Colorado Symphony Introduces New Music Director Brett Mitchell

Photo: Colorado Symphony maestro
Conductor Brett Mitchell

Exciting news for classical music fans in Colorado this morning: The Colorado Symphony today revealed the name of its next music director.

Conductor Brett Mitchell, the 37-year-old associate conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, will be the next maestro to lead the Colorado Symphony.

Mitchell doesn’t officially become music director until the 2017-18 season starts. But he’ll conduct several concerts this year as “music director designate.”

He’s slated to hold the music director position for four seasons.

In Cleveland, he also served as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s youth orchestra and increased the ensemble’s focus on American and contemporary composers. Here's Mitchell leading the young musicians in a performance of “Petrushka” by Igor Stravinksy:

Mitchell is active on social media, often sharing photos from rehearsals and concert tours on his Twitter feed.

He replaces Andrew Litton, who's taken on a reduced role with the orchestra after accepting a position with the New York City Ballet. Litton served as music director for four seasons beginning in 2012.

The symphony's new season begins this weekend, with Litton conducting music by Richard Strauss and Johannes Brahms.

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Mitchell’s hiring follows the appointment of associate conductor Christopher Dragon -- who spoke with CPR's Colorado Matters about the job in 2015 -- and assistant conductor Andres Lopera. Both are in their 20s.

In a press release, the symphony offered several other updates on its finances and operations:

  • The symphony, which has faced financial problems in the past, begins its new season with a rare budget surplus totaling $1.7 million.
  • The orchestra’s fundraising team is working to increase its endowment from $20 million to $50 million by 2020.
  • The symphony continues to work toward resolving its dispute with the American Federation of Musicians.