Composer and Conductor Thomas Blomster wears a hat from his trip to Mongolia. 

(Photo: CPR)

A few years ago, composer Thomas Blomster woke up in the middle of the night with an unusual thought: Does Mongolia have a symphony orchestra?

Blomster searched online and found a Mongolian orchestra. It's in Ulaanbaatar, which happens to be Denver's sister city.

Blomster struck up a friendship with the leaders of the orchestra, called the Mongolian State Philharmonic. The discussions ultimately led to an unusual honor for Blomster.

Composer and conductor Thomas Blomster, center, poses with the Morin Khuur Ensemble in Mongolia. 

(Courtesy of Thomas Blomster)

The orchestra asked him to write a piece for the Morin Khuur Ensemble, a more traditional side group of musicians from the larger orchestra. Morin Khuur means "horsehead fiddle," a traditional Mongolian instrument that's a bit like a two-stringed cello.

Blomster became the first composer from outside Mongolia to write for the Morin Khuur Ensemble. This summer he traveled to Mongolia to conduct the premiere of his piece, "Postcards To Mongolia." Here's a video of that performance:

Blomster, who also leads the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about the visit to Mongolia and how the unique music came together.