Colorado Symphony announces Imagination Artist series with Nathaniel Rateliff External

Article Contributed by Sacks and Company | Published on Friday, March 25, 2022

Starting this fall, the Colorado Symphony will partner with three leading musicians from diverse musical backgrounds to reimagine the future of the American symphony. Featuring collaborations with Colorado’s own Nathaniel Rateliff, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Broadway’s Mary-Mitchell Campbell, the Imagination Artist Series will provide these artists with unparalleled creative access to the entire orchestra, offering a blank canvas to innovate, imagine and curate orchestral programs while sharing three unique artistic visions that will debut exclusively for Colorado Symphony audiences starting in the 2022/23 season.

From the mind of Mary-Mitchell Campbell, the Music Director behind numerous Broadway shows including Mean Girls, The Prom, My Love Letter to Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth, Tuck Everlasting, Sweeney Todd, and more, the Imagination Artist Series begins with a Tribute to Stephen Sondheim on September 23 and 24, 2022, celebrating one the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater. The program will feature some of Sondheim’s greatest works from Broadway hits like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods.

“What I love about this orchestra, is how passionate they are about making all kinds of music and recognizing that every genre has a place in the concert hall,” said Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

The Imagination Concerts created by RZA and Nathaniel Rateliff will be unveiled at a later date.

“When you get a chance to hear your music translated by an orchestra, it’s so fulfilling,” said RZA. “The vibration of it, the feel of it. As musicians we strive to inspire and give inspiration. If you can move somebody and let their imagination explore and explode, I think that’s what we have the chance to do here.”

“Hearing the symphony, it’s hard not to react to it, especially when you’re performing with them,” said Nathaniel Rateliff. “I’ve always felt like music does this thing where it takes your breath away. When you hear that many people playing together it does something that you can feel.”

RZA made his Colorado Symphony debut along with Wu-Tang Clan in a pair of sold-out shows at Red Rocks and Mission Ballroom on August 13 and 14, 2021. RZA will return to Denver on May 21, 2021, performing at the Colorado Symphony’s Imagination Gala at Mission Ballroom, the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year.
In addition to their projects with the Colorado Symphony, Imagination Artists will act as brand ambassadors for the orchestra's Classics programs, advocating on behalf of the orchestra’s core repertoire to new audiences around Colorado while also supporting Colorado Symphony education efforts within the community.

“This is an extraordinary moment for our orchestra and this community, partnering with three incredible artists, providing an opportunity for unparalleled creativity and innovation, while creating never before seen programs that will debut exclusively for our audiences,” said Anthony Pierce, Chief Artistic Officer for the Colorado Symphony. “Music can mean many things to different people and we’re thrilled to have this opportunity to explore three unique visions for what live, symphonic music can be, opening the doors to new concert goers, and expanding the boundaries of orchestral programming.”

Together, we envision a bright future for live, symphonic music filled with unlimited possibilities. Join us as we push boundaries, meld genres, and inspire a new generation of music lovers.

Tickets to Colorado Symphony events are available online at or by phone at 303.623.7876. The Box Office is open Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

The Colorado Symphony Association is the region's only full-time professional orchestra committed to artistic excellence and ensuring the future of live, symphonic music. Performing over 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado, your Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from all genres of music.  During the COVID-19 health pandemic, we worked to safely produce over 50 concerts with and without audiences, including: 18 Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre performances, two large scale virtual community benefit concerts, and dozens of small ensemble concerts performed in numerous outdoor venues like the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, Denver Zoo, and Denver Botanic Gardens. Virtual #PlayOn campaigns garnered 2 million views between our Virtual Music Hour, Weekly Replay, From Home Concerts, and MusiCurious Instrument Interviews. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, your Colorado Symphony continually expands its impact through education, outreach, and programming. We partner with the state’s leading musical artists, cultural organizations, corporations, foundations, sports teams, and individuals to expose diverse audiences to the power of symphonic orchestral music.