remiss to overlook the orchestral works that have been written during our time. We will be performing the music of Gabriella Smith, Samuel Adams, Nico Muhly, William Bolcom, and more.

World-renowned composer John Adams will be making a rare Festival appearance with us in July to conduct and discuss his music with all of us. The opportunity to have a living legend join us, especially in such an interactive and personal capacity, is uniquely wonderful and special to me.

We also believe in having a commitment to helping bring fresh music into the world, so we’ve commissioned pieces by Hannah Lash and Wang Jie, which will be premiered this summer right here in Boulder. This marks the beginning of a three-year long celebration featuring three generations of female composers.

If you prefer timeless, iconic musical treasures, then you’ll want to join us in celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday. This is the second of two years during which we examine his incalculable genius, and the influence that he continues to have on music centuries after his time on Earth. We’ll be playing his 5th and 7th symphonies, all five of his piano concertos, some of his finest work for chamber ensembles, and more. Ever a violinist at heart, I am perhaps most looking forward to hearing the unbelievable Augustin Hadelich perform Beethoven’s one and only violin concerto.

I feel as though I’m only scratching the surface of this rich and varied season of music, so I hope that you’ll explore the full program and share this great feeling of anticipation with me. I look forward to seeing you at the Chautauqua Auditorium for another gorgeous summer of music!

All the best,

Peter Oundjian
Music Director

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