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December 17, 2019

A Harmonious Collaboration


Media Contact:
Colorado Symphony
Nick Dobreff, Manager of Publicity and Community Relations
616.485.3913 (m) – 303.308.2477 (o)

Denver Zoo
Jake Kubié, Director of Communications

Denver Zoo and the Colorado Symphony Teamed Up to Do Something Special for Their Animals and Musicians with Unexpected Results
Watch The Videos

Dec. 17, 2019 – Denver, CO – Recently, an unusual sound snapped the early morning calm at Denver Zoo—a string quartet from the Colorado Symphony playing Mozart Divertimento No. 3 in G major in front of the giraffe habitat. The flawless sounds of two violins, one viola and a cello radiated across the yard, immediately catching the attention of the entire herd. Dobby, the Zoo’s famous two-year-old giraffe, with his ears perked up and neck craned in curiosity, quickly ventured over to investigate the sounds and musicians.

“We didn’t know what to expect. So, we weren’t sure if they would be nervous, excited, or bouncy, which is a sign of excitement,” said Denver Zoo Giraffe Keeper Amanda Faliano. “Dobby showed a lot of cool behaviors. Sometimes he would kick, and sometimes he was just watching on high alert, both of which are signs of excitement and interest.”

Colorado Symphony Violinist Larisa Fesmire added, “I never thought our classical career would be at the Zoo. I’m glad they seemed to like the music more than my dogs do at home when I’m practicing!”

Musicians from the Colorado Symphony went on to play impromptu concerts for other animals around the Zoo, including Tensing, 11, the pregnant greater one-horned rhino, and the Zoo’s Sumatran orangutan family made up of Berani, 26, Nias, 31, Hesty, 9, and Cerah, 1. All the animals involved—humans and nonhumans, alike—expressed amazement and enjoyment in what turned out to be an experiment to prove that music is, indeed, a universal language.

“We love finding ways to work with fellow Science and Cultural Facilities District organizations, especially when there’s an opportunity to do something unique and unexpected for our animals, guests, staff and the entire community,” said Jake Kubié, Director of Communications at Denver Zoo. “That was certainly the case with this collaboration—and I think it’s something everyone is really going to love!”

For both Denver Zoo and the Colorado Symphony, it was a harmonious partnership forged by a shared sense of community, and an example of how two seemingly different cultural organizations can collaborate to do something fun, positive and memorable.

“We’re so fortunate to have a robust group of local arts, non-profit, and cultural organizations that combine to make Denver a vibrant and enriching city,” said Parker Owens, Chief Marketing Officer for the Colorado Symphony. “We believe it’s imperative to foster collaboration between these organizations, and relish the opportunity to put our musicians in environments and situations that are outside the norm of performances in the concert hall. The opportunity to play music for these animals was a memory maker for our musicians; and we hope our fans, too, won’t soon forget.”

The videos of all three musical encounters with the giraffes greater one-horned rhino and Sumatran orangutans are now available on YouTube: Denver Zoo and Colorado Symphony. For more information about both organizations, visit or

Denver Zoo and the Colorado Symphony will join forces yet again on March 15, 2020 for Carnival of the Animals at Boettcher Concert Hall. One of the best-known pieces by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, each movement depicts a different animal, some of which will make appearances on stage during the performance thanks to the Zoo, making for a truly fantastic family experience for all ages.


For more information or to request interviews, please contact:
Nick Dobreff, Manager of Publicity and Community Relations – 303.308.2477 (o)

For high-resolution, downloadable images of the Colorado Symphony, contact:

The 2019/20 Colorado Symphony Season is presented by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Support also provided by: The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), United Airlines, the Colorado Symphony Guild, Arrow, Bank of America, and Macy’s, Inc.

Tickets to Colorado Symphony events are available online at, by phone at 303.623.7876, and in person at the Boettcher Concert Hall Box Office, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1000 14th Street. The Box Office is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon – 6 p.m.; and two hours prior to each performance.

Home to more than 3,500 animals representing 450 species, Denver Zoo is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization committed to species conservation by bringing science education to life and providing extraordinary experiences that foster human and animal connections. Located in Denver’s City Park, Denver Zoo is the most visited cultural destination in Colorado, serving more than 2 million people per year, and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care. With the mission to secure a better world for animals through human understanding, Denver Zoo dedicates more than $2 million annually to zoo-led programs aimed at protecting animals within their natural habitats around the world. For more information, visit

One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony Association is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization performing more than 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by Music Director Brett Mitchell, the Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from the world of symphonic music and beyond. In the last year, the Colorado Symphony served nearly 233,000 people attending live performances at concert and non-traditional venues throughout Colorado’s Front Range. In addition, over 265,000 people listen to the Colorado Symphony through Colorado Public Radio’s live broadcasts of classical content featuring concert recordings, in-studio performances of individual musicians and small ensembles, and live streaming of interviews and performances with artists. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, the Colorado Symphony continually expands its reach through education, outreach, and programming. The Colorado Symphony partners with the state’s leading musical artists, cultural organizations, corporations, foundations, sports teams, and individuals to expose diverse audiences to the transformative power of music. To learn more, visit