Formations Symphony

JEFFREY NYTCH    Symphony No. 1 (“Formations“)  WORLD PREMIERE

Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Butterman, Music Director

The Geological Society of America and the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra co-commissioned the Symphony No. 1, "Formations," in celebration of the GSA's 125th anniversary. This new symphonic work by composer Jeffrey Nytch, director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was made possible through generous support by ExxonMobil.

Nytch holds a geology degree from Franklin & Marshall College and counts geology as a passion second only to his musical career. His work in four movements is inspired by the impressive geology of the Rocky Mountain region.

Program Notes

Listen to the "Formations" Symphony in full below, recorded live by the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado campus on September 8, 2013:

1st movement - "Orogenies" or "mountain building," musically depicts the upheaval and birth of western North America’s crust, seen today in such places as Royal Gorge.


2nd movement - "Rush!" is a fast and furious exploration of human history in relation to the geology of the American West, particularly the gold rushes of the 19th century.

3rd movement - "Requiems" returns to a slower and quieter pace, harkening back to the formation of fossil fuels in ancient oceans and coastal swamps.

4th movement - "Majesties" is the climax of the piece, defined by the iconic formations of the modern Rocky Mountains.

Musical Geology Hike: Symphony in Stone

Sat., April 12, 2014, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra recently performed the world premiere of Jeffrey Nytch’s First Symphony, “Formations,” which draws inspiration from Colorado’s fascinating geology. Visit some of those rock formations – and meet the composer in person - with Open Space and Mountain Parks naturalist Dave Sutherland, who will lead you on a journey into Boulder’s past with wild stories that include dinosaurs, glaciers, vast swamps, oceans and ancient mountain ranges now vanished into the dust of time. As an added bonus, we’ll play some excerpts from the orchestral work. Meet on the north side of NCAR at the Walter Orr Roberts trailhead. 2.5 miles, 400 feet elevation gain. Details

Listen to Jeff's interview on Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters, Dec. 23, 2013

Read an interview with Jeff Nytch, "Composer of Deep Time," published in Nature Magazine

Learn more about the "Formations" Symphony in these behind-the-scenes video blogs:
1st movement - "Orogenies" 
2nd movement - "Rush!"
3rd movement - "Requiems"
4th movement - "Majesties"

Audio interview with Jeffrey Nytch by Jim Fricker:

Audio interview with Michael Butterman on KGNU's 'A Classic Monday' by Ron Nadel:

Co-commissioned by:
GSA logo

Sponsored by:
ExxonMobil logo

This work was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of New Music USA.

Info on the Consortium Project


Saturday, September 7, 2013—7:30 PM
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
St. Luke’s Methodist Church, Highlands Ranch

Sunday, September 8, 2013—7 PM
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Macky Auditorium, CU Campus, Boulder

Tuesday, October 29, 2013—7 PM
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
History Colorado Center, Denver

Friday, April 4, 2014—7:30 PM
Denver Philharmonic Orchestra
KPOF Hall, Denver

Saturday, November 8, 2014—7:30 PM
Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra
Wagner Noël Performing Arts, Midland, TX

Others to be Announced

Formations Artwork

Original artwork by iconic Boulder artist
Steve Lowtwait
depicting the
four movements of the
"Formations" Symphony.

Jeffrey Nytch, composer


Jeffrey Nytch, composer

Jeffrey Nytch has built a diverse career as a composer, teacher, performer, arts administrator, and consultant. He has also run a small business, co-founded a non-profit service organization in Houston, performed a wide range of repertoire as a vocalist, and served five years as Managing Director of The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, one of the nation’s premiere new music ensembles. In 2009 he joined the faculty of The University of Colorado-Boulder, where he serves as Director of The Entrepreneurship Center for Music. He earned his Bachelors degree from Franklin & Marshall College and Masters and Doctoral degrees from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Since then, his compositions have been performed throughout the United States and Europe by many major artists, and he has released several recordings on the MMC and Koch International Labels. In addition to teaching, composing and performing, he maintains a career as an organizational and programming consultant to music schools and arts groups.