Next year's Discovery Concerts will be held on January 12 and 13, 2017.

Each year, the Boulder Phil offers a very special concert in the community designed to introduce students ages 8‐12 to the symphony orchestra and our great classical music heritage.

The 50‐minute concert is performed at the historic Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. We provide curriculum support materials to help teachers prepare their students for the concert, exploring composers and themes that will be featured in the performance. Additionally, teachers can arrange for a Boulder Phil chamber ensemble or conductor to visit their school for an “up close and personal” presentation that will further engage students before the performance.

2016 Curriculum Guide

2016 Listening Guide

What teachers are saying about Discovery Concerts…

“Mr. Butterman's energetic spirit and great sense of humor really make the concert come alive. I appreciated it when musicians brought a few of the instruments to the front so the kids could hear them separately.”

“Mr. Butterman's visit to our school had a huge impact on our students. Children who have never attended a classical concert felt a sense of familiarity and accessibility that they would not have felt without his visit. In addition, personalizing the concert experience through student suggestions for the 'story' being told, having the soloists come to the front and interact/improvise and reveal their personalities, and the selection and duration of the pieces chosen were wonderful touches.”

“Incredible interaction of the conductor with the children. I also loved the improvisation element. Very successful!”


Thursday, February 11, 2016
10 AM and 11:30 AM (2 concert times)
Macky Auditorium, CU-Boulder Campus

Students ages 8-12 are invited to attend this special concert entitled Cheers, Tears and Fears: Music and Emotion that will feature the music of Dvořák, Mendelssohn, Mahler and more. This program supports both general music and instrumental music programs, and students and teachers alike tell us it’s the “best field trip of the year!”

The cost of the program is $5 per student, with one free adult teacher/parent chaperone required for every 10 students. Additional adult seating for interested parents is available for $5 per person. Limited student scholarship assistance in the form of a fee waiver is available, please inquire. Transportation to and from Macky Auditorium is the responsibility of the participating school. Field Trip grants from various organizations (see links below for a few suggestions) may be available to your school to help underwrite transportation costs and student fees:

We are also pleased to announce that this year we are offering a new in-school experience featuring live Boulder Phil musicians and/or a Boulder Phil conductor. These music professionals will visit your school to present a 45-minute interactive program that brings concert themes, instruments and repertoire to life for your students. See registration form for details. Thanks to generous funding from Discovery Concert program supporters, there is no charge for these visits, but you must be registered to attend the Discovery Concert in order to be eligible for in-school visits.


The application deadline for the Discovery Concert and in-school visits is January 1, 2016.

Admission for all programs is on a first-come first-served basis, so please do not delay in returning your application as we cannot guarantee space after the deadline or once the concerts have filled. After registering, we will provide you with BVSD curriculum standards-aligned lesson plans and additional support materials designed to prepare students for their concert experience. Check back on this page to download the materials.

Return your completed application form to, by fax to 303-443-9203, or mail to 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder CO 80302. We look forward to welcoming you in February!





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.

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