Colorado Symphony Orchestra returns to Beaver Creek
The state orchestra is performing a matinee for children, followed by an evening main event of Beethoven Thursday, Feb. 24
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is performing at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 24, with an afternoon education program for young students and a main event of Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies in the evening.
Petite Musique presents The Three Little Pigs
As the official state orchestra of Colorado, the symphony prioritizes education and accessibility to orchestral music for students and young people. As part of this initiative, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is partnering with the Vail Valley Foundation’s Support The Arts Reaching Students (STARS) program to present a family performance for students in Pre-K through second grade at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24.
Colorado Symphony Petite Musique is an interactive concert program designed to introduce very young children to the instruments of the orchestra through a musical telling of a children’s story. A 16-piece orchestra and bilingual narrator will tell the story of the Three Little Pigs from the VPAC stage, incorporating storytelling and singing in both English and Spanish as well as dance.
Children will also receive a storybook of The Three Pigs along with fun and engaging activity pages and access to the virtual concert to watch at home.
Because this show will take place during the February school break, the VPAC is encouraging families to attend the educational program together, rather than with their school class.
What: Stars Family Performance – The Three Little Pigs, performed by the Colorado Symphony
When: Thursday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Cost: $12/children, $15/adults
More information: Visit VilarPAC.org/STARS-Colorado-Symphony
Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra performs more than 150 concerts each year at venues across the state, undertaking a wide range of both classical and contemporary music. They have become known for their diverse repertoire, regularly collaborating with modern popular music stars and playing to sold-out stands at Red Rocks Amphitheater every summer.
While these innovative arrangements have allowed the orchestra to broaden its appeal and connect with an ever-growing fan base, Chief Artistic Officer Anthony Pierce said that it is programs like the upcoming Beethoven set at the VPAC that underpin the orchestra’s core mission.
“It’s always exciting to have our weeks that we dedicate to the traditional works,” Pierce said. “The collaborations at Red Rocks obviously get a lot of attention, but our core mission is to be the future of live symphonic music. We’ve got to maintain our commitment as curators of a classical art form — that’s our focus.”
Thursday evening’s performance is a full night of Beethoven. The orchestra will be performing Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies back to back, which is how the famed composer originally premiered them at a concert in Vienna in 1808. Though they premiered this way, Pierce said that it is rare to program the two together.
“It’s kind of a nonroutine program for an orchestra,” Pierce said. “Typically there’s a historic format to concerts, where an orchestra plays an overture, then a soloist plays a concerto, you take an intermission and you come back for a symphony. It’s different for us to present two symphonies, one on each half of the program, so it’s exciting. It’s going to feel fresh for the players.”
The idea to undertake this unique arrangement came from guest conductor Markus Stenz. Stenz will be conducting the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in this program for four nights this week, opening at the Vilar Performing Arts Center before a three-night showing at the Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver.
Stenz, who is from Germany, has been a guest conductor for the orchestra before, and Pierce said that they are always looking for opportunities to work with him.
“He’s just always charismatic and inspiring,” Pierce said. “He does have some nonroutine ways, if you will. He typically puts the basses stage right, when we typically see the basses stage left. He may split the violins as well to where the first and second violins are on opposite sides of the stage. So it just serves to have everybody’s ears open in a new way. It’s always interesting.”
The orchestra will open the evening with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, titled “Pastorale.” The symphony is written as an homage to nature, with five movements that begin with “Awakening of Cheerful Feelings on Arriving in the Country,” move through a powerful thunderstorm, and conclude in peaceful serenity with “Shepherd’s Song.”
The reverence for nature that Pastorale accomplishes makes it a fitting symphony to be enjoyed in the valley.
“I am so looking forward to the feeling of performing the Pastoral Symphony surrounded by your breathtaking nature,” Stenz said.
Following an intermission, the orchestra will conclude the evening with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, one of the most well-known pieces in the genre. The Fifth is instantly recognizable by its first four notes, which are thought to ominously symbolize fate knocking on the door.
The two symphonies were completed around the same time, but conjure very different emotional experiences. Thursday’s performance will give listeners a sense of Beethoven’s breadth and emotional depth during some of his strongest years as a composer.
This will be the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s first time performing at the VPAC in many years, and Pierce said that they are glad to be back to traveling to venues throughout the state after a difficult pandemic season.
“We love getting out throughout the state and sharing what we do,” Pierce said. “The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but we’re excited to be back and playing as much as we can. We’ve done everything we can to keep the orchestra playing, keep the musicians in shape, and really protect our artists. I’m very proud of all we’ve done.”
What: Colorado Symphony Orchestra performs Beethoven Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 6
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center
When: Thursday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.
Price: Start at $55/person, $10/student
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