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 concept came to life. 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 broadened its program steadily over the past 24 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. In conjunction with the New Conservatory of Dallas, Conservatory Music in the Mountains - a summer program for students studying string instruments and piano - was launched in 1997, under the direction of Arkady Fomin, violinist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Performances are held at the festival tent, high up in the majestic San Juan Mountains at Durango Mountain Resort. Venues also include The Community Concert Hall and Roshong Recital Hall, both at Fort Lewis College. In addition, Rotary Park, Three Springs Plaza, and St. Columba Church were hosts to festival performances.
Early on, Maestro Semanitzky recognized the value of including children and families in the summer Festival and subsequently incorporated free concerts - now called Family Festivo- for young people in city parks. Recognizing the importance of year-round exposure to classical music, the Music in the Mountains Goes to School program was created in 1999 and has grown to reach more than 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students throughout the Four Corners region.
In 2007, Masestro Mishca Semanitzky retired as the Festival Artistic Director and Conductor for Music in the Mountains. In 2008, new directors Gregory Hustis, Festival Artistic Director and Guillermo Figueroa, Music Director & Conductor began a new era of leadership for Music in the Mountains.
Festival Tent, Durango Mountain Resort, 1 Skier Place, Durango
From Durango head North on Hwy. 550 for approximately 27 miles. Turn left in to Durango Mountain Resort entrance. Follow the signs to parking area. Volunteers will assist and direct you. Ample parking.
Community Concert Hall, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango
From Durango head east on College Drive. Turn left on 8th Avenue, continue all the way up until you reach the campus. After the stop light, proceed several hundred yards and the Community Concert Hall will be on the left and clearly marked. Ample parking.
Roshong Recital Hall, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango
From Durango head east on College Drive. Turn left on 8th Avenue, continue all the way up until you reach the campus. After the stop light, proceed several hundred yards, Jones Hall is located on the left, just prior to the Community Concert Hall. The recital hall is up the large staircase and through the double doors. Ample parking.
St. Columba Church, 1830 East 2nd Avenue, Durango
As you leave historic downtown Durango, travel north on Main Avenue. Turn right on East Park Avenue. Take first left onto East 2nd Avenue, church will be one block ahead on the right side. Street parking.
Rotary Park, Durango
As you leave historic downtown Durango, travel north on Main Avenue, turn right onto 15th St. Make first left turn, Rotary Park is straight ahead. Parking is on the left, but fills up quickly. May need to park a few blocks away on side street. This park is on the Durango Bike Trail; consider walking or riding a bike.
First National Bank of Durango, 259 West 9th Street, Durango
Heading south on Main Avenue, in historic downtown Durango, turn right on 8th Street. The bank is located one block down on the right. Ample parking.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 910 East 3rd Avenue, Durango
Heading south on Main Avenue, in historical downtown Durango, turn left on 9th Street. Drive two blocks, the church will be on the left, at the corner of 9th Street & 3rd Avenue. Street parking.
Please call the Festival Office for further assistance, 970.385.6820.