Sounds of the summer |

Sounds of the summer

Amanda Roberson

The sounds of classical music in the fresh mountain air have become a fixture to Summit County’s summer culture. This year, the tradition continues in an expanded format, as the Breckenridge Music Institute (BMI) brings the Sounds of Summer Breckenridge Music Festival to the Riverwalk Center.

Two resident orchestras, the BMI Orchestra and the nationally noted National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) present an extensive series of performances, ranging from classical to contemporary. Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann leads the BMI Orchestra. Composed of a core of veteran musicians as well as new talent, the BMI brings music appreciation to local schools. Its education and performance objectives are achieved through a series of summer music camps and performance workshops.

Maestro Carol Topilow heads the NRO, a group of 82 of the nation’s best young musicians. Since its founding 42 years ago, the NRO has brought young musicians to Breckenridge for an intense seven-week season, in which they play a full orchestral repertoire of works. Topilow selects the musicians through an audition process; they then stay with host families while performing and rehearsing.

This year’s classical concert series is two weeks longer than last year’s, with 38 concerts running from June 15 through Aug. 17. The Blue River Series presents a number of concerts between June 16 and Aug. 27.

For those who prefer rock, blues, and pop over classical music, the BMI’s Blue River Series brings nationally known artists like Papa Grows Funk and Randy Newman as well as up-and-coming artists like Norah Jones.

“We’re answering a demand for a wide variety of entertainment,” said Jeff Baum, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Institute and Festival. “The idea is to broaden the choices of performances available to the community and put on a well-rounded music festival with something for everyone.”

Baum said the BMI predicts a successful summer season – the organization has already sold 54 season passes and 35 flex passes in advance.

“Our goal is to create excitement in the town of Breckenridge that stimulates business for everyone,” said Baum. “The festival really makes an impact on the community.”

The festival offers several ticket purchasing options. Season passes for the classical series range from $300 to $450 based on seat location. Flex passes allow the holder to choose 12 classical concerts, and also range in price according to seat, from $150 to $230. The Festival Dollars coupon book contains 20 $5 coupons which can be exchanged at the Riverwalk Center Box Office for reserved seats at either classical or Blue River Series concerts.

The Riverwalk Center Box Office (970) 547-3100, opens June 1. To order tickets, call the BMI office (970) 453-9142.

Popular concerts tend to fill up fast, so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets soon. To view the complete festival schedule, visit

Sounds of summer 2002

Here are a few highlights from the Sounds of Summer classical series you won’t want to miss.

The NRO’s opening concert June 15 features Williams’ “Summon the heroes,” Bruch’s “Kol Nidre” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2.”

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet joins the NRO to bring “A Celebration of Dance” July 10. The two companies will perform both classical and non-traditional pieces, including St. Saens’ “Havanaisse” and Stravinsky’s “Apollo.”

The legendary Harry Potter is among the themes of the BMI’s “Let’s go to the Movies” July 19. Selections from “the Sound of Music” are sure to get listeners humming “do, re, mi,” while the NRO rounds off the evening with Schmidt’s “Overture” and ballet music to “The Fantasticks.”

Two season finale concerts end the festival with a bang. The NRO’s finale concert is Aug. 3, featuring Amanda Roggero on piano performing Torke’s “Javelin” and Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

Violinist Jason Horowitz wraps up the BMI’s season with the finale concert Aug. 17. Beethoven’s “Concerto for Violin,” Mozart’s “Symphony No. 35,” and Suppe’s “Overture to Poet and Peasant” are among pieces that will entertain your ears.

Blue River Series

The Blue River Concert Series is sure to spice up the summer with contemporary artists performing rock and blues. The schedule is quite diverse, offering everything from children’s choir concerts, to funk, flamenco guitar, and Broadway show tunes.

New Orleans band Papa Grows Funk brings the danceable grooves that have built it a reputation as the tastiest thing to come out of Crescent City since the hurricane. The funksters come to the festival July 5.

To be captivated by romantic flamenco guitar, don’t miss Esteban, performing July 28. Named “top new age artist” by Billboard Magazine in 2000, Esteban has called his guitar “a quiet voice in a world of restlessness.” He’s sure to move the Riverwalk audience with his intensity and passion.

Pianist Randy Newman, performing Aug. 20, is another favorite who will undoubtedly draw a crowd. The audience will recognize his repertoire of songs from a range of movies including “A Fool in Love” from “Meet the Parents” and “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2.” Recent accolades include an Oscar for his song “If I Didn’t Have You” from the movie “Monsters, Inc.”

For a patriotic musical experience, don’t miss the Jazz Ambassadors, a component of The United States Army Field Band of Washington D.C., July 13. The internationally acclaimed group travels thousands of miles each year to present America’s musical gem, jazz, to the world. Its concert repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, contemporary jazz, and popular tunes.

These are only a few samplings from the Blue River Series lineup. Check out to stay up to date on the complete summer schedule.

Amanda Roberson can be reached at 970-668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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