The Denver Business Journal has published an extensive interview with Brett Mitchell about his recent appointment as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony:
DBJ: Why did you decide to join the Colorado Symphony? What was attractive about the orchestra that led you to take this position? Was it the talent of the musicians? The management? The community? All of the above?
Mitchell: There are so many reasons this marriage between the Colorado Symphony and me seems to be such a perfect fit, but the biggest is that our respective visions for the future of orchestras are one and the same. Once I read the mission statement, I knew that I had finally found my ideal match, as we've both spent decades crafting programs that feature that wonderful, compelling blend of music, "...from the best of the past to the edge of the future."
Knowing that we're starting on the same page, pursuing the same goals, and sharing a common purpose gives us a huge advantage.
In my experience, the most reliable predictor of a successful relationship between an orchestra and a conductor is the chemistry they have in rehearsal and performance. Not every conductor gels with every orchestra, no matter how great each might be. That's why it was so special when I stood in front of the Colorado Symphony musicians for the first time, because it was instantly clear that there was something special going on, right from the first downbeat.
Getting to work with these amazing musicians week in, week out will be an absolute treat, and I'm so looking forward to developing and deepening our relationship over the coming seasons.
I should also say, as a Seattle native, that coming back out west after living for 15 years in the Midwest and Texas will be a real pleasure. I've loved everywhere I've lived, but coming to a city that feels more like what I grew up with is such a wonderful feeling.
My wife Angela and I are so looking forward to making our home there, and taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities to hike, bike, and spend time exploring all the amazing outdoor opportunities living in Denver will afford us.
DBJ: The Colorado Symphony has tried very hard to broaden the traditional audience for classical music in recent years with some success and, with much broader corporate support than it had before, is beginning the year with a surplus for the first time in it's history. What do you make of those efforts?
Mitchell: I couldn't be more pleased with where the Colorado Symphony is in terms of both its audience development and its fiscal situation. My mom worked in health care finance for her entire career, so I definitely understand how important a sound fiscal outlook is to the health of any organization, whether in the arts or otherwise. The Colorado Symphony has taken enormous steps toward ensuring it's on the firmest financial footing possible, and I'm looking forward to contributing to those continuing efforts.
In terms of reaching out to as broad an audience as possible, the Colorado Symphony really is an industry leader, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the diverse array of performances we offer each season. I couldn't be prouder to help lead an organization that makes such a consistent, concerted effort to reach as many of our friends and neighbors as possible, both longtime classical series subscribers and first-time single ticket buyers.
DBJ: What are some of the challenges you think lie ahead for the orchestra?
Mitchell: Like every arts organization, we're going to keep dreaming up deeper, more meaningful ways to engage younger audiences. There's a ton of competition out there in 2016 for the public's attention, with streaming video and instant access to entertainment and social media around every corner. We're proactive about reaching new audiences at the Colorado Symphony, and that means creating innovative, cutting-edge, compelling programs that will draw both traditional and new audiences to join us in Boettcher or on the road.
DBJ: Tell me why you think it's important for Denver and other cities to have a professional orchestra.
Mitchell: With each passing year, there seems to be more and more that fills our days and fewer opportunities to take time for ourselves. I certainly don't claim to know the meaning of life, but I do know that my life is enriched when I surround myself with beauty, and that's exactly what a professional orchestra brings to its community.
The chance to slow down, to unplug, to take in a brilliant piece of music, to appreciate beauty for beauty's sake, to remember that we're all a part of something larger than ourselves — all these things lead to happier, more fulfilled, and more engaged citizens, and are some of the many reasons it's crucial for any strong community to have an equally strong orchestra.
To read the complete article, please click here.