Our MASTERWORKS CONCERT SERIES 2023-2024 Season Opener features an eclectic program – from Scott Joplin to Haydn, and even two local Colorado Composers, there’s something for everyone!

Scott Joplin, known as the “King of Ragtime”, composed more than forty ragtime pieces, as well as a ragtime ballet and opera. Joplin took the rag – then known primarily as “lowly saloon music played by wandering honky-tonk pianists” – and elevated it to the level of classical art music meant for the concert hall. ECO will perform two of his best-known works – the “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”.

We are also proud to be performing ECO Cellist Jim Todd’s composition “New Day” for our 2023-2024 Season Opener! Jim Todd is an accomplished cellist who has performed with numerous Colorado groups, including the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet, and Boulder Philharmonic. 

He has served as principal cellist with the Arapahoe Philharmonic, and is a part of ECO’s unique all-principal cello section. Mr. Todd has recently produced and released his widely-acclaimed album of original music for cello and piano, “Quiet Beauty”, marking his foray in composing, arranging and performing his own music. Mr. Todd will perform as soloist for this work.

The program also features Colorado composer Cindi Hsu’s composition “Once Upon a Time“, and ECO is proud to continue our collaboration with Ms. Hsu from the past several seasons. Her music is noted for its richness in color, expressive melodic lines and open sincerity, with a “storytelling” composition style that was instilled in her early childhood, as she loved the spur of the moment bedtime stories that her father made up and told her each night.

The program continues with a Concerto for Four Cellos by Antonio Vivaldi, arranged by ECO’s own Mike Marecak and performed by our unique all-principal cello section! 

Our Season Opener will close with a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Drum Roll” Symphony No. 103, H. 1/103 – one of the later London Symphonies. Composed between 1791 and 1795 and nicknamed for the long timpani roll that begins the symphony, this is one of Haydn’s most popular and widely-performed works.

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ECO’s Masterworks Concert Series continues with our Fall Concert, which will feature Orchestral Suites by both Bach and Stravinsky – quite the contrast! 

Originally written as charming piano duets between Igor Stravinsky and his children, Suites No. 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra are filled with jubilant melodies and witty musical satire. These charming works were orchestrated in 1921 and 1925, but date from Stravinsky’s “Swiss period”, between 1914 and 1920. Stravinsky’s primary source of income – working with the Ballet Russes in Paris – had dried up due to the First World War, but he maintained a high level of compositional productivity during this self-imposed exile.

This will be the first time ECO has performed works by Stravinsky during ECO Music Director William Hill’s tenure. 

Johann Sebastian Bach is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, and his Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069, is some of the most joyful and delightful music ever written. 

Bach composed this Suite in the French style as was common for orchestral suites at the time. We know that Bach himself would use “laughter” and “joy” as the text association for this piece since he would go on to use the opening French overture as the first movement of his 1725 Christmas cantata “Unser Mund sei voll Lachens”, BWV 110, which when translated means, “Our mouths are full of laughter”.

No ECO season would be complete without the music of JS Bach!

Our Fall Concert will close with our performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 – and we are thrilled to announce that ECO’s own Concertmaster Katherine Thayer will be the soloist!

During the summer of 1838, Felix Mendelssohn finally wrote to his longtime friend Ferdinand David, who had repeatedly asked Felix to compose a violin concerto, “I should like to write a violin concerto for you next winter. One in E minor runs through my head, the beginning of which gives me no peace.” It would be seven more years before David premiered Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, in March of 1845 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany. 

This iconic masterpiece – one of the all-time greatest romantic violin concertos – serves as a fitting finale for the first half of our 2023-2024 Season, and will be a fitting showcase for Ms. Thayer to demonstrate her formidable technical ability, singing tone, and sensitivity to nuance within the orchestra. 

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The second half of the season begins with ECO’s Prelude to Spring Concert. This all-Mozart program begins with the Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio. The 25-year-old composer, having just arrived in the city, sought out the inspector of the Nationalsingspiel, Gottlieb Stephanie, with hopes of an opera commission. Stephanie was impressed with Mozart and got to work on the libretto that would become The Abduction from the Seraglio. 

Premiered on July 16th, 1782, in the Burgtheater in Vienna, the opera was a massive and immediate success. It remains one of Mozart’s most often-performed operas, and the Overture is very frequently performed as a part of orchestral programs across the world. 

Our Prelude to Spring Concert continues with more Mozart – his Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550. This was one of the final symphonies that Mozart composed – the final symphonies No. 39, No. 40, and No. 41 were composed in June, July, and August, respectively. Symphony No. 40 begins with one of Mozart’s best-known melodies and is widely performed today. Interestingly, there are only two extant symphonies written by Mozart in a minor key – both are in G-Minor. Symphony No. 40 is called the “Great” G-Minor Symphony, in order to distinguish it from the Symphony No. 25. 

The program will close with Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in E-Flat Major, K.543. This symphony begins with a grand introduction, with big brass fanfares. This is in distinct contrast to the G-Minor Symphony No. 40, which begins with the main theme immediately. What follows is classic Mozart – airy strings, memorable melodies, interplay between the winds, brass, and strings. In a single word, it is delightful!


ECO’s 2023 – 2024 Masterworks Concert Series will conclude with another world-premiere performance of ECO Music Director William Hill’s newest composition! Commissioned by pianist Jamie Shaak, Bill is currently writing a through-composed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra that will feature all the hallmarks of his style. We can’t wait to see what Bill will come up with! 

A note from Ms. Shaak: “I am thrilled to be making my Evergreen Chamber Orchestra debut with this world Premiere composed by ECO’s multi-talented conductor William Hill”! 

Pianist JAMIE SHAAK has shared her “finely textured playing” (Chicago Tribune) all around the world. Her concert hall appearances include the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Lincoln Center in New York City, and she has toured East Asia and India as a Musical Ambassador with the United States Information Service. 

Shaak has released two albums: The Sun is Love with soprano Michelle Areyzaga, performing original works by composer Gwyneth Walker’s “extravagantly scored accompaniments [that Shaak] dispatches with astonishing effortlessness” (NATS Journal); and The Romance of Spain (Cadenza Classics) with soprano Maria Lagios and guitarist Paul Henry.

ECO will close out the season with a continuation of Music Director William Hill’s cycle of Beethoven Symphonies

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55 – the “Eroica” Symphony – is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works. It is significant for a number of reasons – both musically and historically! First off, this symphony marked the beginning of the so-called “Middle Period” of Beethoven’s compositional endeavors. Characterized by innovation and experimentation, the middle period includes works such as the Symphony No. 5, the Violin Concerto, and the Piano Concerto No. 4. 

The Symphony No. 3 is also interesting as it contains a theme that Beethoven had used for numerous other compositions. The theme, heard in the the fourth movement of the symphony, originates from his 12 Contredanses for Orchestra, was also used in the Finale of his Ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, and serves as the theme for the Variations for Piano in E-Flat, Op. 35. That set of variations is now known as the “Eroica” Variations, due to the use of the theme in the Symphony No. 3. 

Beethoven initially dedicated the Symphony No. 3 to Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that he embodied the ideals of democracy and upholding the rights of all. However, upon learning that Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor, Beethoven violently tore out the page of the manuscript bearing the dedication. “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!” said Beethoven. The work was eventually re-dedicated to Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz. 

Get tickets to any of ECO's Masterworks Concert Series events below!

Please join us at one (or all!) of our 2023-2024 Season events – we’re certain you’ll have a musical experience like no other. Get your tickets below!

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ECO’s Masterworks Concert Series events will always be performed in pairs – this season, all Evergreen performances will be on Saturdays, and all Denver performances will be on Sundays. 

ECO is thrilled to announce that we will be performing at Rockland Community Church for all of our Evergreen performances this season.

We will return to the absolutely beautiful First Universalist Church of Denver for our Season Opener and Season Finale concerts

For our Fall Concert and Prelude to Spring Concert, we are extremely pleased to be performing in Arvada at the lovely Arvada United Methodist Church

In an effort to allow as many music lovers as possible to enjoy ECO’s performances, we are pleased to announce that all ECO events will be live-streamed. Live-stream tickets are available – you are even able to choose how much you’d like to pay! Get your live-stream tickets here.