May 5, 2017
Kenneth Woods
Kenneth Woods
Benjamin Ealovega

Kenneth Woods oversees his second season as Artistic Director of the Boulder-based Colorado MahlerFest, which takes place from Monday, May 15 – Sunday, May 21, 2017, curating a wide-ranging schedule of events under the banner “Unfinished/Unheard.” The varied programs of the Festival’s 30th season, which span films, lectures, symposia, concerts and community engagement, explore works unfinished as well as those never heard by their composers at the time of their death. Special guests include English composer and Mahler authority David Matthews. Recurring features include film screenings and Woods’ initiative of the Mahler Conducting Fellowship. Colorado MahlerFest XXX culminates with Mahler’s final, unfinished symphony, his Tenth, as completed by Deryck Cooke.

Following rehearsals on May 15 and 16 that are free and open to the public, the first performance of Colorado MahlerFest XXX, on May 17, features chamber music of Kurtág, Matthews, Schnittke and Schubert. Kurtág’s Signs, Games and Messages is the 91-year-old Hungarian composer’s magnum opus of miniatures that has evolved over decades. By its very nature the collection will forever remain unfinished. Mahler’s early, uncompleted Piano Quartet provided inspiration for Alfred Schnittke who grafted his polystylism on to a fragment of the second movement. Receiving its premiere, David Matthews’ Romanza for violin and piano pays homage to Mahler with its climatic, delirious Viennese waltz. The concert concludes with Schubert’s great String Quintet in C, which was performed and published posthumously.

In his inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest, Woods launched the Mahler Conducting Fellowship Program. Three fellows, who will each receive a full scholarship worth $2,000, will attend daily score study and seminar sessions with Woods, and work with guest lecturers and speakers. They will conduct in a public masterclass taking place on May 18, focusing on Schoenberg’s chamber arrangement of Mahler’s first mature song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. Further information about the MahlerFest Conducting Fellowship and this year’s Fellows can be found here.

Colorado MahlerFest XXX features two films: Mahler, the biographical opus by legendary director Ken Russell (May 19), and For the Love of Mahler – The Inspired Life of Henry-Louis de La Grange, by Jason Starr whose films are frequently featured at the festival. For the Love of Mahler is presented on May 20 in memory of the famed French musicologist and Mahler biographer who passed away in January 2017.

For the Love of Mahler will be screened during the annual, day-long MahlerFest symposium which will include presentations by David Matthews and Kenneth Woods, musicologist and Mahler authority Frans Bouwman, and producer Jerry Bruck, who has extensively programmed Mahler’s music and interviewed the composer’s widow Alma and daughter Anna in the 1960’s.

Colorado MahlerFest XXX culminates with orchestral concerts on May 20 and 21, with Woods conducting the Colorado MahlerFest Orchestra in the premiere performance of David Matthews’ arrangement of Elgar’s String Quartet in E minor, and the third version of Deryck Cooke’s completion of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, for which the British composer, musicologist and broadcaster was assisted by David Matthews and his brother Colin.

Last year, Woods became only the second Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest which was founded in 1988 by Robert Olson as an annual celebration of the life and music of Gustav Mahler. Colorado MahlerFest XXX is dedicated to Stan Ruttenberg, scientist and physician by occupation but music and Mahler enthusiast by evocation, who was board president for 15 years and saw the Colorado MahlerFest through its first complete cycles of Mahler symphonies, and in 2005 accepted the Mahler Gold Medal from The International Gustav Mahler Society on behalf of the Colorado MahlerFest.

Gustav Mahler’s music has been a lifelong source of inspiration for Kenneth Woods, and has played an important part in his career. He has conducted acclaimed performances of the symphonies and songs across the Americas and Europe. His first recording of Mahler’s music, Schoenberg’s chamber ensemble versions of Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Somm Records, 2011), received an IRR Outstanding rosette from International Record Review. Off the podium, Woods is in demand as an essayist and speaker on Mahler’s life and music. He has given talks and participated in panel discussions on Mahler for the BBC and NPR, and was the official blogger of The Bridgewater Hall’s Mahler in Manchester (UK) series in 2010-11. In his native US, Woods achieved national media recognition as conductor of the Pendleton-based Oregon East Symphony for staging Redneck Mahler, an event that galvanized the community of a small, western Rodeo town and gave “Mahler the ride of his life” (The Oregonian).

For all media enquiries, interview and image requests, please contact Melanne Mueller,, +44 (0) 7788 662 461 or +1 917 907 2785

For more information about Kenneth Woods please visit

For more information about the Colorado MahlerFest please visit

Related Link
Back to List
Back to Top