Rock Me, Amadeus 

Summer nights alive with fine classical music

click to enlarge If Mendelssohns your man, mark your calendar for July 8.
  • If Mendelssohns your man, mark your calendar for July 8.

On Friday, June 21, Colorado College presented an evening of music by the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as the part of its summer-long Festival Artists Concert Series. The performance featured three separate pieces of chamber music, culminating with the elegant Clarinet Quintet in A major; a piece that music lecturer Michael Grace contends "makes the heart dance, but not for joy." But on this warm Colorado evening, exuberance was hard to avoid, as a summer replete with fine classical music officially commenced.

This Friday, the CC Summer Music Festival will showcase the works of modern, 20th-century composers Korngold, Martinu, Takemitsu and Larson. The following night, under the direction of the Jos-Luis Garcia, the entire Festival Chamber Orchestra will perform Mozart's Concerto No. 1 in B flat, along with Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, and the "Adagietto" from Mahler's Symphony No. 5. The following Wednesday, July 3, the Festival offers Mozart's Quintet in E flat major (for cello and violins). And the list goes on.

It will also be a busy summer for the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra (CSSO). Entering its 75th season, the Symphony has programmed a diverse and engaging lineup for its 2002 Summer Symphony in the Parks Series, thanks in part to the enthusiasm of Tom Wilson who recently assumed the associate director's position with the CSSO. The University of Northern Colorado graduate has been part of the Symphony since 1992, and his reputation for presenting fun, yet challenging, musical programs has landed him the role of conductor for all of the park dates.

Wilson's first big test will come this Friday, June 28, in Mountain Shadows, where the Symphony presents Beethoven's "Consecration of the House," along with pieces by Williams and Leroy Anderson.

But this performance could be considered merely a warm-up for the "very American" Fourth of July celebration in Memorial Park. In addition to the requisite Sousa marches and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," Wilson promises some big-band jazz, rock 'n' roll, as well as cinematic scores from John Williams. Because the celebration will be without fireworks this year, Wilson emphasized that "the orchestra will, as usual, be a major part of the day's festivities."

The Symphony will play at Ray Benavidez Park on July 12, and cap off their summer parks series on July 19 at Monument Valley Park in downtown Colorado Springs.

"We live in such a beautiful place," said Wilson, "and the evenings are a perfect time to enjoy great music."

Wilson promises such pieces as Bach's "Brandenburg" Concerto and Mozart's "Magic Flute" Overture, as well as themes from modern motion pictures, which have been added to the repertoire in an effort to reach out to new fans of all ages and walks of life.

-- Joe Kuzma



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