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March 19, 2013

Colorado Symphony Presents: Turn Over The Keys

Colorado artists Ian Cooke, Land Lines, Megan Burtt to perform with orchestra; original arrangements by Jay Clifford

Thursday, May 28, 7:30 pm, Boettcher Concert Hall
All tickets $25, now on sale

The Colorado Symphony is thrilled to announce the lineup for “Turn Over the Keys,” which comes to Boettcher Concert Hall on Thursday, May 28, at 7:30 pm.

Emerging Colorado artists Ian Cooke, Land Lines, and Megan Burtt will perform individual sets with musicians from the Colorado Symphony, each with a unique style, sound, and symphonic approach.

Longtime CSO collaborator Jay Clifford, leader of the seminal South Carolina-based band Jump Little Children, and DeVotchKa’s Tom Hagerman will work with each artist to create original orchestral arrangements of their music for a complement of 26 string players. Clifford will also perform.

“Turn Over the Keys” builds on a tradition of creative collaboration with emerging independent artists in Colorado, which boasts one of nation’s liveliest music scenes. Beginning with a now legendary pairing of the orchestra and DeVotchKa in 2012, the Colorado Symphony has joined with up-and-coming regional musicians including The Lumineers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Nathaniel Rateliff, Otis Taylor, Flobots, Elephant Revival, and more.

The Colorado Symphony’s collaborative spirit has helped to cement the orchestra’s reputation as one of the most innovative and artistically adventurous in the United States. Westword has twice selected CSO collaborations for “Best of Denver” awards.

“Colorado has an incredibly vibrant and talented pool of artists who live and work in our community, and ‘Turn Over the Keys’ provides us with unique opportunity to work with some of these amazing musicians,” says Tony Pierce, Senior Vice President of Program Innovation for the Colorado Symphony. “It’s also a chance to give back. The community makes a huge investment in us, and in Boettcher Concert Hall, and we want to make everyone has access to the hall, and to the music.”

“Turn Over the Keys” closes the inaugural Colorado Symphony Presents contemporary concert series, which opened in November 2014 with a performance from Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Los Lobos, The Chieftains, and Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock are among the artists who have appeared at Boettcher Concert Hall under the Colorado Symphony Presents banner. “Zappa Plays Zappa,” featuring Dweezil Zappa performing music of his iconic father, Frank, will be presented April 23.

Tickets for “Turn Over the Keys” are on sale now at All seats are $25, general admission. Service fees and taxes apply.

“Turn Over the Keys” is the first of its kind — and a chance for promising artists to realize a musical vision; the “keys” to the orchestra are in each artist’s creative control. That’s an exciting prospect, they say.

“We’re on the verge of releasing a new album of dense, classically-influenced music, so this opportunity to work with the Colorado Symphony comes at the perfect time,” says Ian Cooke.

“To this day, one of my favorite sounds is of a symphony orchestra tuning up,” says Megan Burtt. “It’s profound; just a few notes can unite everything and everyone in that space, and induce the kind of anticipation a child has on Christmas Eve.  I have always considered symphony players the epitome of musicians, and I’m beyond humbled for this opportunity to share the stage with such talent. It is certainly a dream come true.”

“I can’t think of a single reason not to be excited to play with the Colorado Symphony,” says Martina Grbac of Land Lines. “As a band, we’ve been playing around with arrangement and harboring hopes of performing with larger groups for some time; some of our songs have had string arrangements waiting in the wings for years. This is something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time and we are thrilled and overjoyed about getting an opportunity to share such an incredible stage with such an incredible ensemble.”


One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by internationally renowned Music Director Andrew Litton, 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. Every season, the Colorado Symphony serves more than 250,000 people from all walks of life, performing a range of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary. 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

Ian Cooke is described as “one of the most talented living songwriters and performers” by Westword’s Tom Murphy. Though most often referred to as “unique” and “endearing,” it has been well-documented for the past decade that Cooke is much more: a creative force to be reckoned with. The forthcoming Antiquasauria raises the bar to delight Cooke’s most fervent supporters with its scientific influence and genre-defying musical scope. Summoning Mesozoic creatures over the course of ten songs and forty minutes, Antiquasauria is a journey spanning nearly 100 million years and showcasing a vast diversity of life. Inspired by Holst’s “The Planets,” and fueled by a recent collaboration with Wonderbound, Antiquasauria is a cerebral and primal musical synthesis celebrating life before history. Produced by Ian O’Dougherty, engineered by Chris Fogal, and featuring arrangements by Cooke and his band, Antiquasauria will be released on vinyl, CD, and DVD (5.1 surround-sound mix by Neil Wilkes [King Crimson, Yes, XTC]) from Greater Than Collective in the spring of 2015.

Land Lines is an impossible decade, some gap in history where the tines of early electric pianos shimmer in echo chambers, baroque cellos thrum minor chords, and modern percussive rhythms build with surgical precision, all culminating in sparing, angular pop melodies that find new creative spaces in an otherwise overpopulated musical landscape. Land Lines arose from the ashes of Matson Jones, when Martina Grbac, Anna Mascorella, and Ross Harada, regrouped and began crafting new songs. After releasing their self-titled LP, Land Lines, on Denver’s Cash Cow Records, Anna left the group to attend graduate school; James Han, who had been recording and touring with Nathaniel Rateliff and Gregory Alan Isakov, joined and helped shape the new sonic direction of the band. Land Lines has performed at venues such as the Boulder Theatre and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and has shared the stage with artists such as Devotchka, Nathaniel Rateliff, Esmé Patterson, and Black Heart Procession. In early 2014, Land Lines recruited Xandy Whitesel to record/mix and TW Walsh (Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, David Bazan) to master a second LP, The Natural World, which was released on January 30th, 2015. With sultry songs that saunter, thrust, and linger, The Natural World is a treasure trove of heart breaking songs of love, loss, and human nature and ushers in the next era of Land Lines’ sonic exploration.

What distinguishes Megan Burtt is her emotional insight and soulful delivery. A Colorado-born songwriter and national touring artist, she weaves elements of pop, folk, jazz, and groove to yield a sound that is uniquely hers. After completing her formal music education, Burtt has continued to hone her craft around the world, inspired by her time in the Mississippi delta, living and entertaining in Vietnam, and an annual East Coast prison tour. Winning nationally recognized songwriting competitions, including Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Kerrville NewFolk, and regional NPR Mountain NewSong, Burtt has also performed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and shared the stage with John Oats, Diane Birch, and members of Better Than Ezra. Burtt persistently immerses herself in human stories and unique cultures, building a fierce following through grassroots touring. Multiplying her impact to both music and charity, Burtt produced In Good Company in 2013, a fundraising collaborative songwriting project with top Colorado artists and Hall of Fame inductees, including Chris Daniels, which earned her a Westword “Best of Denver” award for “Most Innovative Artist/Project of the Year.” Burtt’s upcoming album, produced by Louis Cato (Bobby McFerrin, Mariah Carey) and inspired by her time in the South and surviving a brush with mortality, will be available in summer 2015.

Listening to Jay Clifford’s new album, Silver Tomb for the Kingfisher is like being haunted by a friendly ghost. Through sparse production and elegant songwriting, simple observations of everyday life become whispered confessions. Lilting strings lift a meditation on the nature of love to ethereal heights. At every surprising turn, Clifford dares the listener to blink first, imbuing each song with an unflinching emotional honesty that is at once harrowing and restorative. It’s a common thread that runs through all of Clifford’s work, including his long tenure as the creative force behind Jump Little Children. Though the band went on hiatus in 2006, their music remains timeless and relevant. Their biggest hit, “Cathedrals,” (a top ten AAA single released in 1998 on Breaking/Atlantic Records) was used on the most recent season of So You Think You Can Dance, of all places. Through its thirteen years of touring, Jump developed a ravenous cult following and became the unofficial musical ambassadors of their hometown of Charleston, SC. During this time, Jay also released two highly revered albums (Rosebud and Vespers) under his Rosebud side project. After Jump, Jay released his first solo album Driving Blind in 2007. He is now most often found at his studio in Charleston called Hello, Telescope. His time there is split between producing other artists (most recently collaborating on William Fitzsimmons’ critically acclaimed Gold In The Shadows) and arranging and recording strings for other major label projects (Colbie Callait, Vedera, Caitlin Crosby). Completely fan-funded, Silver Tomb for the Kingfisher represents another daring step forward for this wildly talented singer/songwriter. For the Colorado Symphony, Jay has original orchestral arrangements for and the Beck Song Reader project featuring Nathaniel Rateliff and Otis Taylor, Gregery Alan Isakov, and the Moderators.