All cultural startups are risky business, but the Baroque Chamber Orchestra was a particularly perilous venture when it began in 2005, introducing a new product to the local market.
The idea of early music, performed on period instruments, was catching on quickly in classical capitals such as San Francisco and Boston. But would it fly in Denver, the heart of the West?
Almost immediately, actually. The media and music fans took to the idea right away. So did violinists, cellists and bassoonists who were looking for non-traditional ways to make their music.
With its 10th season beginning this weekend, the chamber orchestra has settled itself as a staple on the cultural scene and one of its bright spots, succeeding on its own artistic terms and delivering the goods consistently.
“There was a little hole in the local scene, and we were able to slide right into it,” said co-founder and violinist Cynthia Miller Freivogel, who also leads the ensemble, giving nuanced cues from her seated position rather standing.
Denver offered high demand and little competition. “In a place like San Francisco, we we wouldn’t have been able to grow and thrive.”
The chamber orchestra has opened up options for consumers, giving them a choice of hearing their Bach, Telemann and Vivaldi played on recorders, wooden flutes and instruments fitted with traditional gut strings instead of the metal ones most contemporary players use.