Music in the Mountains
In 1987, Maestro Mischa Semanitzky dreamed of a classical music festival in Durango and set his vision in motion. Through support from Fort Lewis College, The Durango Herald, Durango Mountain Resort, Morley Ballantine and Bank of Colorado, the original concert season was born. The first season included five concerts and featured 11 musicians, all of whom were members of the Dallas Fine Arts Chamber Players, a group also founded by Semanitzky. In response to the growing interest of local and regional audiences, Music in the Mountains has steadily broadened its programs for more than 30 years – increasing the number of concerts and venues. Conceived originally as a fully integrated summer music festival, a chamber music series was introduced in 1997, under the direction of Gregory Hustis, principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Now more than 100 world-renowned musicians entertain audiences of all ages during the three week festival. Early on, Maestro Semanitzky recognized the value of including children and families in the summer Festival and subsequently incorporated a family concert. This program has become one of the highlights of our season and is held at Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Inspired to create a new generation of music makers and music lovers, the Conservatory Music in the Mountains was initiated in 1997. Arkady Fomin, violinist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, launched the summer string and piano instruction program in conjunction with the New Conservatory of Dallas. In 1999, further recognizing the importance of year-round exposure to classical music, the Music in the Mountains Goes to School program was created. This exceptional program has grown to reach more than 4,000 elementary, middle and high school students throughout the Four Corners region. Surrounded by the majestic beauty of the San Juan Mountains, our exceptional performances of orchestra and chamber music are held at multiple venues including the Festival Tent at Purgatory Resort and at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College and Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College. In 2007, Maestro Mischa Semanitzky, retired as the Festival Artistic Director and Conductor for Music in the Mountains. In 2008, new director Gregory Hustis, Festival Artistic Director, and Guillermo Figueroa, Music Director & Conductor, began a new era of leadership for Music in the Mountains.