Crested Butte Music Festival Announces the 2017 Performance Season: The First Under New Artistic Directors Dr. Emily Ondracek-Peterson and Dr. Erik Christian Peterson

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Picturesque festival in the mountains of Colorado offers an unspoiled summer destination for bluegrass, opera, classical music, dance, children’s programs, and more. CBMF’s 21st Season, entitled “Identity Unmasked,” will explore identity and its revelation or masking.

Photo Credit: Xavier Fane

The Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF) has announced its 2017 summer season, the first programmed under the new co-Artistic Directors, Dr. Emily Ondracek-Peterson and Dr. Erik Christian Peterson. The seven-week season will take place June 23-August 5, 2017 in the Mt. Crested Butte Mirror Palace, and includes outstanding performances in classical music, bluegrass, opera, Gypsy Jazz and more. This season also sees the return of contemporary dance programming, the creation of a new Chamber Music Intensive and Orchestral Fellows program, and a number of educational programs for children and adults.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Identity Unmasked” and CBMF will use that foundation as a common thread which weaves the season programming and events together. The season will explore themes of identity and its revelation or masking; masks will even play prominently throughout the season.

Crista Ryan, Executive Director of CBMF, says, “Emily and Erik have programmed an enthralling inaugural season. They have shined a brighter light on CBMF’s mission to provide diverse music with expanded education offerings and genre-bending artists.  Audiences will enjoy remarkable 2017 Festival, highlighted by Emily and Erik's extraordinary ability to provide an approachable holistic understanding and experience of music.”

Co-Artistic Director Erik Peterson says, “As new Artistic Directors of the Crested Butte Music Festival, one of our first orders of business has been to expand the educational programming. The adult chamber music institute marries the stunning natural beauty of Crested Butte with an immersive chamber music learning experience. The Crested Butte Chamber Music Intensive is for those adult students that wish to delve deeply into chamber music repertoire while also enjoying Crested Butte’s myriad outdoor opportunities.”

The 2017 season offers an array of performances, educational opportunities for all ages, and special events nestled in the picturesque base of Mt. Crested Butte, CO. The Festival offers more than 50 performances and events, many of which are complimentary or presented with a voluntary donation. Tickets are now on sale at

Festival Highlights (Full season schedule on final page)

Highlights of the season include legendary fiddler Mark O’Connor in two performances: one with the full O’Connor Band and an intimate performance with his wife, violinist and singer Maggie O’Connor. Pianist Peter Dugan, a festival favorite, returns to CBMF with his wife, mezzo-soprano Kara Dugan, for a memorable evening of love songs and sweet treats provided by cult favorite Big Gay Ice Cream (ranked as the top ice cream parlour in the US). The Festival Symphony Orchestra welcomes renowned flutist Eugenia Zukerman for an evening of beer and Baroque music in BEERoque, a celebration of beer and concerti by Bach and other Baroque masters. The acclaimed Crested Butte Opera Studio will present one act operas The Island of Tulipatan (Offenbach) and Gianni Schicchi (Puccini) with the opera stars of tomorrow in a hilarious double bill conducted by David Stern. Dance returns to the Crested Butte Music Festival with Davis Contemporary Dance Company, a leader in contemporary dance which creates high-energy and accessible programs using a diverse range of music from jazz to Minimalism, EDM, and more. CBMF favorite Charles Yang returns as part of Time For Three, the wildly popular genre-blending string trio. Tickets for Time For Three are complimentary for all attendees, thanks to the Film Funds Music Performance Trust Fund. The powerful Voxare String Quartet plays its own soundtrack of masterpiece Soviet repertoire to accompany the 1929 silent masterpiece, The Man with a Movie Camera in an unforgettable evening of music and film. Voxare will also perform a concert of selections from its new album, Mixed Tape, ranging from Beethoven to Philip Glass to the Rolling Stones. Famed NYC DJ and club impresario Johnny Dynell (Elton John’s Oscar Party DJ) leads a night of masked dancing in Masked Rave. Gypsy Jazz All-Stars brings together stars of the Gypsy Jazz world, including Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, Olli Soikkeli, Nicki Parrott, and Jason Anick. Happy 80th, a celebration of newly minted octagenarian composers Philip Glass, David Del Tredici, and Steve Reich, will celebrate these three contemporary music mavericks and allow the audience to learn a work and perform it as a group. The annual Gala features the Festival Symphony Orchestra with Gypsy Jazz legends Frank Vignola, Olli Soikkeli and more for an evening of food, spirits, and great music to raise funds for CBMF programming and outreach.

Educational Highlights

Educational and outreach offerings include lectures, public masterclasses, workshops, complimentary children’s tickets, and open dress rehearsals – all provided for no charge, as well as the following programs:

CBMF and Swallow Hill Bluegrass Kids Camp // June 26-30
A fun, 5-day music camp in Crested Butte that provides kids (ages 7-14) an amazing experience in bluegrass music education. Students learn to play in a bluegrass band with other students, write songs, and advance their individual skills through instrument break-out sessions. The day camp offers training for first-timers as well as intermediate players, provided by faculty from the esteemed Swallow Hill Music School in Denver. This camp is a collaboration between the Crested Butte Music Festival and Swallow Hill Music School.

Crested Butte Opera Studio // June 23-July 15
The Crested Butte Opera Studio provides young professional singers the opportunity to study and perform with leading opera experts during a six-week residency at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Under the direction of the Opera Studio’s Artistic Director, Lynn Baker, participants will undergo a rigorous training program that includes forty hours per week of vocal and dramatic instruction. Students will perform all lead roles in the Festival’s double bill of Offenbach’s The Island of Tulipatan and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, present an evening of cabaret, perform in a vocal chamber and art song recital, and sing in public master classes by visiting faculty, including tenor Barry Banks and dramaturg Cori Ellison.

NEW:  Crested Butte Chamber Music Intensive // July 31-August 5
The Crested Butte Music Festival is pleased to introduce the inaugural season of the Chamber Music Intensive led by Dr. Emily Ondracek-Peterson and Dr. Erik Christian Peterson in beautiful Crested Butte. Small ensembles of serious, amateur musicians will be coached by world-class artists in a supportive, inviting atmosphere. The high-level artistry from both players and coaches combines with a special, collegial ambiance to create an intimate, boutique experience. A unique bond is engendered amongst all musicians who travel to Crested Butte, as music and nature come together in one glorious duo. The Intensive blends superb music making with the rejuvenating power of nature for an unforgettable week in paradise.

NEW: Orchestral Fellows Program // July 6-23
The Crested Butte Music Festival is excited to present a new, pre-professional apprenticeship program for young musicians from conservatories and top music schools seeking to expand their musical experience and refine their craft. Selected participants will gain direct exposure and have the unique opportunity to sit side-by-side with professional orchestral, chamber, and solo musicians, and will gain ample performance experience in six concerts, including an operatic double-bill of Offenbach’s Island of Tulipatan and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the young professional vocalists from the distinguished Crested Butte Opera Studio.

Fellows will spend approximately three weeks gaining meaningful experience and exposure in their respective disciplines with professional musicians and artistic staff, including conductor David Stern.

Opera Children’s Chorus // June 26-July 15
The Festival’s Opera Children’s Chorus (OCC) is a unique, three-week intensive performance program for talented young singers aged 8-18. Led by acclaimed director and clinician Nina Revering, OCC participants receive professional-level performance training and experience. Additionally, they enjoy access to Festival events and have plenty to enjoy in the family-friendly Crested Butte region.

Frank Vignola Guitar Camp // July 24-28
An unheralded experience for ensemble training and performances, participants learn from gypsy jazz legends Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, Olli Soikkeli, Jason Anick, and Nicki Parrott. Attend with existing ensembles or join as an individual guitar, fiddle or bass player and the gurus will place you within an ensemble. The camp will include warm ups, plenty of jam time, rhythm guitar, improvisation, a specific workshop on the secrets and riffs of Django Reinhardt’s style, participant ensembles, and late-night jam sessions with performers.

Instrument Petting Zoo // July 16
Get up close and personal with various instruments of the orchestra. Perfect for kids and adults, alike!

Kids Go Free
Enjoy the Crested Butte Music Festival with the whole family at no cost for kids! CBMF is offering a number of complimentary fun music and art events for children throughout the season for everyone to enjoy. Youths under 18 can also enjoy complimentary entry to select Festival performances with the purchase of one regularly priced adult ticket. Enjoy classical music, opera, dance, jazz, and bluegrass with some of today’s most exciting performing artists. Kids Go Free is part of the Festival's commitment to developing the performers of tomorrow and inspiring future generations to appreciate the arts.
(This promotion excludes fundraising events).

Food and Beverage at the Mt. Crested Butte Mirror Palace:

General food and beverage options throughout the summer will range from snack menu items to multi-course dinners at select events, including Big Gay Ice Cream at the Sweet Sounds Peter & Kara Dugan event on July 7; craft beer at the BEERoque concert on July 8; and at craft margaritas and locally made salsas at Mariachi on the Rocks on August 4. The Mirror Palace includes a full bar, creating a wholly unique and unparalleled experience right in Mt. Crested Butte.

Crested Butte Music Festival 2017 Season Calendar

Crested Butte Opera Studio Chamber Concert at Western State Colorado University
Masked Rave with famed NYC DJ Johnny Dynell
Crested Butte Opera Studio Cabaret
Sound Hearth: Mark & Maggie O'Connor
Mark O'Connor Featuring the O'Connor Band
Swallow Hill Camp Performance
Taarka: bluegrass, Americana, gypsy jazz, & folk rock
Davis Contemporary Dance Company
Sound Hearth: Crested Butte Opera Studio
Go Free: Salsa Lessons
Sweet Sounds: Peter Dugan, piano & Kara Sainz, soprano | Featuring frozen treats from Big Gay Ice Cream
BEERoque with Eugenia Zukerman and the Festival Symphony Orchestra
Sound Hearth: Deceptive Cadence with Eugenia Zuckerman
Crested Butte Opera Studio: The Island of Tulipatan and Gianni Schicchi
Crested Butte Opera Studio: The Island of Tulipatan and Gianni Schicchi
Crested Butte Opera Studio: The Island of Tulipatan and Gianni Schicchi
Time For Three | Complimentary admission thanks to the Film Funds Music Performance Trust Fund
Instrument Petting Zoo
Voxare Meets The Man with a Movie Camera
Sound Hearth: Voxare’s Mixed Tape
The Mothers of Identity: The Festival Symphony Orchestra performs Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante under the baton of Tito Muñoz, featuring new CBMF Co-Artistic Directors Erik & Emily Peterson as soloists
CBMF Gala: Paris 19xx with the Festival Symphony Orchestra, Frank Vignola, and Olli Soikkeli
Brendan James: singer-songwriter & pianist
Sound Hearth: Gatsby Lawn Games with Frank Vignola + Vinny Raniolo
Blazing Virtuosity: Gypsy Jazz DOUBLE BILL

  •     Jason Anick Trio salutes Stephane Grappelli (with guests Frank Vignola and Nicki Parrott)
  •     Olli Soikkeli vs. Vinny Raniolo: Gypsy Guitar Battle

Tributes: Gypsy Jazz DOUBLE BILL:

  •     Frank Vignola and Nicki Parrott Salute Les Paul
  •     The Nicki Parrott Trio plays Great American Popular Songs from Gershwin to Bacharach

Frank Vignola Hot Club Dream Camp Performance
Gypsy Jazz All-Stars: Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, Olli Soikkeli, Nicki Parrott, and Jason Anick
"Paper Faces" Masquerade: A masked New Orleans party with Queen City Jazz Band!
Sound Hearth: Happy 80th! Celebrating Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and David Del Tredici
Mariachi On The Rocks with Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra

More about the Mt. Crested Butte Mirror Palace:

One of only four such structures in the U.S., the Mt. Crested Butte Mirror Palace is a semi-permanent Spiegeltent that will house all of the CBMF mainstage concerts. Flemish for “mirror tents,” Spiegeltents were built around 1900 in Belgium for use as traveling dance halls and town fairs. The Mt. Crested Butte Mirror Palace is nicknamed “Victoria” and was originally built in the 1930s by the Klessens family. The numerous spiegels, or mirrors, in the tent allowed for discreet eye contact between visitors and became a legendary symbol of the wild fin-de-siècle nightlife. This tent has traveled around the world and most recently spent ten years in South Africa. In addition to housing the Festival events, the Tent is available for special events and rentals.

About the Crested Butte Music Festival:

The 2017 season offers an array of performances over seven weeks from June to August in classical music, Gypsy jazz, dance, opera, and more. Through CBMF’s guest artists, residents and visitors of Gunnison County have access to performances and educational opportunities that would typically only be available in a major metropolitan area. CBMF offers educational programming and events for all ages, many of which are complimentary or presented with a voluntary donation. Tickets are now on sale at

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