Author: Jill Kimball

CU-Boulder ensembles give free concert at Denver’s Boettcher Hall

Student orchestras and jazz musicians team up with El Sistema Colorado

Stravinsky’s century-old masterpiece “The Rite of Spring” and Miles Davis’ landmark “Birth of the Cool” are on the program at a free Boettcher Concert Hall showcase featuring performances by the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Music ensembles and children from El Sistema Colorado.

CU-Boulder’s University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony are set to perform April 26, along with an elite nine-piece student jazz ensemble and about 100 kids from Colorado’s El Sistema program, which aspires to empower urban young people through music performance. In addition to Stravinsky and Davis, audiences will hear the Symphonic Suite from Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Waterfront” film score and variations on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

“It’s really a potpourri that is meant to demonstrate the talent of our students and give them a chance to perform in the premier concert hall on the Front Range,” says Gary Lewis, Director of Orchestras at CU-Boulder.

Jamie Wolf, El Sistema Colorado’s program director and a choral teaching artist, says the kids she works with are “in various states of nervousness and excitement” about the performance. None of the children has never performed with a collegiate ensemble, and many have never played for an audience outside their own schools.

“Our students always need more opportunities experiencing music-making at high levels to inspire them to continue and help them to realize what they could achieve someday,” Wolf says. “Interacting with college music majors will be eye-opening; performing in such a grand venue in front of such a huge crowd is going to boost their self-confidence; and this event will give them a tangible example of how hard work really does pay off.”

The performance marks the fourth time in eight years that College of Music ensembles have traveled to Boettcher Concert Hall, a landmark venue that plays host to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. CU-Boulder College of Music Dean Robert Shay hopes to build on that tradition.

“As we move ahead with the implementation of our strategic plan, we will be doing even more concerts like this, growing our presence in Denver and in other major urban centers around the country,” Shay says.