The Boulder Phil is honored to be one of only four orchestras selected to participate in the 2017 SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras, providing a national platform to celebrate creativity and build community in our capital’s premier concert venue.

The SHIFT Festival showcases how America’s orchestras have shifted their visions to reflect the music and programming that is unique to their own communities. We couldn’t be more honored to share our vision with other orchestras across the country.”
~Michael Butterman, Music Director

SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras is a weeklong spotlight on North American orchestras of all sizes that celebrates the vitality, unique identity, and extraordinary artistry of orchestras by creating an immersive festival experience in the nation’s capital. Two premier presenting organizations, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts, are collaborating to present the inaugural SHIFT Festival from March 27-April 1, 2017.

In addition to compelling and diverse full-orchestra concert programs performed in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, each of the four orchestras will engage in a mini-residency, interacting with the surrounding community through educational and outreach activities, symposia, and community events in venues throughout Washington, DC. SHIFT provides a national platform for today’s most innovative orchestras to share a sampling of their most creative and provocative work that embodies the individual orchestra’s identity, community, and artistic vision. Main stage concerts are ticketed at $25, alongside a combination of ticketed and free events throughout the city.

The Boulder Philharmonic thanks the following for making this project possible: The Mellon Foundation, Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau, The National Endowment for the Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington Performing Arts, Boulder Office of Arts & Culture, Boulder City Manager’s Office, and an anonymous donor.


“Nature & Music”
Tuesday, March 28, 8 PM
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington, D.C.

This program was also presented twice in Boulder on Saturday, March 25 at Macky Auditorium

Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Butterman, conductor

LIAS  All the Songs that Nature Sings
World Premiere with choreographed visuals of Rocky Mountain National Park, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service 
MIDKIFF  Mandolin Concerto, From the Blue Ridge
   Jeff Midkiff, mandolin
HEITZEG  Ghosts of the Grasslands
COPLAND Appalachian Spring
   with Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance

Your Boulder Phil encores nature-themed favorites from recent seasons along with a world premiere by “composer-adventurer” Stephen Lias inspired by our own Rocky Mountain National Park and choreographed to nature photography from the park. Midkiff’s mandolin concerto evokes the Appalachians with hues of bluegrass and Americana. Prairie dogs star in the cinematic Ghosts of the Grasslands, and Copland’s iconic Appalachian Spring is brought to life in unforgettable fashion by Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance.

Boulder Phil musicians perform during the National Cherry Blossom Festival on March 29, 2017
Music: Live recording of All the Songs that Nature Sings by Stephen Lias, given its East Coast premiere by the Boulder Phil at the Kennedy Center

Videos produced by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts


Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Tuesday, March 28, 6 PM
Free and open to the public
The Wind Ensemble and Symphony Strings from the Boulder-based youth orchestra perform on the Millennium Stage, preceding the Boulder Philharmonic’s 8 PM performance in the Concert Hall. Repertoire includes Suite from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach by J.S. Bach, conducted by Dr. Erik Johnson, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for String Orchestra, conducted by Andres Lopera.

Other residency activities include:
Nature hikes in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park on Monday, March 27 led by naturalist Dave Sutherland from Boulder’s Open Space & Mountain Parks, “stroll-to” outdoor performances by Boulder Phil ensembles on Wednesday, March 29 (10 AM to noon) around the Tidal Basin during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and a post-concert talk with Michael Butterman, Jeff Midkiff, Stephen Lias, and Nancy Smith (of Frequent Flyers). We will be hosting a post-concert reception after the March 28 concert.

Visit the SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras website



The Boulder Phil is creating a new model for American orchestras through dynamic performances that reflect our community’s own values, creativity, and sense of place. As one of Colorado’s premier professional ensembles, we are bucking national trends with growing, enthusiastic audiences under the vision and leadership of Music Director Michael Butterman. As evidence of the orchestra’s growing artistic reputation, we are honored by our recent selection as one of four ensembles set to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington at the inaugural SHIFT festival in 2017. The artistic quality, innovative programming and collaborative depth that are the hallmarks of a Boulder Phil season position us as a real cultural gem in Colorado’s crown!