You could hear the sound of the rain hitting on the roof of the historic old Chautauqua auditorium - a National Historic Landmark, built in 1898 and known as one of the best acoustical venues in Colorado - over the finely-tuned sound of the Colorado Music Festival’s orchestra - as they undauntedly continued their performance. And not all the rain stayed outside the charming old structure. Singing in the rain might have been more appropriate music on stage that evening, but Gene Kelly was not in the audience. The audience, however, remained in rapt over the sound of the music, in spite of the downpour. Only a few instruments got wet. And at the intermission the new Chautauqua Lake, as the conductor labeled it, was quickly mopped up and the concert continued without missing a beat.

During the intermission, Michael Christie took a seat next to guest artist, violinist Leila Josefowicz, on center stage and interviewed her. It was a unique and refreshing opportunity to get a first hand glimpse into Leila’s personality and points of view about her music.

Unfortunately , we were not allowed to photograph or videotape Leila, but her performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto was sterling! We were informed that our request had not been processed in time for the Friday performance.

We were, however, allowed to capture the music of the orchestra on video. And, that night the orchestra put on a dazzling performance of Ligeti's Concert Romanesc and Dvorák's Symphony No. 5 .

Founded in 1976, the Colorado Music Festival is now under the direction of the talented and charming, 32-year old Michael Christie, who was appointed Music Director in 2000. The festival performs classical music during its summer season and attracts audiences of nearly 20,000 music lovers each season. The programming includes classical music, world music and works of 20th century composers.

The Colorado Music Festival, now in its 30th summer season, brings together exceptional musicians from around the world, who perform extraordinary classical music. As Giora Bernstein, the Colorado Music Festival’s founder and conductor, who returned during July to direct a performance, once remarked about the festival’s musicians, “They come prepared!.” Giora describes the Colorado Music festival as a being a group of “...engaged wonderful, serious musicians who want to play fine music and come here because they prefer to perform challenging works in an atmosphere conducive to artistic expression." Looking back, he said, "We were never generic and we were never mainstream. The program always bore the stamp of individuality."

At his young age, director Michael Christie has already experienced an exceptional career and has gained professional recognition on three continents. He is considered to be one of the most gifted conductors of his generation.

A graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance, his principal conducting mentors are Franz Welser-Möst and Robert Spano. He received his early instruction from Eiji Oue and Peter Jaffe

A widely sought after conductor, Michael Christie’s guest conducting engagements have spanned across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. His U.S. experience has already included conducting engagements with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Seattle, the Florida Philharmonic and the Minnesota Orchestra.

During the Colorado Music Festival’s off season, the ever popular Michael Christie conducts orchestras throughout the world. In Europe, he has directed the Swedish Radio Symphony, the Czech Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Symphony, the City of Birmingham Symphony, the NDR Hannover Orchestra, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, and the Bergen Philharmonic.

His busy schedule of this year’s upcoming engagements includes: the Phoenix Symphony, the RTE National Symphony in Dublin, Ireland, the St. Louis Symphony, the Taiwan Symphony, the Queensland Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, the Phoenix Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,
the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in Denmark.

The Colorado Music Festival’s 2006 season which began on June 25 comes to a close on August 5, but Michael Christie will return next year, when the Festival kicks off its 31st season.

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