Colorado Symphony’s New Artistic Advisor Excited About The Holidays

— Greg Moody is CBS4’s Critic At Large.

One of the big holiday traditions in Denver is the Colorado Symphony’s holiday concerts, and this year those concerts include a new face, and some new and exciting programs.

Andrew Litton was named artistic advisor for the Colorado Symphony last summer. He’s returned to town now for meetings with symphony management, but can’t wait to finally pick up the baton for real next month as the holiday shows get under way.

Litton has made a reputation around the world as a leading conductor in London, Dallas, Norway, The Netherlands — and now, just in time for the holidays — Denver. And he can’t wait to get started.

“I love this symphony. I think they are absolutely wonderful and I am so looking forward to these three years we’re going to be spending together,” Litton said. “At least initially.”

Since the announcement of his appointment Litton has not had a chance to work directly with the musicians. He soon will get to do that with holiday programs and much more to come.

“One of my specialties is the music of the great Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich,” Litton said. “There are six of his greatest works that haven’t been played here in a very, very long time. So we’re thinking of opening next season, in fact, with the performance of one of his greatest works.”

The impact of Litton on the orchestra and the orchestra on Litton has yet to be discovered.

“Music is only music when there’s an audience. So everything that we’re working on now is to make a better product for the citizens of Denver and the metropolitan area,” he said.

Litton’s first concert with the symphony will be Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” — a full production with puppets on the Boettcher concert stage.

Along with their traditional holiday concerts — “A Colorado Christmas,” “Messiah By Candlelight” and “Too Hot to Handel” with Marin Alsop — the symphony has a number of special treats, including the Latin rhythms of “Pink Martini,” “Holiday Brass,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “A Night in Vienna” for New Year’s Eve with Litton taking the baton.

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Originally printed in CBS 4 Denver, on November 27, 2012.