Breckenridge Music Festival kicks off family-friendly series with ‘The Magical Music of Disney’ |

Breckenridge Music Festival kicks off family-friendly series with ‘The Magical Music of Disney’

Erica Marciniec
Special to the Daily
On Aug. 13, the BMF Orchestra presents "SILA: The Breath of the World," the avant-garde composition by John Luther Adams that premiered at Lincoln Center in New York, as a free outdoor concert on and around the Riverwalk Center lawn.
Kevin Yatarola / Special to the Daily |


What: ‘The Magical Music of Disney’ with David Danzmayr

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets range from $7-45 depending on seating and ticket type

More information: Call the Riverwalk Center Ticket Office at (970) 547-3100, or visit

What: ‘Beethoven Lives Upstairs’ with Christopher Dragon

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Free

What: ‘SILA: The Breath of the World’ by John Luther Adams

When: 4-5:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13

Where: On and around the Riverwalk Center lawn, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Free

What: ‘Trail Mix’ concert series

When: August 11-21; times vary

Where: Breckenridge trails. See for schedule and locations.

Cost: Free

It’s one thing to drag the kids to the orchestra. It’s another when the performances involve Disney favorites past and present — from classic scores to selections from “The Little Mermaid,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Lion King.” Add colorful animations projected on-screen at the front of the concert hall, and you have a captive audience while innocently growing a love for classical music.

Saturday night’s “The Magical Music of Disney” kicks off the 2016 family-friendly series from the Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) Orchestra. It will be led by David Danzmayr, the renowned conductor and family man who has worked to broaden the BMF’s musical connection to the community since taking on the role of artistic advisor last year.

“Orchestral music is often unfamiliar and challenging if you haven’t grown up hearing or performing it,” said BMF executive director Tamara Nuzzaci Park. “Concert programming that incorporates a familiar fable or a sympathetic character illuminates classical music in relatable ways for audiences of all ages and learning styles.”

For its free family concert on July 28, the BMF orchestra presents the world-famous “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” a musical journey through some of the master’s greatest works including excerpts from “Moonlight Sonata,” “Fur Elise” and Symphonies No. 5 and 9. It is set to the storyline of a young boy, Christoph, who writes to his uncle about the eccentric deaf composer who has come to rent the apartment upstairs in his Vienna home. The show is produced by Classical Kids Music Education, with Christoph and his uncle portrayed by live actors.

The concert will be led by Australian conductor Christopher Dragon, who serves as associate conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. A rising talent, Dragon was coached early in his career by Danzmayr.

“When I was asked about family concert ideas for the Breckenridge Music Festival, this show instantly came to mind, as it perfectly fits in with the Viennese theme of this year’s festival,” Dragon said. “It cleverly and seamlessly illustrates, through the actors and music, the life of one of the great composers — Beethoven. It’s a great way to be introduced to classical music.”

Dragon’s favorite part of the show takes place during the storm scene from Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony No. 6, when the actors throw manuscript pages into the air, accompanied by “amusing cymbal crashes” that he notes were not written by Beethoven but added to the movement to highlight the thunder of the storm.

“The theatrics of the actors with this great music of Beethoven is very effective in the show,” he said.

Both the Beethoven and Disney concerts will take place at the family-friendly hours of 6-7:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to attend Saturday’s Disney concert in costume to be eligible for a prize drawing coordinated by Summit Daily News, with prizes donated by local businesses. The Disney show is sponsored by High Country Healthcare.

In August, the Breckenridge Music Festival offers a series of free outdoor concerts starting with “SILA: The Breath of the World” to be performed live on and around the Riverwalk Center lawn at 4 p.m., Aug. 13. This cutting-edge composition by the once Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams premiered at Lincoln Center in New York and comes to Breckenridge for the first time as part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, or BIFA. A flexible, modern piece, “SILA” involves ensembles of musicians — including brass, percussion, woodwinds, strings and voice — performing at their own pace, with the one rule that each tone should last the length of a full exhalation. Audience members are encouraged to move around and explore various listening points.

Then from Aug. 11-21, the BMF partners again with BIFA to deliver 10 of the concerts in the “Trail Mix” series, which features musical performances as well as visual art installations along Breckenridge-area trails. The free outdoor concerts allow guests to interact as much or as little as they desire, making the music accessible to any and all who happen upon it.

“Unlike the experience an art museum or a rock concert offers, at a traditional orchestra concert, audiences are not as free to set their own pace — to pass over a piece that doesn’t immediately speak to them and linger with one that does,” Park explained. “These performances offer that more casual format that accommodates a variety of interest levels.”

“Our goal is to not only introduce new audiences to the traditional orchestra concert setting, but also to create memorable musical encounters for locals and guests,” she added, “whether they’re hiking or biking Breckenridge trails or strolling Blue River Plaza.”

Erica Marciniec is a paid writer with the Breckenridge Music Festival.

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