Colorado Symphony

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Colorado Symphony
Concert hallBoettcher Concert Hall

The Colorado Symphony is an American 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, located in the Denver Performing Arts center, 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.


The Colorado Symphony 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.[1] A dispute was going on 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 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 in May 1990.

The Colorado Symphony started initially as a smaller orchestra employing many of the Denver Symphony musicians.[2] Since its founding, the Colorado Symphony roster has expanded to 79 full-time musicians and 1 full-time librarian. In 1993, Marin Alsop was appointed as the orchestra's Principal Conductor, and later became its music director. She is now its conductor laureate. During her tenure, the Colorado Symphony gained increased recognition on both the regional and national levels, and made a number of recordings for the Naxos label.

In April 2004, the Colorado Symphony appointed Jeffrey Kahane as the ninth music director in the 82-year history of the Denver and Colorado Symphony Orchestras, effective 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."[3] 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."[3]

Andrew Litton became the orchestra's artistic advisor in September 2012, with an initial contract through the 2014–2015 season. In August 2013, the orchestra elevated Litton to Music Director, with immediate effect.[4][5] In September 2015, the orchestra announced that Litton is to stand down from the music directorship after the 2015–2016 season, and to become its artistic advisor and principal guest conductor through the 2017–2018 season.[6] With Litton conducting, the orchestra made its first recording for its own self-produced label, of Beethoven's Symphony No 9.

In July 2016, Brett Mitchell first guest-conducted the orchestra. Based on this appearance, in September 2016, the orchestra named Mitchell its next music director, effective with the 2017–2018 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. He has the title of music director-designate for the 2016–2017 season.[7]

CEO and Board Chairman Jerome "Jerry" Kern retired on September 9, 2021 after two decades with the symphony.[8]

Peter Oundjian was appointed Principal Conductor on February 15, 2022.[9]

Music Directors[edit]


  1. ^ "Articles of Incorporation - Colorado Symphony Orchestra".
  2. ^ Goble, Gary and Joanne, 2005 historical note, Denver Public Library archival collection: Denver Symphony Orchestra and Association papers, 1922-1990
  3. ^ a b MacMillan, Kyle (2008-07-10). "CSO music director Kahane's tenure is taking an early bow". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  4. ^ "Andrew Litton Named Colorado Symphony Music Director" (PDF) (Press release). Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-04.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Ray Mark Rinaldi (2013-08-21). "CSO conductor Litton named orchestra music director". Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  6. ^ "Andrew Litton To Become Colorado Symphony Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor" (Press release). Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  7. ^ Brad Turner (2016-09-12). "Colorado Symphony Introduces New Music Director Brett Mitchell". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  8. ^ Wenzel, John (27 September 2021). "Colorado Symphony, flush with $88 million endowment, sees longtime leaders depart". The Denver Post. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  9. ^ Rinaldi, Ray Mark (1 March 2022). "When this violinist was injured, he reinvented himself as a conductor. Now he's leading the Colorado Symphony". The Denver Post. MediaNews Group. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

External links[edit]