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A Statement from Jerome H. Kern, CEO of the Colorado Symphony on the Future of Boettcher Concert Hall

July 25, 2014

A Statement from Jerome H. Kern, CEO of the Colorado Symphony on the Future of Boettcher Concert Hall

The Colorado Symphony is acknowledged as one of the ten best orchestras in the United States.

For 35 years, the Colorado Symphony has been proud to call Boettcher Concert Hall home; the hall was built for the orchestra, with significant contributions from symphony supporters who recognized that a world-class orchestra is an important element of a world-class city.

Since then, Denver has transformed into a true cultural capital, boasting one of the largest performing arts complexes in the United States. The Colorado Symphony has been an anchor and pillar of the Denver Performing Arts Complex since its founding.

Currently, the Colorado Symphony draws approximately 150,000 patrons to ninety performances year-round, providing significant economic activity to downtown businesses as well the City and County of Denver. In the 2014/15 season, the Colorado Symphony will launch expanded programming designed to appeal to diverse audiences and tastes.

The City of Denver’s proposal to demolish Boettcher Concert Hall is out of step with the spirit of innovation and visionary thinking that define modern Denver. Great cities and great leaders respect and protect institutions while embracing change and growth. To even propose the demolition of a beloved community asset reflects a lack of both vision and leadership.

Through its leadership, staff, Board of Trustees, musicians, donors and supporters, the Colorado Symphony represents a significant wealth of experience, business savvy and commitment to the sustainability and success of the Colorado Symphony. Yet the CSO leadership has never been engaged in a meaningful way in discussions about the future of Boettcher Concert Hall and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The Colorado Symphony is eager to participate in a thorough and thoughtful exploration of the future of Boettcher Concert Hall in both the short- and long-term. We are currently drafting a proposal that outlines a scenario that supports the CSO as a long-term tenant of Boettcher, working in collaboration with the City of Denver to make improvements and changes that serve the good of the public as well as the will of the voters, who in 2007 approved $60 million in bond money for renovations to Boettcher Concert Hall, of which $43 million has been allocated to other City-owned venues.

The Colorado Symphony has not been apprised of any details regarding the current proposal to raze Boettcher Concert Hall and build an outdoor amphitheatre. We are not aware of any financial modeling, timeline, proposed uses and tenants. Further, the City of Denver has offered the Colorado Symphony no viable options for alternative venues for 2015/16 season  or beyond. As repeatedly emphasized, the proposal that the Colorado Symphony relocate to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House is completely untenable for reasons of schedule and logistics.

The Colorado Symphony has expressed a willingness and desire to discuss a construction schedule that would keep the orchestra in Boettcher Concert Hall for some portion of the 2015/16 season. However, the City of Denver has refused to discuss this as an option that serves the interests and timelines of both entities.

The Colorado Symphony has shown itself to be an adaptive, creative organization that serves people of all kinds. From programming and fundraising initiatives that generate new revenue streams to community programs and outreach activities that build audiences for the future, the Colorado Symphony is innovating its way to success in a changing landscape.

We remain optimistic that the City of Denver will work with us to find a mutually beneficial plan for Boettcher Concert Hall, so it may continue to be a cultural anchor for Denver and the home of the Colorado Symphony.

We invite the public to share thoughts, reactions, and memories of Boettcher Concert Hall here and via social media using #csobch.