The nonprofit Front Range Chamber Players (FRCP) is Northern Colorado’s resident professional chamber music group. Since its inception in 1985*, it has presented an annual series of concerts in Fort Collins venues, always striving to make outstanding chamber music accessible to audiences of all ages. Musicians from across the Front Range have performed with FRCP, and the organization has also enjoyed collaborative relationships with other fine arts organizations.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Doug Lowe, FRCP presented innovative programs, including performances of music by Gerald Finzi, Amy Beach, Joaquin Turina, Frank Bridge, and Hector Villa Lobos, along with the more standard repertoire, ranging from Beethoven and Brahms to Stravinsky and Shostakovich. Performers during these years included regular FRCP members, such as Carla Hager, Eric Levine, Margaret Noble, Ann Schnaidt, Karen Lauer Anderson, John Lueck, and Roberta Mielke. The many guest artists included Debra Throgmorton, Jean Currey, Jim Fittz, Will Schwartz, Charles Lawson, Gary Moody, Marilyn Johnson, and Charles Tucker.
With Doug Lowe’s departure from Fort Collins, FRCP named David Brussel as its new artistic director. David, following the strong FRCP tradition, presented diverse programs intended to appeal to a broad range of interests. Music performed during these seasons included works by composers such as Martinu, Webern, and Walton, in addition to performances of Samuel Barber’s “Dover Beach,” Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde,” and the Schubert Octet, to name only a few. The traditional repertoire was well represented, including all-Beethoven and all-Bach concerts. Guest performers included the Boulder Brass, the Appassionato String Quartet, Lee Ann Sherlong, the Boulder Piano Trio, and the Mark Sloniker Trio.
With the 2011-2012 season, FRCP began its relationship with new Artistic Director Erik Peterson. Under his dynamic artistic leadership, FRCP began an ambitious increase of its series concerts to five, the addition of three free concerts, including two for children, and outreach to schools. The programs that he has created are innovative and exciting, and the performers are the very best the Front Range has to offer. The repertoire has included an eclectic mix of standards (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvorak, Kodaly, Schoenberg, Britten, Shostakovich) and exciting lesser known works (Bolling, Bunch, Danielpour, Popper, Reger, Schulhoff, Uebayashi). Programs have also included works for larger chamber ensembles, such as Mendelssohn’s “String Octet” in 2014, when the Cascade Quartet from Great Falls, MT joined an FRCP quartet.
To celebrate its 30th season, FRCP's Artistic Director commissioned a work by James David, "Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano," and FRCP premiered it on March 24, 2015. From 2015 to 2019, series concerts were held at Fort Collins High School’s acoustically excellent auditorium, and FRCP's musicians provided performances and tutoring to the high school's orchestral students. The theme of the 2018-2019 season was "Celebrating Women Composers". The highpoint of the season was a premiere of a new work by Maria Grenfell, commissioned by Ivy Street Ensemble, "And the Air Was Dancing," for flutes, violin, and viola. Ms. Grenfell traveled from Australia to attend the event. (See Photos.)
The end of the 2019-2020 season was disrupted by the arrival of the Covid19 pandemic, and the final two concerts were canceled. In 2020-2021 the five series concerts and the children's concert were videotaped and made available for free on the FRCP website (here). Great efforts were made to provide concerts of the expected excellence in a time of distancing. In 2021-2022 all concerts were live, and the audience and musicians were required to wear masks. The spring concerts in 2022 were performed twice (and videotaped) – in Fort Collins and FRCP's new site at Montview Presbyterian Church in Denver. This fulfills a long-time objective: to provide music more widely throughout the Front Range. Musicians are now able to give two performances of the music that the Artistic Director has diligently rehearsed with them. Another objective achieved was the establishment of two endowments: the Park-Woodson Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Dr. and Mrs. Gerald Rainer Endowment for FRCP concerts in Denver. With their support and the continuing generosity of public grants and private contributions, FRCP will continue to offer its series of five concerts and free children's concerts and make them available on the internet for all to enjoy.