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23-24 Season: “Then & Now:” 100 Years of Exceptional Music

October 7, 2023 @ 7:30 pm May 11, 2024 @ 9:30 pm MDT

Now and then, an exceptional idea takes flight and develops into a lasting benefit for the common good.

Editha Todd Leonard, circa 1930
Editha Todd Leonard, circa 1930

Just such a moment occurred in 1923 when a visionary young violinist, Miss Editha Todd (Leonard), established the Fort Collins Community Orchestra. Under her baton, this foundling music organization eventually grew into the Fort Collins Symphony.

Through the dedication of its musicians, board, staff, auxiliaries, and audiences, this orchestra has inspired, engaged, educated, served, and enriched the greater Northern Colorado community for 100 years.

In 1948, Will Schwartz – then a young violinist fresh out of New York City’s prestigious Juilliard School–accepted a music professorship at Colorado State University. In 1949, Maestro Schwartz became music director for the evolving Fort Collins Civic Symphony Orchestra. His talent and reputation quickly grew the modest ensemble.

Over the course of 50 years, he recruited extraordinary talent, inspired a loyal following, and cemented respect for the orchestra–a legacy that remains in place today.

Will Schwartz
Will Schwartz

As the FCS matured, additional support was needed to manage its professional growth. In 1950, the Fort Collins Symphonic Society (now the Fort Collins Symphony Association), incorporated to provide program guidance, personnel management, and fiscal oversight for the organization.

The Women’s Guild (now the Friends of the Symphony) was established in 1963 to create special events and coordinate fundraising activities.

Maestro Fusao Kajima, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and University of Michigan, served briefly for two seasons as the Symphony’s music director and conductor.

Then in 2003, continuing the town-and-gown alliance, Colorado State University’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance and the FCS announced the joint hiring of award-winning conductor Wes Kenney.

Until his retirement from CSU in 2023, he served as music director for the CSU Symphony Orchestra, CSU Chamber Orchestra, and taught the graduate conducting course. Maestro Kenney continues to serve the FCS as music director and conductor. In addition, he frequently appears as a guest conductor for orchestras around the world.

Wes Kenney
Wes Kenney

Now, from its amateur beginnings to the professional orchestra you enjoy today, the Fort Collins Symphony is one of the premier cultural organizations of the greater Northern Colorado region. With over 55 professional musicians, programming that offers a comprehensive range of music, numerous community service events, and a busy educational outreach program, your orchestra is poised to build upon its tradition of excellence for years to come.

Please join your Fort Collins Symphony to experience a season filled with music both familiar and new; discover a wealth of extraordinary composers; explore educational opportunities for children, families, and the young-at-heart; seek out community-wide events; and celebrate our centennial anniversary.

Then & Now…

Your Fort Collins Symphony: always exceptional!

Brilliant Beethoven

Saturday, October 7, 2023, at 7:30 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with Beethoven’s brilliant Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy.”

Then & Now SC1: Brilliant Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No 9, “Ode to Joy,” with the Larimer Chorale
William Grant Still – Miniature Overture
Ottorino Respighi – Ancient Airs & Dances No 2

Our centennial season opens with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy,” one of the most uplifting and inspiring works ever written. The Larimer Chorale will join us to sing this beloved masterpiece, which celebrates the human spirit and the power of music to unite us all.

The concert also features William Grant Still’s Miniature Overture and Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs & Dances No. 2, two works that evoke the beauty and mystery of the past. Together, these pieces provide a perfect introduction to Beethoven’s masterpiece, celebrating the best of what it means to be human.

Don’t miss this chance to experience the brilliance of Beethoven with the Fort Collins Symphony.

Spellbound Halloween

Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 7:00 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Then & Now: Halloween Concert Spellbound

Join us (if you dare) for this magical and spooktacular evening of live classical and popular Halloween favorites. From “Ghostbusters” and the “Monster Mash” to the haunting strains of “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Danse Macabre,” this concert promises a ghoulishly good night of music.

This concert also features: In the Hall of the Mountain King, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie Fantastique, This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more!

Costumes are encouraged – just remember to leave any weapons at home!

Rodrigo Reverie

Saturday, November 4, 023, at 7:30 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with a guitar concerto by one of Spain’s greatest composers.

Then & Now: SC2 Rodrigo Reverie

Joaquín Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez, with guitarist Jason Vieaux
Astor Piazzolla – Sinfonietta
Joseph Haydn – Symphony No 100 “Military”

Our centennial season continues with Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, one of the most important guitar concertos ever written. Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux will perform the concerto with your Fort Collins Symphony. Astor Piazzolla’s Sinfonietta echoes the sounds of Argentinian Tango blended with classical music, and Joseph Haydn’s energetic Symphony No. 100, the “Military,” celebrates 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins.

Don’t miss this chance to revel in the sounds of the Spanish guitar with your Fort Collins Symphony.

Peter & the Wolf – Family Concert

Sunday, January 21, 2024, at 4:00 PM
Timberline Church Auditorium

Then & Now Peter and the Wolf family concert

Sponsored by the Friends of the Symphony

Please join us for a delightful one-hour family-friendly concert for the young and the young at heart!

Russell Peck – The Thrill of the Orchestra
Sergei Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf, with the Canyon Concert Ballet

Dvořák Discovery

Saturday, February 3, 2024, at 7:30 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with Dvořák’s beloved Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

Then & Now: SC3 Dvorak Discovery

Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No 9, “From the New World”
Antonín Dvořák – Violin Concerto, with violinist Yumi Hwang-Williams
Florence Price – Ethiopia’s Shadow in America

Discover the roots of American classical music with “Dvořák Discovery.” Dvorak’s beloved 9th Symphony, “From the New World” is full of uplifting melodies and beautiful harmonies. Because of its unique structure and influences from American folk music, it is considered one of the most important American symphonies. Then, violinist and Colorado Symphony Concertmaster Yumi Hwang-Williams will take you on an exhilarating journey with Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. Finally, capture this opportunity to hear Florence Price’s Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, a work that traces the journey of slaves brought to the United States and stands as an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Don’t miss this chance to discover the sounds of America with your Fort Collins Symphony.

Magnificent Mozart

Saturday, March 2, 2024, at 7:30 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with Mozart’s masterpiece, the magnificent Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.”

Then & Now SC4 Magnificent Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphony No 41, “Jupiter”
Arturo Márquez – Dánzon No 4
Erik Satie/Claude Debussy – Gymnopédie No 3
Carlos Surinach – Ritmo Jondo

Experience the divine spark of genius that shines brightly and beautifully in this 18th century pinnacle composition: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.” This masterpiece was Mozart’s final symphony and is filled with genius, expression, and creativity. The concert also features Arturo Márquez’s animated Dánzon No. 4, Erik Satie and Claude Debussy’s peaceful Gymnopédie No. 3, and Carlos Surinach’s fiery flamenco for orchestra: Ritmo Jondo.

Don’t miss this chance to bask in Mozart’s magnificence with your Fort Collins Symphony.

Then & Now: Reel Music – Film Music Concert

Friday, April 12, 2024, at 7:00 PM
Timberline Church Auditorium

Spend an evening immersed in the memorable music of Hollywood’s Silver Screen.

Then & Now Reel Music, film pops concert

From the iconic themes of 007 James Bond to the epic scores of Titanic, The Avengers, and Rocky, join us for a journey through the music that has defined generations.

This concert also features music from Dances with Wolves, The Sound of Music, Chariots of Fire, The Pink Panther, War Horse, The Lion King, and more!

Resplendent Rachmaninoff

Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 7:30 PM
Lincoln Center Main Stage

Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with Rachmaninoff’s captivating Piano Concerto No. 2.

Then & Now: SC5 Resplendent Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No 2, with pianist Zhu Wang
Béla Bartók – Dance Suite
Johannes Brahms – Symphony No 2

Our season closes with music that has captivated audiences in concert halls, movie theaters, and figure skating arenas for 123 years: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by pianist soloist Zhu Wang and your Fort Collins Symphony. Béla Bartók’s Dance Suite continues the uplifting energy of the evening with a vibrant suite of dances pulsating with rhythm and melody. The concert concludes with the serenity of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, a tranquil masterpiece that whispers with songs of nature.

Don’t miss this chance to celebrate a century of music with your Fort Collins Symphony.

Season Timeline:

Subscriber Renewals: May 13 – June 13

New Subscriptions available: beginning June 15

Single Tickets on-sal: beginning June 22nd