Michael Christie will continue to lead the Colorado Music Festival

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At the completion of his 11th season as Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival, Maestro Michael Christie signs a five year contract extension.

I think we’re doing more innovative, interesting and exciting things with classical music than any other summer orchestra in the country.

America’s happiest and foodiest city is now claiming another distinction. The Colorado Music Festival, which takes place every summer in Boulder, Colorado, has announced a new 5-year contract with its music director, Michael Christie. Christie has earned a variety of accolades including “Musician of the Year” from the Denver Post and numerous ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

According to Catherine Underhill, Executive Director of the Festival, “This is another big step for the Colorado Music Festival. Michael has built this 6-week event into a destination for music lovers not only in Colorado, but also summer visitors to Colorado. Looking forward to another 5 years of his leadership is truly exciting for us.”

The Festival continues its decade long run of increasing ticket sales, recently reporting that the 2011 season set a new record for ticket sales with 6% growth over 2010, and the most successful season in its 35-year history. “Not many orchestras have enjoyed that kind of success recently,” said Underhill, “and this is a tribute to the innovative programming Michael has become so well known for.”

When Christie was selected as the Festival’s music director in 2000 he was one of the youngest conductors of any major orchestra at just 25 years of age, and highly touted as one to watch. In the past ten years he has proven that to be true by first attracting leading musicians from orchestras across the country and the world to a six-week residency in Boulder, and then forming them into a cohesive ensemble performing at the highest level of musical proficiency.

When asked about Christie, patrons consistently say that his innovative approach to programming is something extra special. They are then quick to add that his rapport with both the orchestra and the audience makes every concert a delight. In his first season in Boulder, Christie was quoted as saying, “You will never come to a concert here that you simply won’t like. There will always be something for everyone.”

Not only has Christie demonstrated that to be true, he is now taking the Festival on an exciting journey each season that will include what he calls “rediscovered masters” —works by composers who were silenced during World War II. Many of the featured pieces have never been performed anywhere in the world. In addition, the 2011 season included two world premiere performances that included a Festival-commissioned work by Patrick Zimmerli and “Simply Blue” by Ranaan Meyer, who also performed it as a member of the groundbreaking musical ensemble Time For Three.

When asked what makes the Colorado Music Festival “the place to be” for live orchestra music in the summer, Christie notes, “I think we’re doing more innovative, interesting and exciting things with classical music than any other summer orchestra in the country. Combine that with the quality of our musicians, the unbelievable setting at the base of Boulder’s signature Flatirons, and the charm of our historic Chautauqua concert hall, it’s not surprising we’ve gained a national reputation as a great summer musical experience.”

Given the demand on Christie’s time, a contract with the Festival in Boulder is prized. In addition to those responsibilities, Michael Christie became the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony in August 2005. Among his many upcoming guest appearances, he will be conducting the St. Louis Opera in the 2012 American premiere of Alice in Wonderland and the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night with the Minnesota Opera. With his orchestras, he has embarked on a series of ambitious projects focusing on interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artists, dance companies, and theater groups, as well as contemporary composers such as Gorecki, Ligeti, Adams, Golijov and Tan Dun.

The Colorado Music Festival (CMF) 2012 season will run for six weeks from June 24 through August 4, 2012. Performances are held at Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium. The CMF Chamber Orchestra will perform on Sundays, World Music ensembles will be featured on Tuesdays, and the full CMF Festival Orchestra will play on Thursdays and Fridays. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call (303) 449-1397 or visit http://www.COmusic.org.

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Brandi Numedahl
Colorado Music Festival
303.931.8203 numedahl@COmusic.org
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