Now in its 10th year, the Playground’s annual Colorado Composers Concert (CoCoCo) showcases chamber music written by residents of Colorado and students at Colorado higher education institutions.
Perhaps our most important concert of the year, CoCoCo has become the highlight of each season. Typically, most composers have very few opportunities to hear their works performed live by such a skilled ensemble. Hosted by Music at Metropolitan State University of Denver (Metro State) in the beautiful King Center Concert Hall, CoCoCo provides a valuable opportunity for both composers and their audiences. Moreover the event promotes a spirit of community among members of the new music and arts community across the state.
Since the inaugural CoCoCo in 2007, we have performed 88 works by 61 different composers. This includes 11 K-12 composers. We reserve a spot on each concert for these important young composers. Each composer also receives professionally recorded and edited audio, and now high-definition video recordings of their piece.
Since 2008, one composer each year is awarded a commission prize for the composition of a new work specifically for the Playground. These works have become important parts of our concert seasons.
CoCoCo has grown to be more than just a performance. In the week before the concert, featured composers participate in master classes at the University of Denver, Metro State, and the Community College of Denver. Before the concert itself selected composers participate in a Composer Talkback session.
Following the performance is a reception, where composers, performers, and audience members meet and mingle. Judging from comments, the reception is as valuable as the performance itself. Many express gratitude for the opportunity to meet each other and share experiences. New in 2013, we held a reading and recording session for all K12 aged composers not selected for inclusion on the concert.
Each year the number and quality of submissions grows; as does the audience and interest. It is an honor for us, as an ensemble, to serve those writing music in this area.