Published: Aug. 24, 2020 By

Student and faculty member wearing face masksWith fall approaching and no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, many previously held hopes for the school year have had to change. It is because of this change though, and not in spite of it, that the administration and staff of the College of Music have been working tirelessly to curate and produce art that is both safe and uplifting while continuing a standard of excellence the college is known for.

What will fall look like for students?

CU Boulder will carefully monitor the health of its students and staff with consistent testing, a mandatory mask requirement and compulsory health training and questionnaires that must be filled out every time a student, faculty or staff member comes to campus. Classes will be conducted in a hybrid manner, allowing students to have in-person class time while also meeting remotely in order to minimize contact and facilitate online transitions should they become necessary. Practice rooms will not be open for teaching private lessons, although they will be available to sign out for individual practice, and lockers and instrument rentals will still be available. All the details about the College of Music’s fall plans can be found on the COVID-19 Resources page.

Campus-wide, masks will be mandatory both indoors and outdoors, and right-of-way plans will be in place to help keep the campus community safe. Visit the Protect Our Herd website for more information.

The show will go on

Though they will look and feel a lot different than a year ago, the college is still planning to present its first performances since March. Faculty Tuesdays kicks off next week with "Sounds, Not Silence: Piano Duets by Female Composers," featuring pianists Alejandro Cremaschi and Jéssica Pacheco. It showcases the world premiere of “Of Anemones and Migrations” by Wyoming composer Anne Guzzo and will be the first “pay-what-you-can” Faculty Tuesdays performance, giving audiences a chance to support the work of the College of Music. Find more information on the CU Presents website.

The Eklund Opera Program is also planning to produce a socially distanced version of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” that will be filmed and posted on the CU Presents website in an effort to model last year’s success with Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

“We’re so lucky that we chose this opera for this season, as most of the time there are only three people on stage,” Eklund Opera Program Director Leigh Holman explains. “This means that with careful planning and strict adherence to health and safety guidelines, we should be able to give the students a chance to perform these roles in much the same way they would have without the pandemic. If the performances are able to happen at the end of October, we’ll plan to have all of the cast recordings ready in time for the holiday season.”

Student ensembles also plan to put on a mix of recorded and live streamed performances throughout the semester, programming repertoire for small chamber and conducted ensembles and presenting their work on the CU Presents website as well. Finally, the traditional wrap to the fall semester, the Holiday Festival, will be presented as a video recording during the holiday season. Student recitals are also still being planned, although the number of performers and audience members will be strictly limited. To see a full list of all planned College of Music streamed performances, visit CU Presents Digital.

Even though fall Artist Series events have either been postponed or canceled, CU Presents will continue to focus much of its time and energy on producing the best performances it can in conjunction with the College of Music. The team will also highlight past performances online from the college and other performing arts programs on campus.

“We’re fortunate that as an organization we have so much recorded content,” remarks Joan McLean Braun, executive director of CU Presents. “Because of the wonderful work of both the staff and students here at the College of Music and CU Presents, we’re able to highlight previous performances while also creatively planning pandemic-friendly productions for the upcoming year.”

Like many other College of Music events, the internationally renowned Takács Quartet will be live streaming its performances, although these concerts will only be available to season subscribers or those who have purchased tickets through CU Presents. It’s an exciting season for the quartet, as violist Richard O’Neill makes his debut.

Even though it's not the end to the college's Centennial year that we had hoped for, the crown jewel of the year—the expanded Imig Music Building—will be open for use this semester. A grand opening is planned for some time after April 2021. It serves as a reminder that, despite the present difficulties, the strength of our community will stand as a testament to music making of the last 100 years—and the next 100 years to come.