Feature: "From Beethoven to Prince: New Colorado Symphony director hooked on classics"

Conductor Brett Mitchell is the new Colorado Symphony music director. (Photo by Peter Lockley)

Conductor Brett Mitchell is the new Colorado Symphony music director. (Photo by Peter Lockley)

KUNC Public Radio has published a feature about Brett Mitchell's upcoming tenure as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony:

At 37, Brett Mitchell is one of the youngest music directors in the Colorado Symphony’s history. He’s tied with Marin Alsop, who led the symphony from 1993 to 2005. But Mitchell is walking into a better situation than Alsop: the symphony’s first budget surplus in its 28 years.

So there’s a little pressure to make his upcoming debut season stand out.

Mitchell’s response: Challenge accepted.

“I think we’re in the business of taking risks,” said Mitchell, who is currently wrapping up contracts as the associate conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.

That’s why for the Colorado Symphony’s 2017-2018 season Mitchell’s youth is perhaps showing.... For his season debut in September, he’s pairing Beethoven’s classic Symphony No. 5 with works by two living composers, including composer-by-day/electronica-artist-by-night Mason Bates.

“Part of the way that we keep audiences and donors and sponsors engaged is by showing them that we’re not becoming ossified,” he said. “We’re not set in our ways. We are taking risks.”

Interview Highlights With Brett Mitchell

On His Non-traditional Musical Inspirations

“I started playing piano when I was a kid but I wasn’t playing Mozart, I was playing Billy Joel and Barry Manilow and Elton John and Simon & Garfunkel and Beatles and all of that. Because what I grew up listening to -- at least up until high school -- was the pop music that my parents listened to (…) So I tend to be, I think more than your average conductor let’s say, I tend to be a little more understanding of people for whom going to an orchestral concert is a foreign experience. It can feel very daunting. It can feel very intimidating.”

On The Next Big Thing For Symphonies

“I think you’re going to start seeing more kind of mixed media performances like (film and video game soundtracks) without so much emphasis on: come to the concert hall, sit down, conductor comes out, bows, turns around, conducts the orchestra, turns back around, bows, leaves, everybody gets up and leaves the theater. I think it’s going to become a much more interactive experience, and I for one look forward to that.”

To read the complete feature and listen to Mr. Mitchell's interview, please click here.