Colin McAllister to perform at Briggle House Museum in Breckenridge |

Colin McAllister to perform at Briggle House Museum in Breckenridge


What: “The Library At Night” by Colin McAllister

When: Sunday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. Wine and appetizers served at 3 with a historic presentation at 3:45.

Where: Katie Briggle House Museum, 104 N. St., Breckenridge

Cost: $30. Seating is limited and tickets can be purchased at

History comes alive this weekend in Breckenridge. For the first time in almost 100 years, music will flow through the Briggle House Museum, the historic 1896 home of Katie and William Briggle.

A collaboration of Summit Music and Arts and the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, classical guitarist Colin McAllister will perform his “Library at Night” concert in the Victorian parlor on Sunday.

It should be noted that “classical” refers to the style of guitar, played with nylon strings instead of steel, and not necessarily the style of music.

“The concert really does span a wide spectrum of time and styles,” McAllister said. “You can do so much with the classical guitar. The definition is much broader than people realize.”

Audience members will hear arrangements of a polyphony from the 14th century as well as a modern piece written specifically for the concert by composer Christopher Adler. Inspired by author and director of the National Library Argentina Alberto Manguel’s eponymous book, “The Library At Night” takes listeners on a literary journey through chapters of the work using a scripted crafted from some of Manguel’s direct quotes, McAllister’s own musings and aural soundscapes.

For instance, the Adler portion is paired with “Library As Order” because the composer wrote it as he thought about the organizational structure of a library. Meanwhile, Astor Piazzolla’s tango “Oblivion” pairs with “The Library As Oblivion” and the aforementioned symphonic polyphonies are played during the “Library As Imagination” movement.

“I think the invention of polyphony as a musical texture is one of the greatest inventions of the musical mind,” said McAllister. “It’s something that has been very influential in music for hundreds of years.”

The concert has been performed in various settings around North America such as churches and libraries, but this will be the first time it has been played in an intimate home. The parlor was believed to be Katie’s music room where she practiced on multiple instruments and held recitals and lessons. Before the concert, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance guide Phyl Rubinstein will discuss what the room meant to the Briggles.

“To play in a house that someone lived there as a great lover of music and hosted a lot of events,” said McAllister, “I think that’s fantastic.”

It’s a fitting venue given that the last portion of the concert McAllister will play is titled the “Library As Home.”

“In that chapter Manguel talks about how a library allows to go to different places in the distant past as well as geographically, converse with people from all countries, without leaving home and you still have a sense of being at home,” he said. “So I’m playing a piece that really resounds with me. It’s piece that I’ve been playing for 25 years that I really love and it really reminds me of my home.”

That blending of history and music is crucial to McAllister’s artistic motivations. After ditching the saxophone for the more appealing guitar at age 16, McAllister first wanted to emulate the progressive rock sounds of Rush, Yes and Blue Öyster Cult of his youth. Yet in college he switched gears to jazz, which he plays as part of the Hennessy Six, and classical guitar.

With a passion for both the medieval and contemporary, avant-garde sounds of artists like Philip Glass, the classical guitar opened up a new world for McAllister.

“I’m a person that gets bored playing the same thing over and over again,” he said. “When I was younger I did have this touring gig, which was great, but it was literally playing five to six nights a week playing the same 25-30 tunes every night. I didn’t last too long in that because I like the diversity.”

He also enjoys the independent nature of the instrument. “Most other styles you’re dependent on having a band behind you or singer or another musician, but with classical guitar you’re in control of everything. You’re playing the melody, harmony and percussive sounds.”

When he isn’t performing, he can be found teaching at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, not too far from his hometown of Chipita Park. Along with the standard music classes, he instructs humanities courses on dystopia and the apocalypse. McAllister began studying apocalyptic literature through his love of Latin and it naturally wove its way back into music.

“I’m really interested in the whole idea of apocalypticism and how it plays out in ancient literature and in music. Even in contemporary society, how the idea of apocalyptic has transformed across the centuries and is still popular in the public imagination. “

Though it will be briefly touched upon during Sunday’s concert while performing the older works, those interested in hearing McAllister talk more about the end of the world can visit UCCS in March for the fifth, free Through A Glass Darkly symposium.

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