One of the great perks of being a musician is the opportunity to take residence in stunning locales during the summer season. While studying at conservatory and directly after as an early-career artist (wait – I’m still an early-career musician!), the summer season provided an outlet to study and perform while concurrently escaping the hyper-stressful metropolitan conservatory for literally greener pastures. Of course, musicians fleeing to nature is not a recent development; notably, Mahler’s yearly mountain retreats were his Euterpe, providing him both the seclusion and inspiration to compose, and Beethoven often found respite in the hills surrounding Vienna (see: 6th Symphony).
Of the many formative experiences of my musical development, few are as fondly remembered as those opportunities to perform alongside professional musicians during the summer months. I still feel the unified weight of the orchestra as I performed Brahms’ First Symphony with the Grant Park Symphony as a wide-eyed fifteen-year-old. In that moment, I knew more than ever that I wanted to become a professional musician. Further opportunities to perform alongside professionals arose; as a graduate student, I pitted time spent at school against performances with notable professional orchestras. Once again, these formative opportunities better prepared me for life as a professional.
As new Co-Artistic Directors of Crested Butte Music Festival, Emily and I wanted to introduce a program that would pay forward those same formative developmental experiences that we enjoyed as early-career musicians. The result, CBMF’s new Orchestral Fellows Program, invites the highest-level conservatory students and early-career musicians, through a rigorous screening process, to make music alongside CBMF’s stars of the orchestral world. These young musicians are oftentimes at the peak of their technical prowess as they prepare for orchestral auditions or life as a touring musician, and they’ll inject their infectious energy into already exhilarating orchestral performances at CBMF. Early returns are promising, and we can’t wait to share with you what promises to be a virtuosic and high-voltage ensemble.
This new orchestral program is modeled after the wildly successful CBMF Opera Studio, which received this fall over 550 applications for the thirteen spots available to study and perform in Crested Butte this upcoming summer. We hope to infuse that same interest in the Orchestral Fellows program as it develops over upcoming seasons. Not only will the Orchestral Fellows be music-making at the highest level, but they’ll also be following in Beethoven’s and Mahler’s footsteps as they rejuvenate in Crested Butte’s singularly restorative environment.
Emily and I are proud to be expanding CBMF’s educational offerings; these programs now range from the very young (CBMF’s Kids Bluegrass Camp) to the early-career musician (Orchestral Fellows Program) to adults (Crested Butte Chamber Music Intensive). And, these are but a few of the opportunities provided by CBMF to expand one’s knowledge base; the extensive list of educational programs that can be found on CBMF’s website is a testament to the Festival’s commitment to being a leader in providing educational opportunities for a wide and diverse contingent. We hope you’ll participate in these educational offerings, whether as a participant or as an audience member at one of our orchestral concerts.
See you this summer!
Dr. Erik Christian Peterson