CBMF’s Black + Beehthoven Series

Some months ago, or perhaps eons past, the world prepared to celebrate the 250th birthday of the greatest musician of the Western tradition. Despite the tumult that has since discomposed (pun intended) our macrocosm, Beethoven will still be passing beyond the quarter-millennium. And, his continued – and seemingly evermore relevant messages – should still find memorialization.

The Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF) had planned to take part this summer in the world-wide, Beethovenian-proportioned celebrations, but like most arts organizations we were forced to reconsider how a season of live performances might function in our new ecosystem. I am proud to announce that, through an agile and heroic effort of the staff and Board of Directors, the CBMF will be one of the very few organizations to offer performances to live audiences, and we’ll forge ahead with a reimagined celebration of Beethoven.

The formulations of our 2020 Season 2.0 coincided with the revived focus on our collective treatment of one another. Certainly, Beethoven’s espousal of those principles exclaimed in the final movement of his 9th Symphony – What the fashion strictly divided / Your spells bind again / All people become brothers – and his ardent belief in the egalitarianism of the French Revolution, is a message that we can all aspire to achieve.

In that vein, our reformulated Beethoven fete has aimed not only to celebrate the sublimity of the composer, but also to explore and introduce performers and composers of color in our series, Black + Beethoven. Each performance that features works by Beethoven will be juxtaposed with works by black composers new and old. For example, the tremendous Ivalas Quartet, themselves champions of diverse music, will share their electric renditions of Beethoven quartets alongside influential composers of color.

We hope that you’ll be able to share in our celebrations either in-person or virtually (we’re now a digital-native organization) as we share together Beethoven and Beyond, featuring diverse music of the world, from Beethoven to Mariachi to traditional Japanese and beyond. The world needs music more desperately than it has in some time, and the CBMF is honored to be able to provide some salve this summer and fall.

Erik Christian Peterson and Emily Ondracek-Peterson

Co-Artistic Directors, Crested Butte Music Festival