The Colorado Symphony regroups with extra spring shows and a promise to stick around

Categories: Classical Music

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The new heads of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra -- returning CEO/President Jim Copenhaver and returning board co-chairs Mary Rossick Kern and Jerome Kern -- want to prove that the CSO will be all right. After reducing the symphony's October and November shows by half to help solve a cash-flow problem (the musicians also saw their pay cut in half during that same period), the CSO is now adding six shows for early next year, including a performance of never-published music by George Gershwin in May.

Two of these will replace already scheduled programming: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's Romeo and Juliet will replace a "Litton on Piano and Pulcinella" concert on March 31; and Inside the Score: Shuffle, which discusses the connection between classical and popular music, will replace a Tchaikovsky event on April 27. No other concerts will be cancelled.

The new dates:

Valentine Classics - Masterworks Series
Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Beethoven's Eroica -Masterworks Series
Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. (additional date)
Scott O'Neil, resident conductor
Hayden: Symphony No. 22 in E-flat major, "The Philosopher"
Kodaly: Dances of Galánta
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (Op. 55), "Eroica"

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's Romeo and Juliet - Masterworks Series
Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Mozart: Ballet Music from Idomeneo
Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet

Shuffle - Inside the Score Series
Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

"Here to Stay: The Gershwin Concert Experience"
Friday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.


The new concerts show that the orchestra is still a going concern, says Copenhaver, while noting that "it's a chance to make more money." While the CSO isn't out of the financial woods, eliminating four to five staff positions (either by laying off staffers or just not filling existing openings) has done a lot to help the organization, he adds.

The musicians took a 50 percent pay cut for October and November, but will be back to their usual salaries come December. And those regular salaries doesn't seem so bad when you consider that the October and November shows were nearly cut altogether, Copenhaver says.

The CSO is still working hard on raising money. Jerome Kern and Copenhaver have visited many major corporations and large contributors in an attempt to convince them that the CSO is here to stay and worth their investment. "People were unwilling to give and we had to reassure them that we're not going away," Copenhaver says. But now, "we are confident we can do it."

Copenhaver says he'd love to see more people write the CSO a check -- or just attend a show. "Buy a ticket and come to a concert," he says. "That's the best thing they can do."

Planning has already started for the summer 2012 and 2012-2013 seasons -- both programming and finances. "We're going to come out this fiscal year with a balanced budget," Copenhaver promises.

For a synopsis of what's gone down during the 2011-2012 season so far, see this Backbeat post.

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