The holiday season has had to adapt this year, but that doesn’t mean all of our usual traditions have to be forgotten. We've rounded up a few of our favorite ways to enjoy classical holiday music this year while staying safe!
Sugar plum fairies, mice-battling nutcrackers, impossibly high leaps and waltzing flowers: December just wouldn't be the same without “The Nutcracker” ballet and Tchaikovsky's famous score.
The Colorado Ballet on Rocky Mountain PBS
Premieres Thanksgiving, 7 p.m.
The Colorado Ballet brings their long running production of “The Nutcracker” to television on Rocky Mountain PBS. This production is based on the traditional E.T.A. Hoffman story and choreography by Martin Friedmann.
Check this guide for information about how to access the Rocky Mountain PBS channel in a specific area. The production may also be streamed for free throughout the holiday season on the Rocky Mountain PBS app.
Broadcast schedule on Rocky Mountain PBS:
- Thursday, Nov. 26 – 7 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 27 – 3 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 18 – 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 19 – 1 a.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 24 – 7 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 25 – 12 a.m.
If you're looking for a new spin on the classic this year, check out “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” a holiday mash-up set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. This unique livestream and on-demand production comes from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Eva Price and is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber.
The cast features a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers. Set in New York City instead of Germany, the story is roughly the same. Maria-Clara joins the Nutcracker Prince on a dream adventure battling a gang of mice, visiting the land of sweets and learning the lessons of the holiday season.
Put on your dancing shoes, move the coffee table, and turn up stereo! CPR Classical has compiled the best recordings of “The Nutcracker” for broadcast. Listen nine times beginning Nov. 29 through Christmas Eve.
- Sunday, Nov. 29 – 12 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 2 – 6 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 7 – 10 a.m.
- Friday, Dec. 11 – 4:05 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 14 – 8:05 a.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 19 – 9 a.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 20 – 7 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 21 – 2 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 24 – 10 a.m.
Denver Brass’ 25th annual Holiday BrassFest
Dec. 5 - 25
This year, the ultimate holiday brass party goes virtual instead of meeting in the Galleria of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Brass players of all ages and skills levels are invited to download the holiday tunes and meet over Zoom on Dec. 5 for a live, interactive rehearsal and workshop with the Denver Brass.
BrassFest players are also invited to take part in a mass ensemble video by recording a video of themselves playing their part. Denver Brass says their “magic elves” will layer the recordings to create a high-quality compilation with the resulting video premiering on YouTube in time for Christmas!
Arapahoe Philharmonic at Aspen Grove Shopping Center
Dec. 5 and 19
The brass section from the Arapahoe Philharmonic will perform holiday favorites at the outdoor shopping center, Aspen Grove in Littleton from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 and Dec. 19.
St. Martin's Chamber Choir: Olde English Christmas
Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
St. Martin's presents a livestream concert featuring the best of “Olde English” Yuletide cheer, from modern arrangements of lusty tunes like the Gloucestershire Wassail and the Boar’s Head Carol, to more serious music like Britten's “Ceremony of Carols.” Colorado Symphony harpist Courtney Hershey Bress joins the ensemble for a high-fidelity livestream from St. Paul's Church in Denver. Single ticket holders have access to the performance for a week after the event. Members have access all season long.
St. Martin In The Fields: Carols At Home
Dec. 1 - 31
Not to be confused with the Denver-based ensemble, St. Martin’s Voices and St. Martin’s Players present three virtual concerts for the holiday season from England: “A Baroque Christmas” features a set from Handel's Messiah, “A Christmas Celebration” features more traditional carols and Ben Giddens on organ, “Festive Family Carols” includes sing-a-long favorites “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.” Ticket holders have access to the performances for the entire month of December.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols On CPR Classical
Dec. 24, 8 a.m.
Tune-in for a live, world-wide Christmas Eve broadcast of lessons, carols, and seasonal classical music, presented by The Choir of King's College in Cambridge, England, led by Michael Barone. The Festival was introduced in 1918, was first broadcast in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.
View our regularly updated calendar for a full list of holiday concerts in Colorado and beyond.
Have a suggestion for this list? Fill out our submission form
You read another CPR classical story to the end. We have got just the thing for classical music lovers like you: a weekly email newsletter! Sign up here to stay up-to-date on CPR Classical programming, events and stories from the world of classical music.