Coming Attractions

CMF returns for a season of celebrations

Recommended activities for the coming weeks

Column by Clarke Reader
Posted 6/29/21

Returning to some kind of normal for performers and audiences alike is like coming home for many members of both groups. Peter Oundjian, music director of the Colorado Music Festival, is just one of …

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Coming Attractions

CMF returns for a season of celebrations

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


Returning to some kind of normal for performers and audiences alike is like coming home for many members of both groups. Peter Oundjian, music director of the Colorado Music Festival, is just one of those people. After an entirely virtual version of the event last year, it is returning to Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium.

“People are almost giddy with excitement to go to concerts,” Oundjian said. “The audience gives us a tremendous amount of energy and focus, an energy we feed off, and don’t take for granted. The spontaneity of those moments is what we’re all looking forward to.”

The annual Colorado Music Festival features some of the world’s best musicians playing orchestral and chamber music and offers 22 diverse concerts at the Chautauqua, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder, from Thursday, July 1 to Saturday, Aug. 7. There will be live-streaming options available for those who don’t feel comfortable attending in person yet.


In addition to the about 40 musicians who will be performing throughout the entirety of the festival, there will be 17 guest artists, three internationally acclaimed string quartets and three guest conductors will perform throughout the season, according to provided information.

“I’ve been performing at the Colorado Music Festival since 2000, and a last has changed in the 20 years. But I’ve made so many friends over the years and love playing here, because the group is great,” said Calin Lupanu, the concertmaster for the festival. He was born in Romania and came to the US to study music. “I’m really looking forward to this season — I usually come out for four or five out of the six weeks, but this year I’ll be here for the entire thing.”

Some highlights from this year’s festival include four world premieres, including one which commemorates the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and another by composer Joel Thompson which highlights the work of writer and activist James Baldwin.

“We’re going to continue the celebration of the music of Beethoven that we started last year that many people missed,” Oundjian said. “But I’m also really proud that we’re emphasizing new music, because I think it’s important for people to hear music written by their contemporaries.”

Both Oundjian and Lupanu spoke about this year’s festival as a celebration, not just of the talents of performers and composers, but the act of performing together with colleagues in a place as beautiful as the Chautauqua for a group of avid music fans. That’s the kind of homecoming everybody can get excited about.

“It’s a fantastic group, the auditorium sounds gorgeous and Boulder as a city is beautiful,” Lupanu said. “I can’t wait to get there.”

For information and details, visit


ARTSWEEK Golden gets creative in 2021

ARTSWEEK Golden is back in 2021 with a week of activities designed to highlight the creativity that can be found all over the city. The series begins on Thursday, July 8, with the first kick-off concert that the Foothills Art Center has hosted as part of the event (the band is Wildermiss, an indie rock group from Denver).

One of the key events of ARTSWEEK is the Foothills Fine Arts Festival, which is held on Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11. The nationally juried arts festival includes a diverse array of works from more than 100 artists, and it will also include children’s activities, games, food and drinks. Other activities during the week include workshops, trivia, a film premiere and more. Visit for the details.



DCPA, MCA’s taste mixed, but quality is not

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Off-Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver are ready to host another season of Mixed Taste — this time in person and online — to discuss a variety of topics on Wednesdays from July 7 through Aug. 11.

According to provided information, the series “pairs two speakers, speaking for 20 minutes each on completely unrelated subjects, followed by questions from the audience on both topics at the same time.” Last year the event was entirely livestreamed, but this year there’s an option for attendees in person as well as streaming. Lectures will be held at 7 p.m. in the DCPA’s Seawell Ballroom, 1350 Arapahoe St. in Denver.

Topics include rage philanthropy, forest health, Casa Bonita and much more. Tickets for the lectures can be secured at


Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Aretha: A Tribute at Red Rocks

Usually, I spend the first few sentences of these giving a little background about the musician I’m writing about and why you should care that you can hear their music live. But it’s Aretha Franklin, man. If you don’t know who about the Queen of Soul, I’ve got nothing for you. Franklin’s story is having a bit of a renaissance this year — there’s already been a miniseries based on her life released and we’re getting the full motion picture version later this summer.

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is getting in on the celebrating with Aretha: A Tribute, held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison. The show will feature vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw performing some of Franklin’s most beloved hits. Visit for tickets and details.


Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at

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