Colorado Music Festival 
Announces 5-Year Contract Renewal for 
Music Director Peter Oundjian

Peter Oundjian and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra | Photo: Geremy Kornreich

BOULDER, CO: July 1, 2024 – The Colorado Music Festival (CMF) announces the five-year contract renewal of Music Director Peter Oundjian, whose tenure began in 2019 and will now run through the 2029 summer season. The Festival takes place each summer at the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder, CO, and since Oundjian’s arrival, it has caught the attention of critics and audiences around the world with inventive programming and world renowned guest artists appearing at CMF for the first time. Over the past five years, CMF has presented eight world premieres (six of them commissioned or co-commissioned by CMF) as well as the work of dozens of living composers―offered alongside classic repertoire, from Mozart to Rachmaninoff to Bruckner, and in concerts devoted to new music. Oundjian weathered the pandemic in 2020, which was to be his first year of programming; instead, CMF pivoted to a virtual festival involving many of the artists who had planned to perform in Boulder that summer. CMF returned to live performances in 2021, and has been filling the historic Chautauqua Auditorium ever since with avid fans and supporters.

“It has been rewarding to see this Festival entering its next chapter under Peter’s leadership,” said Elizabeth McGuire, CMF Executive Director. “His enthusiasm for making music is infectious, and his dedication to exploring and commissioning new music has made a huge impact on the Festival and the industry.”

Over the course of Oundjian’s five-year tenure, CMF has commissioned or co-commissioned world premieres from Timo Andres, Gabriela Lena Frank (for summer 2024); Hannah Lash, Joel Thompson, Joan Tower, and Wang Jie; it has also presented world premieres by Adolphus Hailstork and Aaron Jay Kernis and the first preview performance of “The Elements,” a five-movement work written for Joshua Bell by Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer, Jessie Montgomery and Kevin Puts. Oundjian welcomed John Adams and John Corigliano as composers in residence and Joshua Bell, Augustin Hadelich and the Takács Quartet as artists-in-residence.

“Over the past five years, I have fallen in love with Colorado,” said Oundjian, “and it has been a real inspiration to work with the wonderful team here at CMF.  Everyone is ready and willing to try new things and find ways to delight our audiences not only with the great masterpieces of the repertoire, but also with new commissions and recently composed music that is accessible and compelling, and keeps them coming back for more.  There are more commissions and some surprises in the years to come, so stay tuned!”

Over the last five years, Oundjian has brought some of the world’s brightest stars and most in-demand soloists and ensembles to the CMF stage for the first time, including: pianists Timo Andres, Jeremy Denk, Simone Dinnerstein, Stewart Goodyear, Olga Kern, Jan Lisiecki and Conrad Tao; violinists Joshua Bell, Randall Goosby and Tessa Lark; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; clarinetist Anthony McGill; saxophonists Steven Banks and Timothy McAllister; and percussionist Ji Su Jung.  To weave the chamber music repertoire into each summer’s offerings, Oundjian established the Robert Mann Chamber Music Series, which presents several concerts each summer performed by Festival Orchestra musicians and by guest ensembles like the Attacca Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Danish String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, JACK Quartet and Takács String Quartet.

As Music Director, Oundjian conducts the world-class Colorado Music Festival orchestra, which includes dozens of principal players from other orchestras around the country and beyond. Oundjian is also involved in the Festival Fellows Program, which brings aspiring professional musicians to CMF, providing them with private instruction from Oundjian; access to world-class guest artist mentors and the Festival’s organizational leaders; and performance experience within the Festival orchestra and chamber music settings.

This summer’s Colorado Music Festival begins on July 5 with Alisa Weilerstein joining the orchestra for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.  A full calendar for the 2024 Festival can be found HERE

About Peter Oundjian

A dynamic presence in the conducting world, Peter Oundjian is renowned for his vibrant collaborative spirit and engaging musicality. His musical career spans five decades, beginning as a solo violinist and first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet, followed by an international conducting career leading preeminent orchestras in many of the world’s major musical centers. 

He is currently Principal Conductor of the Colorado Symphony and Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival (CMF), where he has continued to program and conduct concerts that delight audiences with beloved masterpieces alongside music written by living composers. Over the course of his 14-year tenure as Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which concluded in 2018, he reinvigorated the orchestra with acclaimed innovative programming, artistic collaborations, extensive audience growth, national and international tours and several outstanding recordings, including Vaughan Williams’ Orchestral Works, which garnered a Grammy nomination and a Juno award. Under his leadership, the Symphony underwent a transformation that significantly strengthened its presence in the world.

Oundjian has been a visiting professor at Yale University’s School of Music since 1981.

About the Colorado Music Festival

Founded in 1976, the ​Colorado Music Festival (CMF)​ presents a summer season of classical music concerts performed by professional musicians from around the world at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium  in Boulder. Guest artists from Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S. join more than 100 all-star musicians, who comprise the CMF Orchestra, in performances that inspire and engage concertgoers of all ages. Under the music direction of Peter Oundjian, the CMF thrills audiences of more than 20,000 each season with programming that embraces the most beloved classical music repertoire, while integrating world music and the works of exciting modern composers. For more information about CMF, or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Chautauqua box office at 303-440-7666.