Your guide to Colorado’s 2022 summer classical music festivals

Elle Logan
Stephen Mulligan conducts Tchaikovsky at Aspen Music Festival and School.

Colorado summers bring musicians from around the world to play in festivals across the state. From symphonies in ski towns to metropolitan chamber music, the Centennial State is a destination for classical music. And 2022 won’t disappoint. The music and views can't be beat with highlights including violinist Joshua Bell performing in Denver, "Bach and Burritos" in Durango, and this year's Van Cliburn Piano Competition winner in Steamboat Springs.

Whether it's music in your own neck of the woods or encouragement to finally plan that mountain getaway, check out what’s happening this summer.

Aspen Music Festival & School

June 30 - August 21

The Aspen Music Festival and School brings some of the world’s top performers and an international audience to the Sawatch Range. The festival averages 400 concerts over the course of its eight-week summer season, including talks, recitals, fully staged operas and concerts.

Highlights: An intimate recital with guitarist Sharon Isbin, pianist Terrence Wilson plays Liszt and a one-night-only production of Verdi’s "Falstaff" starring Bryn Terfel.

Big name stars: pianist Joyce Yang, violinist Augustin Hadelich, bassist Edgar Meyer, conductor Marin Alsop

Bravo! Vail

Tom Cohen
Conductor Jaap van Zweden leads the New York Philharmonic at a Bravo! Vail concert.

June 23 - August 4

This six-week festival nestled within White River National Forest is a long-standing destination for some of the world’s top orchestras. In 2022, the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra provide the bulk of Bravo! Vail's concert calendar, highlighted by soloists, celebrated chamber ensembles and artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott.

Highlights: An evening with pianist Hélène Grimaud, Revolution: the Music of The Beatles: A Symphonic Experience, and the premiere of the New Works Symphonic Commissioning Project.

Big name stars: piano stars Hélène Grimaud, Kirill Gerstein and Seong-Jin Cho

Central City Opera

July 2 - 31

Just 35 miles from Denver lies one of the oldest professional opera companies in the country, and this summer, it celebrates its 90th season. Central City Opera brings summer music and young artist education to the Front Range in historic Victorian-era buildings.

Highlights: “Die Fledermaus,” the Tony-award winning musical “The Light in the Piazza,” and the 2016 opera about two Holocaust survivors, “Two Remain,” make for an exciting line-up.

Colorado Music Festival

Colorado Music Festival
Chautauqua Auditorium, home of Colorado Music Festival since 1978

June 30 - August 7

Each summer, professional musicians from 23 states, four provinces and three countries join music director Peter Oundjian for this five-week festival of music. Colorado Music Festival concerts are held in the historic Chautauqua Auditorium at the base of the Flatirons in Boulder with the wood, barn-like structure providing amazing acoustics.

Highlights: CPR Classical Presents: Join CPR Classical hosts on August 4 when principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic Anthony McGill performs with the Colorado Music Festival.

Big name stars: pianist Jan Lisiecki, violinist Tessa Lark, composer-in-residence John Adams

Colorado College Summer Music Festival

June 5 - June 24

The Colorado College Summer Music Festival celebrates its 38th year dedicated to bringing pre-professional musicians valuable experience through intense individual lessons and performance experience alongside renowned musicians. There are near-daily concerts by festival faculty and fellows, both in the concert hall and outdoors in Colorado Springs.

Highlights: Turina’s "Scène Andalouse" and Telemann’s "Tafelmusik" highlight the chamber music concerts. Plus, the Orchestra plays Stravinsky’s "Firebird" and Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals" in collaboration with the Ormao Dance Company.

Flatirons Chamber Music Festival

June 16 - 19

Returning to the stage after a two-year hiatus, get your fill of chamber music in the Flatirons with open rehearsals and workshops, along with three performances focused on interaction and approachability from Flatirons Chamber Music Festival.

Highlights: Persian classical improvisation, musical poetry and Father’s Day with Beethoven and Brahms.

National Repertory Orchestra

Jenny Cvek/Courtesy National Repertory Orchestra
The National Repertory Orchestra plays an outdoor 4th of July concert in 2019.

June 25 - August 13

Since 1960, the National Repertory Orchestra has helped young professional musicians further their career through an intensive festival experience. The 2022 line-up includes 18 concerts throughout the summer featuring Music Director Michael Stern, conductor Carl Topilow plus guest conductors and soloists in beautiful Breckenridge.

Highlights: CPR Classical Presents: For the first time, the National Repertory Orchestra will perform in Denver at the Newman Center with violinist Joshua Bell. Meet CPR hosts at this one-night-only event!

Bonus! Looking to learn a little more about the orchestral experience? NRO rehearsals are open to the public!

Strings Music Festival

June 21 - October 21

The Strings Music Festival is a four-month-long collection of contemporary and classical concerts in Steamboat Springs. Take your pick of 31 evening concerts or other stimulating experiences with a soundtrack, like yoga and stargazing.

Highlights: The Balourdet Quartet & flutist Adam Sadberry team up for an invigorating evening of Haydn and Villa Lobos, and a performance from the 2022 Van Cliburn gold medal winner. Plus free concerts at Yampa River Botanic Park!

Off the Hook Arts SummerFest

June 17 - 30

Off the Hook Arts brings you almost two weeks of concerts and TED talk-like science presentations in Fort Collins — the perfect pairing. SummerFest 2022 is “Dreaming and Thinking: Exploring Imagination in Music and Science.”

Highlights: Six concerts of Paganini, Mozart, and beyond, plus presentations about the metabolism of the Earth’s biosphere and what exactly constitutes a musical idea.

Salida-Aspen Concerts

July 9 - August 13

Salida Concerts brings musicians from the Aspen Music Festival to the Arkansas River Valley every Saturday starting July 9.

Highlights: Classical and jazz inspired guitarists Ziggy and Miles Johnston, plus join the American Brass Quintet for a free concert in Riverside Park.

Denver Chamber Music Festival

Courtesy of the Denver Chamber Music Festival
DCMF was started by two area cellists and professors

June 5 - 11

Now in its second season, the Denver Chamber Music Festival is committed to bringing music to a diverse Denver audience in the summer. Co-founders Matthew Zalkind and Alice Yoo began the festival after seeing that most classical music in the summer happens outside of Denver.

Highlights: The Colorado Cello Quartet plays the Complete Bach Cello Suites

Crested Butte Music Festival

July 8 – September 17

The CBMF brings classical, Americana, jazz and adventure to the Western Slope. Now in its 26th season, the festival mixes the great outdoors and music with unique events like boat concerts, stargazing soundtracks and jumping in a Jeep to a surprise location.

Highlights: The Alexander String Quartet plays Dvorak and Mozart, listen to a piano recital under the stars, and hear a little music history with the Sally Miner lecture series.

Music in the Mountains

July 7 - 31

Mountain views and music in Durango! Music in the Mountains brings three packed weeks of memorable chamber music and sparkling orchestral masterpieces with special guest conductors and soloists to southwestern Colorado. Plus free community concerts in their custom-built mobile stage.

Highlights: An evening chock full of American folk tunes with trumpeter Byron Stripling. Join the orchestra for dinner in a concert called Bach and Burritos!

Opera Steamboat

June 18 through August

Started as the Emerald City Opera in 2002, Opera Steamboat celebrates its 20th season of bringing performances to the Yampa Valley and providing young musicians with experience in their Opera Artists Institute.

Highlights: "La Boheme" kicks off Opera Steamboat’s 20th Anniversary season on June 18.

Telluride SummerFest

June 25 – July 3

Telluride Chamber Music Association and Telluride MusicFest invite you to the 20th anniversary of SummerFest. Their “Summer Soirees” are a series of intimate concerts in a restored barn with stunning views of Mt. Sunshine.

Highlights: "Beyond Brahms" and "Beyond Dvorak" dig into the music of two classical giants and beyond.

Rocky Ridge Music Center

May 31 - July 31

At the foot of Longs Peak, just a few miles south of Estes Park, sits Rocky Ridge Music Center, a music camp dating back to 1942. Along with offering performance opportunities and programs for youth and adult musicians, the faculty is composed of beloved local performers and visiting professionals.

Highlights: Catch the Faculty Concert Series starting June 5, open to the public for the first time in three years.

Your summertime soundtrack

Hear CPR Classical by clicking “Listen Live” at the top on this website, or download the Colorado Public Radio app. Listen on your radio to CPR Classical at 88.1 FM in Denver, or on radio signals around Colorado. You can also tell your smart speaker to “Play CPR Classical."