Celebrating 12 Years of Musical Hikes with David Sutherland

In 2013, the Boulder Philharmonic’s concert season featured the theme “Nature in Music.” Kevin Shuck, the Executive Director at the tinme, reached out to Dave to create a series of “Nature in Music” hikes on Boulder Open Space lands as pre-concert experiences to draw connections between works on the concert program and Boulder’s natural environment. The very first program highlighted Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Articus, a concerto for birds and orchestra that used recordings of birds from marshes near the Arctic Circle in place of a solo instrument. Armed with portable speakers and an iPod, Dave took groups of nature enthusiasts and concert-goers on a birdwatching walk at a local marsh, playing selections of Rautavaara’s music and comparing it to the sounds of birds in a Colorado wetland.

Other hikes followed. The performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony (#6) and Smetana’s Moldau were featured in a hike along Boulder Creek to explore how rivers influenced composers. The premiere of Jeffrey Nytch’s symphony Formations was celebrated with a geology hike along the NCAR trail, co-presented by Dave and the composure, to sample the music while delving into the geology of the Front Range.

Over the last decade, Dave’s musical nature hikes have explored insects. birds, stars, rocks, rivers and lakes, and landscapes as sources for musical inspiration and helped bring the Boulder Philharmonic’s performances to a wider audience.

Upcoming Musical Hikes

SYMPHONY IN STONE: Geology and Music
Saturday, August 24, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
Composer Jeffrey Nytch will join us!

In 2013, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra performed the world premiere of Jeffrey Nytch’s First Symphony, “Formations,” which draws inspiration from Colorado’s fascinating rocks and geology. Visit some of those rock formations – and meet the composer in person – with community naturalist Dave Sutherland, who will lead you on a journey into Boulder’s past with wild stories of dinosaurs, glaciers, vast swamps, ncient oceans and amountain ranges now vanished into the dust of time. We’ll play excerpts from the orchestral work on portable speakers during the hike, with commentary from the composer. Meet on the north side of NCAR at the Walter Orr Roberts trailhead. 2.5 miles, 400 feet elevation gain. Limit 20.

Email to sign up.

This field trip is jointly sponsored by Boulder County Audubon Society, and the Boulder Philharmonic as part of the Musical Nature Hikes program.

Musical Hikes with David Sutherland

The Boulder Phil and the Boulder County Audubon Society partner to connect community members with the natural world through music, as Interpretive Naturalist Dave Sutherland leads music-themed hikes in Boulder’s beautiful outdoor spaces. The Audubon Society is one of the world’s oldest non-profit environmental organizations dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitat. These hikes are free and open to the public.

Per the CDC and State of Colorado and Boulder County Public Health, public health orders are now lifted. Face coverings are no longer required, but for the safety of all participants, Covid vaccinations are strongly encouraged.