Announcing its star-studded 2023-24 season in Boettcher Hall, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra honors its centennial with a brochure picturing musicians toting their instruments around our Centennial State (on the cover, a rock-climber carries his double bass strapped to his back).

“This season carries special significance as we celebrate 100 years of music and look ahead to the next century of music-making in Colorado,” principal conductor Peter Oundjian says in a statement from the CSO.

Not to quibble, but the orchestra actually missed the century mark.

Truth is, the current version of the orchestra began life in 1989 from the ashes of the defunct Denver Symphony, which was formed in 1934, evolving from the Denver Civic Symphony, which debuted Nov. 6, 1922, under the direction of Horace Tureman.

Since the Colorado Symphony went dark in 2020-21 due to COVID, the official centennial has been moved to the upcoming season. However you count the years, there is much to celebrate in the music that awaits concertgoers.

Among the visiting artists are three bonafide superstars: everyone’s favorite cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, who will be the soloist in Elgar’s Concerto on May 5, 2024; internationally renowned soprano Renée Fleming offers a program of opera arias and light favorites Oct. 7; and multitalented Broadway veteran Audra McDonald presents an evening of musical theater Sept. 23. These programs will be led by Oundjian, who will be on the podium for numerous other important concerts, including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (Sept. 15-17) and Mahler’s monumental Third Symphony (April 12-14).

Three of the orchestra’s previous music directors will return to help observe the season’s festivities: Jeffrey Kahane conducts Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 and doubles as soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto (Sept. 29-Oct. 1); Marin Alsop leads Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Feb. 23-25), and Andrew Litton, currently the music director of the New York City Ballet, is on the podium for a ballet-themed concert featuring two dancers from City Ballet (Jan. 12-14).

Other guests include pianists Hélène Grimaud, playing Brahms’ First Concerto (Sept. 15-17), and Natasha Paremski, in Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto (April 26-28), and Police rock drummer Stewart Copeland hosts an evening of his music titled “Police Deranged for Orchestra” (Oct. 5).

Speaking of contemporary music, there is plenty of that.

CSO audiences will sample recent works by John Corigliano (Nov. 3-5), Gary Fry (Nov. 17-19), Fazil Say (April 26-28) and Danny Elfman (his Percussion Concerto on March 8-10 and his score accompanying a screening of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Oct. 27-28).

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Four women composers are represented next season: Valerie Coleman (sharing the bill with Carlos Simon on an otherwise all-Mozart weekend Jan. 26-28) and, thanks to Marin Alsop, music by Anna Clyne and Reena Esmail will open the Beethoven No. 9 concerts (Feb. 23-25).

Then there’s English composer (and famed suffragist) Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), whose “On the Cliffs of Cornwall” from her opera “The Wreckers” will be heard May 10-12.

The CSO continues its tradition of accompanying Hollywood films shown on multiple screens above the Boettcher stage. In addition to that Tim Burton Halloween favorite, here’s the line-up for next season: “Star Wars: A New Hope” (Sept. 9-10), “Amadeus” (Oct. 20-21), “Home Alone” (Nov. 24-25), “Elf” (Dec. 22-23), “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Jan. 5-7) and “The Wizard of Oz” (March 2-3).

Programming for audiences of all ages has long been a priority for the orchestra, according to chief artistic officer Anthony Pierce.

“We take great pride in presenting a diverse array of programming that offers something for everyone. We are your symphony and Boettcher Concert Hall is a gathering place for our entire community.”

Next season offers proof. Among those offerings are two free concerts: “Latin Beats — Sonidos de las Américas” (Sept. 21) and “Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute” (Jan. 9). A Veteran’s Day celebration takes place Nov. 10. Family- oriented concerts include a Halloween Spooktacular (Oct. 29) and “Peter and the Wolf,” plus “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” (March 17).

If pop is your pleasure, there’s “Revolution — The Music of the Beatles” on Nov. 11, featuring Jeff Tyzik’s cover band, and the return of Pink Martini, fronted by China Forbes, on April 19. The holiday season brings a wealth of programs ranging from Handel’s “Messiah” (Dec. 16-17) to lighter fare such as A Colorado Christmas (Dec. 8-10), Celtic Woman — Best of Christmas Tour (Dec. 12), Holiday Brass (Dec. 15), Elvis Christmas Spectacular (Dec. 19), ending with A Night in Vienna on New Year’s Eve.

Two events at the tail end honor the longevity of the orchestra, the state of Colorado and the CSO Chorus, which turns 40 next season. Founded in 1984, the renowned ensemble marks its ruby anniversary with Vaughan Williams’ “A Sea Symphony,” conducted by Chorus founder Duain Wolfe next May 18-19. As a finale to the centennial season, Oundjian will lead a work inspired by a great mountain range — not our Rockies, but the ones in Europe. We can use our imagination as we bask in Richard Strauss’ “An Alpine Symphony,” May 24-26.

Subscription packages and Flex Passes are on sale today<March 6>, and single tickets for all concerts go on sale June 12. Information: or 303-623-7876.

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