Chamber music, Music, Preview, Vocal music

Fall/Winter Preview: Instrumental and Vocal Music in Denver and Boulder

By Robin McNeil

In this Fall/Winter music preview, writer Robin McNeil walks you through some of the best offerings of instrumental and vocal music in the Denver/Boulder metro area. This preview includes Friends of Chamber Music, the Colorado Chamber Players, Ars Nova Singers, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, Colorado Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra, and the American Guild of Organists.


Academy-of-St.Martin_large-image-300x193[1]There is no question that every program will be worthy of your attention, but there is one that is going to be outstanding in my opinion. That program is the one given by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields which will be given on November 5, 2013. The reason I am directing your attention to this particular program is because this incredible chamber group is going to perform the Mendelssohn Octet for Strings in E flat major, Opus 20. This work by Mendelssohn is legendary because he wrote it at the age of only sixteen years for his violin teacher Eduard Rietz. It is astounding enough that this work by the young Mendelssohn has been accepted the world over as one of the pieces of chamber literature, but upon close analysis, it is clear that he did not simply combine two string quartets. Each instrument is treated separately, and shows a level of musical maturity and architectural form that is far more complicated than one would expect from a sixteen-year-old composer. If you have never heard this work live, this is your chance to do so. Do not miss it.

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

With their impeccable musicianship, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble brings together eight string players for fresh, brilliant interpretations of classical music. The program will include Mendelssohn’s Octet.

Brahms: Sextet in B-flat major, Op 18
Shostakovich: Prelude and Scherzo for String Octet, Op. 11
Mendelssohn: Octet for Strings in Eb-major, Op. 20
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 7:30 pm
Wait list, call for availability at 303-388-9839, this concert is now SOLD OUT
Ticket Prices: $35 single, $10 students 25 years or younger.

Trio Solisti with Alan Kay, clarinet

“Trio Solisti’s expressive and passionate performances are marked by [soloistic] virtuosity, electric energy, seamless ensemble playing, and thrilling abandon. Joining the trio is Alan Kay, co-principal clarinetist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, to perform Paul Moravec’s Pulitzer Prize winning Tempest Fantasy.”

Beethoven: Piano Trio in E-flat major “14 Variations on an Original Theme,” Op. 44
Chausson: Trio in G minor
Moravec: Tempest Fantasy

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 7:30 pm
Availability: Wait list
Ticket Prices: $35 single, $10 students 25 years or younger

Piano Series: Kirill Gerstein

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
We open our Piano Series with the multifaceted pianist Kirill Gerstein. Reaching beyond the classical genre with a background in jazz, Mr. Gerstein combines a masterful technique with an energetic and expressive musical personality. His program will feature Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and works by Haydn, Meldau, Ligeti, and Gershwin.”

Learn more at their website.


Durufle Requiem and Debussy Dance Sacre in Denver

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7:30 pm
Saint John’s Cathedral of Denver
1350 Washington Street, Denver, CO, 80223
$20 Adult, $12 students and seniors

Durufle Requiem Concert: The French Connection
Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ann Marie Liss, Harp

Ann Marie Liss, Harp

Saint John’s Cathedral Choir and Orchestra is joined by the Choir of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and members of the Colorado Chamber Players, for a concert featuring Maurice Durufle’s stunning Requiem. St. Andrew’s Choir appears under the direction of Timothy Krueger. Lyn Loewi performs on organ, and Ann Marie Liss performs on harp, along with a small chamber orchestra.

Other works to be performed by the CCP include Claude Debussy’s reflective Danse Sacree and Danse

Profane for Harp and String Quintet, and Haydn’s string quartet op. 33 #6.

Saint John’s Cathedral is located at 1350 Washington Street in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. ‑ The main doors of the Cathedral face 14th Avenue. Website:
Concert Line: 303-577-7723, Music Department: 303-577-7717

Please click below for a Google map of Saint John’s Cathedral:
St John’s Cathedral Denver

Musicians Playing This Event

Schubert Cello Quintet at First Universalist Church

Saturday, February 1, 2014, 2:30 pm
First Universalist Church
4101 E. Hampden Ave., Denver, CO 80222
$15 in advance, $20 at the door

This concert will be repeated on:

Saturday February 22nd, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Foothills Art Center, 809 15th St., Golden, CO 80401
Click for more info about this concert

and again

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 at 4:00PM
First Presbyterian Church, 510 South 27th Ave., Brighton, CO 80601
Click for more info about this concert

Thomas Heinrich, cellist in Schubert cello quintet

Thomas Heinrich

The Colorado Chamber Players welcomes guest artists Catherine Beeson and Thomas Heinrich in a lush afternoon concert. Luigi Boccherini’s wonderful Cello Quintet Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid, G.324 will precede the highlight of the concert: the great Schubert C major cello quintet. Schubert’s final work for chamber ensemble was composed just two months prior to his death, in the summer of 1828. A work of transcendental beauty, the Schubert cello quintet is considered to be one of the masterpieces of the chamber music literature. Boccherini’s quintet, Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid (Night Music through the Streets of Madrid), takes the listener on a night journey through the streets of Madrid, and is full of descriptive and often humorous music.

For more information, please call the First Universalist Church at: Phone: 303-759-2770, x35

Judith McIntyre, cellist in Schubert cello quintet

Judith McIntyre

Musicians Playing This Event

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Durufle Requiem and Debussy Dance Sacre in Denver

Saturday, February 1, 2014, Schubert Cello Quintet at First Universalist Church

Learn more at the Colorado Chamber Players website.


Connections: The 28th Season

For 27 years, Ars Nova Singers has been bringing exceptional choral music to Colorado, performed with professional polish, stylish versatility, and a joyous spirit. Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan has assembled a season of some of the world’s most exceptional choral music, spanning the Middle Ages to the avant-garde, and traversing the range of human emotion. The Boulder-based ensemble’s 28th season is entitled “Connections,” and features an impressive line-up of collaborations with guest artists performing music of world-class as well as emerging composers.

The Ars Nova season opened on October 11 and 12 with Britten and Beyond, a special collaboration with the Boulder string orchestra Sphere Ensemble,  celebrating the music of Benjamin Britten in the centennial year of his birth. The program included  Hymn to St. Cecilia, the rarely performed Chorale after an Old French Carol, and rousing Advance Democracy. The Sphere Ensemble performed Britten’s Simple Symphony, composed around eight themes that the composer wrote as a child, and  Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s  Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, as well as the U. S. premiere of Arvo Pärt’s ethereal  Salve Regina for voices and strings.

Read my review of the season opening concert here.

Specializing in a cappella music of the Renaissance and the 20th and 21st centuries, the Ars Nova Singers of Boulder, Colorado are presenting their 28th concert season in 2013-2014.

Maestro Thomas Edward Morgan

Maestro Thomas Edward Morgan

The professional-core vocal ensemble conducted by founding Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan is composed of 36 selectively auditioned choral musicians from the Denver/Boulder metropolitan region. In its history, the Ars Nova Singers has presented over 300 performances of more than 100 different concert programs. The ensemble has received significant national recognition, receiving funding from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Chorus Program of National Endowment for the Arts. Ars Nova Singers have been heard in radio broadcasts throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan, and Europe, including such National Public Radio programs as The First Art, Music from the Hearts of Space, and locally on Colorado Spotlight and Colorado Matters. Ars Nova has released ten independent recordings on compact disc, and performed on seven internationally released recordings with Boulder composer and instrumentalist Bill Douglas.

Upcoming programs in Ars Nova 28th concert season include:

  • Christmas Connections: A Colorado Holiday Tradition – December 6, 7, 13, 14 – performances in Boulder and Denver
  • The Violin and the Voice: In Concert with Edward Dusinberre – Saturday, February 8, 2014 – Macky Auditorium, Boulder
  • Extended Voices: Modern Masterworks – April 25-26, 2014 – performances in Boulder and Denver
  • SpringSing: A Gala Celebration & Silent Auction – Sunday, June 8, 2014 – The Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster

Complete details, schedules, and high-resolution photos can be found at


Maestro Lawrence Golan

Maestro Lawrence Golan

Founded in 1948, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra is dedicated to ensuring that the world’s great symphonic compositions (both old and new) are performed, heard, felt, understood, appreciated, and valued – and that they are available to the Metro Denver community at an affordable price.

The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lawrence Golan as its new Music Director and Conductor. Golan succeeds Adam Flatt to become the DPO’s fifth Music Director since its founding in 1948.

Golan is currently in his twelfth year as Conductor of the University of Denver’s Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre. He is the winner of many national and international awards including nine ASCAP Awards, five Global Music Awards, two Prestige Music Awards and two DownBeat Magazine Awards. In 2012, Golan was named Grand Prize Winner of The American Prize for Orchestral Programming.

The DPO’s outgoing Music Director and Conductor, Adam Flatt, served with the orchestra from 2010–2013. “The orchestra and board are grateful to Adam for his strong and dynamic leadership and for increasing the artistic quality of the orchestra during his tenure,” says DPO Board President Jon Olafson. Although Flatt is transitioning away from the DPO due to other commitments, he will continue to be a great friend to the orchestra and will guest conduct the DPO’s 2013 Holiday Concert in December.

November 15, 2013
Inauspicious Beginnings

James Buswell, violin
Beethoven: Fidelio Overture
Barber: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor

December 20, 2013
Noels and New Year

Adam Flatt, guest conductor
Marcia Ragonetti, mezzo-soprano
Repertoire to include:
Rimsky-Korsakov: Suite from The Snow Maiden
Handel: Messiah “But who may abide the day of his coming”
Hayen: Maltese Winter
Prokofiev: Troika from Lt. Kije Suite

February 14, 2014
Young Love

Linda Wang, violin
Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty Suite
Chen and He: The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2

Call 303-653-2407 or visit the Denver Philharmonic online to purchase tickets.


Maestro Timothy Krueger

Maestro Timothy Krueger

Discussing their new season, Maestro Timothy Krueger explains:

“As I’ve pondered our first twenty years, I hear many, many echoes. Mostly those echoes are of great concerts. Important milestones in our history – our first live radio broadcast; our collaborations with orchestras like the Baroque Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival; our invitational performances for Chorus America, the National Performing Arts Conference and the American Choral Directors Association – as well as concerts that stick out in my memory as my personal favorites: England Expects: Trafalgar at 200; Enlightenment A Cappella; The Art of Imitation; A Marian Christmas.

Other echoes include our CD recordings – eleven of them, and counting – and their broadcasts on numerous radio stations across the country.

There are also echoes of those former singers and board members who have died, but whose voices can still be heard if you listen very carefully – Mark Sheldon, Brennen Maynard, Ernest Priest, Larry Donoghue, Bill Gaunt, and others…..

All of these Echoes have led to this upcoming Season, inspiring the theme for the entire year, and we have devised an incredible lineup of concerts, both looking back at our first twenty years, and looking forward to our next twenty.”

España, Old World and New: Continental Echoes

A Cameo Concert

Spain sent not just conquistadors and settlers to the New World, but musicians as well, and this concert will sample Spanish villancicos and canzonettas from Old World Iberia (by Francisco Guerrero, for instance) and New World Mexico (by, among others, Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla). Villancicos were light-hearted polyphonic compositions in the vernacular (Spanish and its dialects), comparable in form and content to the Italian madrigal.

A Salzburg Christmas: Echoes of Christmas Past

The story of Franz Grüber penning “Stille Nacht” on Christmas Eve for guitar and voice at a small Salzburg church because the organ was not working is well known to most people. This small “village Christmas” scene will be contrasted with the much grander musical celebrations in Salzburg’s cathedral by the likes of Wolfgang Mozart, Tomaso Albinoni, and the centerpiece of the program, Michael Haydn’s eight-movement Weihnachtsresponsorien for Matins on Christmas Day. St. Martin’s will be joined by members of the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado in this festive set.

British Folksongs and Partsongs: Celtic Echoes

A Cameo Concert

That St. Martin’s and Maestro Krueger have had a special relationship with British music over its first twenty years is obvious to most. Here, a broad sampling of folksong arrangements by Vaughan Williams, Holst and Stanford (such as “Loch Lomond” and “Blow away the morning dew”) will be combined with slightly more sophisticated partsongs by Elgar, Parry and Pearsall (“Lay a Garland” and “My love dwelt in a Northern Land”) in celebrating this “special relationship.”

Learn more at St. Martin’s website.


Maestra Cynthia Katsarelis

Maestra Cynthia Katsarelis

Epic Beethoven

What: Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Daugherty: Strut for Strings

When: November 22 & 23, 2013, Concert at 7:30 p.m. Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 p.m.
Where: On Friday, the 22nd of November at St. Paul Lutheran, 1600 Grant St. Denver


Saturday, the 23rd of November at First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street, Boulder

These concerts will feature: Nicolo Spera, Guitarist, performing the famous and beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo.

Learn more at Pro Musica’s website.


Matthew Switzer, Music Director and Conductor

Matthew Switzer, Music Director and Conductor

The Lakewood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is a community orchestra in Lakewood, Colorado that performs at the beautiful Lakewood Cultural Center. The LSO performs a variety of concerts every year featuring works from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms to Vaughn-Williams, Stravinsky, John Williams and everything in between. Our season includes seven concerts each year – four Classical concerts, one Pops concert, a Christmas concert and a Family concert. The members of the orchestra are musicians from the community that gather together every Tuesday night to practice repertoire for the next performance. These musicians might be your neighbors – dentists, geologists, school teachers, retirees and students. They are the community of Lakewood.

What: In the Style of the Boston Pops!
Our annual Pops Concert and Silent Auction – an evening of music from Broadway, light classics, and POPs. The silent auction has something for everyone!
When: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Where: Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 South Allison Parkway, Lakewood

Learn more at LSO’s website.


pipes2[1]The American Guild of Organists is a national organization headquartered in New York City with a membership of some 20,000 organists, choral conductors, church and synagogue musicians, organ builders, and organ “buffs,” each of whom is a member of one of 330 local chapters throughout the United States and as far away as Bermuda, Korea, Singapore, and even Australia.

The Denver Chapter of the American Guild of Organists has regular monthly meetings from September through June which vary from concerts and recitals to educational events and social gatherings. The Denver chapter, which was formed in 1936 and hosted national AGO conventions in 1968 and 1998, also regularly sponsors such educational activities as Pipe Organ Encounters and Pipes, Pedals, and Pizza for young people, professional AGO certification workshops for members, and master classes for performers of all ages. It also offers annual scholarships providing up to eight promising young area piano students with six free organ lessons each.

What: AGO Members’ Recital
When: Monday, October 21, 2013, 7:00 pm
Where: Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia Street, Denver, CO

This concert is free and open to the public. Learn more at their website.

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