About us

Mission & History

It's the music. It's the musicians.

It's the experience.

Our Mission

To produce an exceptional summer music festival with musicians of the highest caliber; entertain, educate and delight audiences with the richness of classical music, and complement concerts with year-round educational programs for youth.

Our history

In 1987 Maestro Mischa Semanitzky dreamed of bringing a music festival to Colorado. This vision was shared by community member Foxie Mason and together they were able to start a festival in Durango. Through support from Fort Lewis College, The Durango Herald, Durango Mountain Resort, Morley Ballantine and Bank of Colorado, the original concert season was born. 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 steadily broadened its programs for more than 30 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. Now more than 100 world-renowned musicians entertain audiences of all ages during the three week festival.

Early on, Maestro Semanitzky recognized the value of including children and families in the summer Festival and subsequently incorporated a family concert. This program has become one of the highlights of our season and is held at Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

In 1999, further recognizing the importance of year-round exposure to classical music, the Music in the Mountains Goes to School program was created.  This exceptional program has grown to reach more than 4,000 elementary, middle and high school students throughout the Four Corners region.

In 2007, Maestro Mischa Semanitzky, retired as the Festival Artistic Director and Conductor for Music in the Mountains.  In 2008, new director Gregory Hustis, Festival Artistic Director, and Guillermo Figueroa, Music Director & Conductor, began a new era of leadership for Music in the Mountains.

In 2019, Music in the Mountains moved from its longtime location under the tent at Purgatory Resort to a new mainstage venue at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

After having to cancel the Festival in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music in the Mountains returned in 2021 to celebrate its 35th Anniversary Season, adding a new element to the Festival: a custom-built mobile stage, designed to share free concerts with the community!

In 2022, after his long tenure with Music in the Mountains, Gregory Hustis retired. Music Director & Conductor Guillermo Figueroa took over as Festival Artistic Director.

1987

Maestro Mischa Semanitzky sets his vision in motion and kicks off the first season with five concerts and 11 musicians

1987

1997

A chamber music series is introduced

1997

1999

The Music in the Mountains Goes to School program is created

1999

2007

Maestro Mischa Semanitzky retires as the Festival Artistic Director and Conductor

2007

2008

Director Gregory Hustis, Festival Artistic Director, and Guillermo Figueroa, Music Director & Conductor, begin a new era of leadership

2008

2019

The festival moves from Purgatory Resort to its new mainstage location at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College

2019

2021

After being forced to cancel the 2020 Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music in the Mountains returns to celebrate its 35th Anniversary Season, including the addition of a brand-new, custom-built mobile stage, designed to share free concerts with the community!

2021

2022

After a long tenure with Music in the Mountains, Gregory Hustis retires and Guillermo Figueroa takes over as Festival Artistic Director.

2022
Our impact

Music in the Mountains commissioned RRC Associates of Boulder, CO, to measure the economic impact of the Festival on La Plata County, to evaluate the additional contributions to the local community, and to document the profile of the audience. 

million
$ 0
contributed in spending annually
in sales & lodging tax
$ 0
directly generated in La Plata County
million
$ 0
directly contributed in labor income

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."

– Victor Hugo

Thank you to our 2024 sponsors

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Maestro’s Council

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