Celebrating 11 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

RIBBONS OF LIFE: Music of Creeks and Rivers
Thursday, April 18, 6 – 7:30 pm

At its April concert, the Boulder Philharmonic will celebrate spring in a joyous selection of romantic music. Get a jump start on spring and the concert on an easy musical walk with naturalist Dave Sutherland along Coal Creek in Lafayette, and explore how rivers have inspired classical music composers for centuries. We’ll enjoy the water’s gentle sounds, and learn how this meandering green ribbon shapes the lives of creatures great and small along its banks – beavers, meadowlarks, a heron rookery, and more. And we’ll sample many excerpts of music inspired by water.

Space is limited to 20 participants. Please email Dave Sutherland to sign up.

SYMPHONY IN STONE: Nature and Music
Saturday April 20, 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.

These free programs are sponsored by the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boulder County Audubon Society.  Please email Dave Sutherland to sign up.

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.