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Colorado Music Festival Announces Summer Concert Season

The festival Festival, running July 1 through August 7, will include in-person concerts with live-streaming options.

Colorado Music Festival Announces Summer Concert Season

Colorado Music Festival will present its summer concert season from July 1 through August 7 at Chautauqua Auditorium (900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, CO), offering 22 diverse performances of orchestral and chamber music by the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and guest artists, alongside educational programming.

The Festival features world-class musicians from around the country who arrive in Boulder to perform as the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra under the direction of Peter Oundjian. Additionally, 17 guest artists, three internationally acclaimed string quartets and three guest conductors will perform throughout the season.

Guidance for safe social distancing practices will be observed closely in the months to come and will most likely include limiting the number of orchestra members on stage. The event's venue, Chautauqua Auditorium, will implement a COVID-19 safety plan throughout the 2021 season, including the latest guidelines for spacing between seats, distance between performers and audience members, and mask requirements for all. More information about the safety plan will be available on the Chautauqua website prior to the season opening.

"In our 2021 season, we wish to commemorate the challenges of the pandemic, while celebrating the return to live, communal music-making. This season's music offers the healing that our communities are yearning for, the creativity to clear our minds and hearts, and the inspiration to look toward the brighter days ahead," said Peter Oundjian, music director.

Tickets to the 2021 Festival will be available for purchase on the CMF website beginning April 20.

Festival highlights include the following

− Four world premieres include commissions by Hannah Lash (July 22), Joan Tower (July 25) and Joel Thompson (Aug. 5) and a work from Aaron Jay Kernis on opening night (July 1), which commemorates the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

− In a world premiere commissioned by the Festival, composer Joel Thompson shines a light on American writer and activist James Baldwin, weaving selections of Baldwin's own words into a musical profile on one of the most powerful Black voices of his generation. Dr. Eddie Glaude will narrate the performance. Thompson is perhaps best known for his 2015 composition "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed."

− The July 25 concert will focus exclusively on Joan Tower's compositions, including a world premiere cello concerto commissioned by CMF. Tower, a world-renowned woman composer, will be present at the event.

− Also new this year is the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series, named for Robert Mann, composer, conductor, founding first violin of the Juilliard String Quartet and friend and mentor to CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian. The Tuesday evening series includes three quartets making their CMF debuts, beginning on July 13 with the group that carries on Mann's legacy, the Juilliard String Quartet, performing Ravel, Dutilleux and Dvořák. On July 20, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, once guided and coached by Mann himself, performs Haydn and Debussy and John Adams' String Quartet No. 1 (2008). The remarkable Danish String Quartet performs a program on August 3 of music by Purcell and Schubert and a collection of dances.

− The 2021 season includes a diverse group of musicians and composers, including Steven Banks, Stewart Goodyear, Ji Su Jung, Hannah Lash, Jessie Montgomery, Conrad Tao, Joel Thompson, Joan Tower and Angelo Xiang Yu.

− Performances by 2021 artist-in-residence Augustin Hadelich will take place on July 1, 2, 29 and 30.

CMF is offering a remote viewing experience for the 2021 Colorado Music Festival with a selection of the performances available via live streaming. For a full list of live-streaming performances and to purchase tickets beginning April 20, visit

On Saturday, July 3 at 11 a.m., CMF will feature its Family Concert "The Story of Babar" in partnership with Really Inventive Stuff, animateurs and vaudeville-inspired storytellers for orchestras. This program also includes Toy Symphony, which features noisemakers, kazoos, and other toy instruments as part of the orchestra. Tickets are $10. Additionally, the concert will be live streamed for families for free.

"After moving to a virtual festival in 2020, we look forward to offering safe, socially-distanced concerts, alongside streaming options for several of this season's concerts," said Elizabeth McGuire, CMF executive director. "We want these performances to be available to as many people as possible. We know from friends and patrons that music has helped them through these difficult times and we're honored to play that role for our community."

For more information about CMF, or to purchase tickets beginning April 20, visit or call 303-440-7666.

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