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The Colorado Symphony is a professional symphony orchestra located in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1989 as the successor to the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony performs in Boettcher Concert Hall and throughout the Front Range, presenting education and outreach programs, as well as Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, and the Inside the Score and Symphony on the Rocks series. Its current president and CEO is Jerome Kern and the music director of the orchestra is Andrew Litton.
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra began as the successor organization to the Denver Symphony Orchestra shortly after the Denver Symphony cancelled the remainder of its 1988-1989 season for financial reasons.
In August 1989, percussionist Terry Smith and former principal bassoonist John Wetherill filed articles of incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State, founding the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. A bitter dispute was raging between the Denver Symphony Orchestra's management and its musicians. As the registered agent of the newly formed organization, Smith was the primary target of potential lawsuits. The Denver Symphony's union contract prohibited musicians from joining competing ensembles. However, when the beleaguered musicians voted to quit the Denver Symphony en masse and join the Colorado Symphony, legal challenges and threats to remove players diminished. With the Denver Symphony filing for bankruptcy protection on October 4, 1989, the Colorado Symphony played its first concert on October 27. Days later, on November 1, Smith and Wetherill signed the new nonprofit corporation over to the musicians' elected representatives. The Denver Symphony Orchestra merged with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in May 1990. The hard-fought success of the musician-run CSO surprised almost everyone, and secured the future of symphonic music in Colorado.
The Colorado Symphony started initially as a smaller orchestra employing many of the Denver Symphony musicians.
Since its founding, the Colorado Symphony has grown to employ 79 full-time musicians and 1 full-time librarian.
In 1993 Marin Alsop was appointed as Principal Conductor and later the orchestra's music director, and is now its conductor laureate. During her tenure, the CSO gained increased recognition on both the regional and national levels, and made a number of recordings for the Naxos label.
In April 2004, the CSO appointed Jeffrey Kahane, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Santa Rosa Symphony, as the ninth music director in the 82-year history of the Denver and Colorado Symphony Orchestras. He officially took over as music director in 2005. The Denver Post described Kahane's a tenure as one "that has been marked by increased audiences and an uncommonly strong bond with the orchestra's musicians."
In 2008, Kahane extended his Colorado Symphony contract through 2012. However, in July 2008, Kahane announced his resignation from the orchestra at the end of the 2009-2010 season. He cited a case of severe hypertension in 2007, which caused him to cancel several weeks of concerts, as the primary catalyst in his decision to concentrate more on his solo piano career:
"I had a real scare. That forced me to really stop and take a look at my life and say, 'You know what? You can't do everything.' I don't think I underestimated the job. I think I overestimated myself, not in my abilities but just being in a body and turning 50."
The Colorado Symphony is currently entering into its 24th year (2013-2014) as the Colorado Symphony, the orchestra has been in existence in one form or another as Denver's premier orchestra ensemble since the Denver Symphony for over 80 years.
In August 2013, world renowned conductor Andrew Litton was appointed as the Orchestra's third Music Director after previously being Artistic Adviser for the 2012-2013 season.
- Marin Alsop: 1993-2005
- Jeffrey Kahane: 2005-2010
- Andrew Litton: Present
- "Articles of Incorporation - Colorado Symphony Orchestra".
- Smith, Terry. "Terry Smith Biography". Terry Smith. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- Goble, Gary and Joanne, 2005 historical note, Denver Public Library archival collection: Denver Symphony Orchestra and Association papers, 1922-1990
- MacMillan, Kyle (2008-07-10). "CSO music director Kahane's tenure is taking an early bow". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-07-10.