Colorado Music Festival Announces 2022 Season

John Adams is composer-in-residence; 2022 season features two world premieres, by Timo Andres and Wang Jie.

Colorado Music Festival Announces 2022 Season

The Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado, under the leadership of Music Director Peter Oundjian, returns to Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder this summer for 22 concerts between June 30 and August 7.

Since Oundjian's arrival as Music Director in 2020, the Festival has been making a name for itself by offering a thoughtful and adventurous combination of music by living composers and favorites from the classical canon, including a week of Music of Today, co-curated by John Adams.

The 2022 festival includes 13 guest artists, three internationally-acclaimed string quartets, and four guest conductors. The spectacular setting, at the base of Boulder's dramatic Flatirons, is just an hour from Denver and was described as "an oasis" by Musical America.

The Festival's orchestra, led by music director Peter Oundjian, boasts world-class musicians from around the country who return to Boulder each summer to perform as the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. Laurence Vittes, responding to the 2021 CMF premiere of Joan Tower's A New Day, wrote in Bachtrack, "Through all the challenges the orchestra held fast, a dream of a partner who were as virtuosic and almost as flexible as [Alisa] Weilerstein herself."


Guest Artists making their CMF debuts indicated with an asterisk (*).

John Adams*, Composer-in-Residence
Takács Quartet, Artists-in-Residence

The Colorado Music Festival welcomes the preeminent American composer and conductor John Adams as Composer-in-Residence this season. Adams and his music are present throughout this season, which opens on June 30 with Adams' Absolute Jest (2012) performed by the Takács Quartet, this year's Artists-in-Residence.

"It means a great deal to me to have John Adams as composer-in-residence this summer. I've known him for a long time, and have performed and recorded many of his extraordinary works," said Oundjian. "He is without question one of the most important voices in music today; his own music is beyond fascinating, and to hear John speak about art, literature and music is always engaging and inspiring. He has a fascination with many periods of creativity, but none more than the present. He plays an extremely important role as a mentor to young composers. So to have him in Boulder, conducting his own works, and bringing to us some of the young composers he's most excited about, is really a dream come true."

Attacca Quartet

Co-Curated by John Adams* and Peter Oundjian

"Dedicating a week to the music of today is so stimulating and exciting," said Peter Oundjian. "Not only is it exhilarating to be playing music that is new to everyone, but that experience also gives one a new perspective on the great works of the classical canon, an ability to connect with the immediacy of works by Beethoven or Mahler, to approach them as if they were also written just last week or last year. And we share that energy with audiences throughout the Festival, regardless of what's on the program."

  • On Tuesday, July 12 the week opens with the Attacca Quartet* performing selections from Adams' John's Book of Alleged Dances, along with an eclectic program of music by hip-hop producer, DJ and rapper Flying Lotus; Berlin-based cellist and composer Anne Müller; multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and co-founder of the electronic/avant-pop/jazz-funk duo Knower, Louis Cole; Caroline Shaw, the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013; composer-environmentalist Gabriella Smith; and the iconic composer Philip Glass, who turns 85 this year.
  • On July 14, John Adams conducts his own orchestral masterpiece, City Noir (2009). "The music should have the slightly disorienting effect," says Adams, "of a very crowded boulevard peopled with strange characters...the kind who only come out very late on a very hot night." Also on the program is a world-premiere commission by Timo Andres*, hand-picked for this program by Adams. Reacting to Andres' debut recording in 2010, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker, "it achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene..." The third composer on the program is John Adams' son Samuel Adams, a formidable composer in his own right and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow; his lyrical and haunting Chamber Concerto gives GRAMMY-nominated violinist Tessa Lark* an opportunity to shine.
  • On July 15, Kaleidoscope returns for a second year, adding theatrical elements like special lighting and cinematography to the concert experience; Musical America called the 2021 Kaleidoscope concert "mind-opening." Anchored by John Adams' Road Movies (1995), the concert features nine composers, from elder statesmen Adams, Corigliano, Glass and Golijov to a whole new generation: GRAMMY-winning percussionist David Skidmore; Stacy Garrop, recently on Marin Alsop's list of "10 Women Composers You Should Listen To;" GRAMMY-nominated composer and flutist Valerie Coleman; composer and pianist Timo Andres performing his solo piano piece Honest Labor; and Roshanne Etezady, who was inspired to be a composer when she saw Philip Glass and his ensemble perform on Saturday Night Live. Violinist Tessa Lark and saxophonist Timothy McAlllister* join members of the CMF Orchestra in a variety of configurations.
  • Music of Today culminates on July 17 with John Adams conducting his own off-beat 2019 piano concerto Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? with the extraordinary pianist Jeremy Denk*. Peter Oundjian conducts Christopher Rouse's Sixth Symphony, completed shortly before his death in 2019; The New York Times described it as being "all of Mr. Rouse - contemplative elegy, rowdy playfulness, eclectic homage." Opening the concert is another piece from Gabriella Smith, Tumblebird Contrails, which calls to mind the sounds and sights of the Pacific Ocean.


  • On August 4, CMF presents a world-premiere commission by rising star composer Wang Jie, who is described by Derek Bermel as "a musical polyglot...with a great sense of humor and natural theatrical flair." Jie describes herself as "part cartoon character, part virtuoso." Her new work for orchestra, Flying on the Scaly Backs of Our Mountains, is inspired by 11th-century Chinese poet Su Dongpo's reflections on China's Mount Lu and Jie's own experiences climbing Colorado's Eldorado Canyon. The concert also features the charismatic clarinetist Anthony McGill*, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, who joins the orchestra for Weber's First Clarinet Concerto and the brief Rhapsody by Debussy. The program closes with Stravinsky's iconic Firebird Suite.
  • Bringing the Festival to a rousing finish on August 7 is the Colorado premiere of Fanfare, a co-commission by jazz great Wynton Marsalis, followed by Mahler's epic Fifth Symphony, a dramatic journey through tragedy, joy and love.


Returning this year is the Tuesday evening Robert Mann Chamber Music Series, named for the late Robert Mann, who was founding first violin of the Juilliard String Quartet, a friend and mentor to CMF Music Director Peter Oundjian, and a conductor and composer.

The Festival's Artists-in-Residence this summer, the GRAMMY Award-winning Takács Quartet - an ensemble that is both world-renowned and based in Boulder - opens the series on July 5. On the program are Haydn and Dvořák's final complete works for quartet, coupled with Coleridge-Taylor's extraordinary Fantasiestücke (composed within a year of Dvořák's work).

The Danish String Quartet*, which has garnered critical acclaim and enthusiastic fans around the world with its brilliant playing and eclectic repertoire, brings the series to a delightful conclusion on August 2 in its CMF debut. The program begins with Purcell's Chaconne and ends with Schubert's Quartet in G Major. In between, the Quartet offers up a collection of Nordic folk music, like the tunes on their highly acclaimed recordings Wood Works and Last Leaf.

The GRAMMY Award-winning Attacca Quartet* describes itself as "a quartet for modern times" and is known for its impeccable musicianship and adventurous programming. The Quartet performs an eclectic program at CMF as part of Music of Today on July 12 (more details above).

Two concerts in the series feature performances by members of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra: on July 19, a Russian-inflected program with music by Tchaikovsky, Glinka and Borodin and on July 26, Brahms' Clarinet Quintet and music by Mozart, Perkinson and Debussy.


On July 31, CMF Principal Guest Conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni leads a special performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mendelssohn's lush score, which includes the instantly recognizable "Wedding March," is paired with dramatic readings by actor John de Lancie* (American Shakespeare Festival, TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation). In addition to his acting credits, de Lancie has written, produced and directed shows for symphony orchestras and operas and hosted children's concerts at Disney Hall. Joining de Lancie in the cast of Midsummer are soprano Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson, mezzo soprano Abigail Nims and actor Marnie Mosiman* (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Remington Steele).

The program opens with a brand-new orchestral arrangement of Jessie Montgomery's vivid Starburst, which is, in her words, "a play on imagery of rapidly changing musical colors." Also in the first half is Bizet's Symphony in C, which he wrote at 17 (the same age as Mendelssohn when he wrote Midsummer).


In addition to the guest performers mentioned above, the following artists are also making their CMF debuts this year.

  • On July 7, 8 and 10, award-winning Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki*, whom Oundjian calls "one of the greatest piano talents of all time," joins Oundjian and the CMF Orchestra for a cycle of all five of Beethoven's piano concertos over three concerts. "I'm so delighted that the astounding young pianist Jan Lisiecki will be joining us to do this Beethoven cycle," said Oundjian. "I've known Jan since he was a young teenager, and he is not only one of the greatest musicians alive today (at all of 26 years old), but an absolutely charming and wonderful human being. Seeing him perform this repertoire will be an unforgettable treat for the audience - and for me!" Each concert in this series opens with a work by Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), in celebration of the composer's 150th birthday.
  • On July 21 and 22, Ryan Bancroft*, Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, joins the Festival to lead Sibelius' Second Symphony. Violinist Randall Goosby*, the youngest recipient ever to win the Sphinx Concerto Competition and an artist dedicated to the dynamic music of Black composers, joins the orchestra to perform Florence Price's sweeping Second Violin Concerto (lost to history until 2009) and music by Saint-Saëns. The program opens with another recently-discovered work, the orchestral version of Coleridge-Taylor's Solemn Prelude.
  • On July 24, the remarkable pianist Simone Dinnerstein* joins the Orchestra for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, as part of an all-Mozart concert.


The annual CMF family concert returns on Sunday morning, July 3 at 11 am, with a performance of Tubby the Tuba by vaudeville-inspired musical storytellers Really Inventive Stuff. This program also includes Benjamin Britten's classic Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The family concert is a hallmark of CMF and designed to introduce children to orchestral performances in a fun, approachable manner.

"We can't wait to see our subscribers, long-time patrons, and new guests this summer," said Elizabeth McGuire, executive director of CMF. "We couldn't be happier that we can host a full, in-person festival once again."

Colorado Music Festival concerts take place at Chautauqua Auditorium, which was built in 1898. Located at the base of Boulder's Flatirons and one of only 25 National Historic Landmarks in the state of Colorado, the Colorado Chautauqua remains committed to its historic purpose, offering outstanding cultural and educational programs and attracting more than a million visitors each year.

CMF will follow recommended and required COVID guidelines as necessary during the 2022 season.

For more information about CMF or to purchase tickets beginning March 1, visit, email, or call 303-440-7666. A full media kit, including images, is available here. Students of all ages receive a 50% discount on tickets for all CMF performances.


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