Colorado summers bring musicians from around the world to perform at festivals across the state. From ski resort symphonies to metropolitan chamber music, the Centennial State is a destination for classical music. And 2022 will not disappoint. The music and views can’t be beat with highlights like violinist Joshua Bell performing in Denver, “Bach and Burritos” in Durango and this year’s Van Cliburn Piano Competition winner in Steamboat Springs.
Whether it’s music in your own corner of the country or encouragement to finally plan that mountain getaway, find out what’s happening this summer.
Aspen Music Festival and School
June 30 – August 21
The Aspen Music Festival and School attracts some of the world’s finest artists and international audiences to the Sawatch lineup. The festival offers an average of 400 concerts during its eight-week summer season, including lectures, recitals, fully staged operas and concerts.
Highlights: An intimate recital with guitarist Sharon Isbin, pianist Terrence Wilson playing Liszt and a one-night-only production of Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Bryn Terfel.
Big stars: pianist Joyce Yang, violinist Augustin Hadelich, bassist Edgar Meyer, conductor Marin Alsop
June 23 – August 4
This six-week festival nestled in the White River National Forest has been a longtime destination for some of the best orchestras in the world. In 2022, the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra provide the bulk of Bravo! Vail’s concert calendar, highlighted by soloists, celebrated chamber ensembles and artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott.
Highlights: An evening with pianist Hélène Grimaud, Revolution: the Music of The Beatles: A Symphonic Experience, and the premiere of the New Works Symphonic Commissioning Project.
Big stars: pianists Hélène Grimaud, Kirill Gerstein and Seong-Jin Cho
July 2 – 31
Just 35 miles from Denver is one of the nation’s oldest professional opera companies, and this summer it celebrates its 90th season. The Central City Opera offers summer music and education for young artists to the Front Range in historic Victorian buildings.
Highlights: ‘Die Fledermaus’, the Tony award-winning musical ‘The Light in the Piazza’ and the 2016 opera about two Holocaust survivors, ‘Two Remain’ form an exciting line-up.
Colorado Music Festival
June 30 – August 7
Each summer, professional musicians from 23 states, four provinces and three countries join Music Director Peter Oundjian for this five-week music festival. Colorado Music Festival concerts are held in the historic Chautauqua Auditorium at the foot of the Flatirons in Boulder, with a wooden barn-like structure offering stunning acoustics.
Highlights: CPR Classical Presents: Join the hosts of CPR Classical on August 4 when New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill performs with the Colorado Music Festival.
Big stars: pianist Jan Lisiecki, violinist Tessa Lark, composer-in-residence John Adams
Colorado College Summer Music Festival
June 5 – June 24
The Colorado College Summer Music Festival celebrates its 38th year dedicated to bringing pre-professional musicians valuable experience through intense one-on-one lessons and performance experience alongside renowned musicians. There are near-daily concerts by faculty and festival fellows, both in the concert hall and outdoors in Colorado Springs.
Highlights: “Scène Andalouse” by Turina and “Tafelmusik” by Telemann highlight chamber music concerts. In addition, the Orchestra performs Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” in collaboration with the Ormao Dance Company.
Flatirons Chamber Music Festival
JJune 16 – 19
Returning to the stage after a two-year hiatus, get your fill of chamber music in the Flatirons with rehearsals and open workshops, plus three performances focusing on interaction and accessibility from the Flatirons Chamber Music Festival.
Highlights: classical Persian improvisation, musical poetry and Father’s Day with Beethoven and Brahms.
National Repertoire Orchestra
June 25 – August 13
Since 1960, the National Repertoire Orchestra has helped young professional musicians pursue their careers through intensive festival experience. The 2022 lineup includes 18 concerts throughout the summer with Music Director Michael Stern, conductor Carl Topilow as well as guest conductors and soloists in beautiful Breckenridge.
Highlights: CPR Classical Presents: For the first time, the National Repertory Orchestra will perform in Denver at the Newman Center with violinist Joshua Bell. Meet the hosts of CPR at this one-night-only event!
Prime! Looking to learn a little more about the orchestral experience? NRO rehearsals are open to the public!
String Music Festival
June 21 – October 21
The Strings Music Festival is a four month collection of contemporary and classical concerts in Steamboat Springs. Choose from 31 evening concerts or other stimulating experiences with a soundtrack, like yoga and stargazing.
Highlights: The Balourdet Quartet & flautist Adam Sadberry team up for an invigorating evening of Haydn and Villa Lobos, and a performance by 2022 Gold Medalist Van Cliburn. And free concerts at Yampa River Botanic Park!
Off the Hook Arts SummerFest
June 17 – 30
Off the Hook Arts brings you nearly two weeks of TED Talk-like concerts and science presentations in Fort Collins – the perfect couple. SummerFest 2022 is “Dreaming and Thinking: Exploring the Imagination in Music and Science”.
Highlights: Six concerts by Paganini, Mozart and beyond, plus presentations on the metabolism of Earth’s biosphere and what exactly constitutes a musical idea.
July 9 – August 13
Salida Concerts brings musicians from the Aspen Music Festival to the Arkansas River Valley every Saturday starting July 9.
Highlights: Classical and jazz-inspired guitarists Ziggy and Miles Johnston, and join the American Brass Quintet for a free concert in Riverside Park.
Denver Chamber Music Festival
June 5 to 11
Now in its second season, the Denver Chamber Music Festival is committed to bringing music to a diverse Denver audience in the summer. Co-founders Matthew Zalkind and Alice Yoo started the festival after finding that most of the summer’s classical music was happening outside of Denver.
Highlights: The Colorado Cello Quartet performs the complete Bach Cello Suites
Crested Butte Music Festival
July 8 – September 17
The CBMF brings classical, Americana, jazz and adventure to the West Slope. Now in its 26th season, the festival mixes the great outdoors and music with unique events like boat concerts, stargazing soundtracks and jeep hops to a surprising location.
Highlights: The Alexander String Quartet plays Dvorak and Mozart, hear a piano recital under the stars, and hear a bit of music history with the Sally Miner Lecture Series.
music in the mountains
July 7 – 31
Mountain views and music in Durango! Music in the Mountains brings three action-packed weeks of memorable chamber music and sparkling orchestral masterpieces with special guest conductors and soloists to southwestern Colorado. Plus free community concerts in their custom built mobile stage.
Highlights: An evening filled with American folk tunes with trumpeter Byron Stripling. Join the orchestra for dinner in a concert called Bach and Burritos!
From June 18 to August
Launched as Emerald City Opera in 2002, Opera Steamboat celebrates its 20th season by bringing performances to the Yampa Valley and offering young musicians an experience in their Opera Artists Institute.
Highlights: “La Bohème” kicks off Opera Steamboat’s 20th anniversary season on June 18.
June 25 – July 3
Telluride Chamber Music Association and Telluride MusicFest invite you to the 20th anniversary of SummerFest. Their “Summer Soirees” are a series of intimate concerts in a restored barn with stunning views of Mount Sunshine.
Highlights: “Beyond Brahms” and “Beyond Dvorak” delve into the music of two classical giants and beyond.
Rocky Ridge Music Center
May 31 – July 31
At the foot of Longs Peak, a few miles south of Estes Park, is the Rocky Ridge Music Center, a music camp dating back to 1942. In addition to providing performance opportunities and programs for youth and adults , the faculty is made up of beloved locals. guest interpreters and professionals.
Highlights: Attend the Faculty Concert Series starting June 5, open to the public for the first time in three years.