SummerFest 2015 Concert Series: A Look Back At Colorado’s Classical Festivals

Photo: Best of SummerFest 2015 collage
Clockwise from top right: violinist Daniel Hope, guitarist Sharon Isbin, conductor Bramwell Tovey and baritone Troy Cook.

In addition to hours of live broadcasts and recorded highlights from Colorado's numerous classical festivals, CPR Classical's 2015 SummerFest concert series featured conversations and stories about notable names in classical music.

Here's a look at some of our favorite features from the summer. Watch for more stories and incredible performances when CPR Classical announces its fall live broadcast lineup soon.

Shulamit Ran and Pacifica Quartet on ‘Memory’ music

Photo: Shulamit Ran and Pacifica Quartet
Composer Shulamit Ran, center, with the Pacifica Quartet in Toronto at the May 2014 premiere of "Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory.

"Music has a way of speaking very subtly at times -- very brutally at other times, but also very subtly," Ran said after a rehearsal at Aspen Music Festival and School. "So this ending I think has to me at least some sense of, 'We have not been eliminated. We’re here.'"

Hear the feature.

Daniel Hope, the musical activist

We talked to violinist Daniel Hope -- who wowed listeners with a performance of Schoenberg's "Transfigured Night" at Apsen Music Festival and School -- about why he calls himself a musical activist.

"I’ve been fascinated by what music can achieve, and I put together a number of different projects every year that in a sense have a kind of political stance," he said. "And I do believe musicians can use their talents and their communication to make certain things happen."

Hear the interview.

A glimpse of 'La Traviata' at Central City Opera

Central City Opera thrilled listeners during our opening night broadcast of the new production of Guiseppe Verdi's "La Traviata." Before that, the featured singers thrilled us in the CPR Performance Studio with intimate takes on some of the opera's best-loved songs. Here's baritone Troy Cook singing "Di Provenza Il Mar."

Watch more music from the session and learn more about "La Traviata" from Charley Samson.

Wu Han and David Finckel on Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata

Photo: Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han
Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han teach chamber music at the Aspen Music Festival and School and perform frequently at the festival.

Photo: Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu HanCellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han explore how Sergei Rachmaninoff funneled his struggle with writer’s block and depression into a stunning piece of chamber music. They played it in a live recital broadcast from Aspen Music Festival and School

“It’s epic. It’s Russian. It’s a war,” Wu Han said of the Rachmaninoff piece. “It’s his own struggle and his awakening and his triumph overcoming this disadvantage.

Hear the feature.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin looks back at her career

Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin discussed her recital and live broadcast featuring fellow guitarists Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, her collaborations with several composers, and teaching at The Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival and School.

"I think I learned that ‘no’ just means try a different way and try harder. And never give up," Isbin said.

​Hear the conversation.

Live music from Colorado College

The Colorado College Summer Music Festival brings together players each June. This year, they helped kick off the SummerFest broadcast series on June 15. Here's a video from a night earlier, featuring a memorable take on Bruch's String Octet:

A Takacs Quartet tour of Beethoven

Photo: Takacs Quartet
The Takacs Quartet. Left to right: Károly Schranz, second violin; Geraldine Walther, viola; András Fejer, cello; Edward Dusinberre, first violin.

Photo: Takacs QuartetEdward Dusinberre, first violinist of Boulder’s Takacs Quartet, takes listeners on a tour of Beethoven’s daring String Quartet No. 7 -- and explains why it’s still a thrill more than two centuries after its debut. Takacs played the piece in a live broadcast from Aspen Music Festival and School.

“It’s dangerous just in the way of any great piece of music. You have to put yourself out there any time you play it,” he told CPR Classical.

Hear the full story.

Conductor Bramwell Tovey with the New York Philharmonic

Conductor Bramwell Tovey, who frequently leads the New York Philharmonic, spoke with us about what makes the orchestra's residency in Vail unusual.

"Here you get the New York Philharmonic on tour but in family mode," he said. "Vail is special because they bring their families."

Hear the conversation.

A young musician's summer in Aspen

Photo: Natalie Hodges at Aspen Music Festival and School
Natalie Hodges

Denver violinist Natalie Hodges spent a month at the Aspen Music Festival and School as one of 630 students this summer preparing for careers as professional musicians. She checked in periodically to talk about what she learned and how it changed her playing.

“The level of musicianship here is so high,” she told CPR Classical. “I feel lucky. And intimidated. And I’m so excited to learn from my peers and the teachers and the artists here.”

Hear her audio postcards.

A map of Colorado's summer classical festivals: