SummerFest 2017: A Look Back At Memorable Music And Stories

SummerFest continues from Aspen

Each summer CPR Classical broadcasts hours of live and recorded highlights from Colorado's many classical festivals. This year we carried 21 performances -- including 7 live broadcasts -- from the Aspen Music Festival and School, Bravo! Vail, the Colorado Music Festival, Central City Opera and more.

There’s more to SummerFest than just music. We also love to share the stories behind these great works, festivals and performers.

Check out some of our favorite stories from the summer, as well as recent CPR Performance Studio sessions featuring musicians from several summer festivals.

Bravo! Vail's New Works Project

Photo: Anne-Marie McDermott
Pianist and Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Bravo! Vail music festival. Organizers celebrated with a new project. They commissioned five new pieces that premiered throughout the summer.

We talked to Artistic Director and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott about the collaborations.

“It’s incredibly important to hear from composers of our time who are living, who are creating, who are reacting to the world around them,” McDermott told us.

Hear the feature.

An Hour with Colorado Mezzo-Soprano Michelle DeYoung

We talked to homegrown mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung -- who performed at multiple Colorado festivals this summer -- about growing up in Colorado, winning the Metropolitan Opera competition, and highlights from her career.

DeYoung captivated audiences this summer as a featured soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Colorado Music Festival and a world premiere performance of Timothy Collins’ Othello-inspired “Desdemona” at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Hear the conversation and see more videos.

Bravo! Vail Says Goodbye to Alan Gilbert

Photo: New York Philharmonic at Bravo! Vail
The New York Philharmonic performs at Bravo! Vail.

Photo: New York Philharmonic at Bravo! Vail

Conductor Alan Gilbert wrapped up his tenure leading the New York Philharmonic this summer. CPR Classical brought listeners a live broadcast of Gilbert's final concert conducting the New York Philharmonic at Bravo! Vail.

He spoke with David Rutherford about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, his memories of the New York Philharmonic and what the future holds for him.

"It's been wonderful. It's been a privilege to be a part of it for these years," Gilbert said of leading the New York Philharmonic. "I know that the orchestra will go on and endure far into the future." Hear the interview:


Live Videos of Festivals Across the State

CPR Classical brought listeners on-site interviews and performances from Aspen, Vail and Boulder to set the stage for SummerFest events.

Here's Digital Editor Brad Turner with a snapshot of three students at the Aspen Music Festival and School busking downtown as a flute trio.

CPR Performance Studio Sessions

Musicians from several music festivals stopped by the CPR Performance Studio for lively performances.

Hear Emily and Erik Peterson, co-directors of the Crested Butte Music Festival, with an excerpt from a Mozart duo for violin and viola:


And check out music from a Beethoven trio for clarinet, cello and piano, played by musicians from the new Flatirons Chamber Music Festival in Boulder:


Central City Opera Singers On 'Carmen' and ‘Cosi fan tutte’

CPR Classical brought listeners two performances from Central City Opera this season. The cast of two productions stopped by the CPR Performance Studio to tell the story of the operas.

Listen to a synopsis of each act from George Bizet’s “Carmen:”



And here’s the cast of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Cosi fan Tutte” on that opera’s story:


Violinist Joshua Bell Rediscovers Brahms

Image: Joshua Bell with ASMF
Violinist Joshua Bell is music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra.

Joshua Bell came to Bravo! Vail this summer to perform with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell and cellist, Steven Isserlis, were featured soloists for a concert titled: “For the Love of Brahms.”

Bell and Isserlis recently released a disc of the same name featuring overlooked music by Johannes Brahms. We talked to Bell about why he wanted to record some lesser-known Brahms gems.

“It’s something I really wanted to get out there," Bell said of recording an early version of Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major. "It’s fascinating because it’s so different from the B Major trio which most people are used to hearing."

​Hear the feature.

A map of Colorado's summer classical festivals: