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Spotlight! The Boulder Chamber Orchestra and Bahman Saless


The Boulder Chamber Orchestra strives for artistic excellence while promoting classical musical arts and education in Boulder, Colorado. The creative master powering it all? Music Director, Bahman Saless.

Bahman began his practice of music in his teens, when he studied the violin. While fostering a love of music through the violin and his second love, musical composition, Bahman officially pursued a career in theoretical physics. Upon finishing his graduate degree, Bahman moved to California to work as a physicist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Throughout his scientific career, Bahman continued his passion for music, pursuing a second career in music composition. Some may see composing film scores and working for a forerunner in robotic space exploration as contradictory paths. However, Bahman has always built his musical creativity in the overlap between science and art. “The physics career influenced me most because in so many ways [music and physics] are similar. In physics, you look for structure, beauty, and reason as well as hidden and mystical patterns in nature…all of which are building blocks of great music”.

Bahman’s attention to structure and detail also primed him to lead an arts organization. Upon returning to Boulder, he recognized a potential demand for a Chamber Orchestra. After discussing with musicians and friends, Bahman was nominated to organize and found the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO). “So we did it! Started with all amateurs and quickly attracted professionals to get to where we are now.” Founded in 2004, the BCO has flourished, growing in popularity and professionalism. According to Bahman, “2016-17 is a very crucial time for us because we are transitioning from a good orchestra to, I hope, a great orchestra.”

Boulder Chamber Orchestra strives for excellence. The 2016 season promises to be rich, educational, and accessible. The orchestra plays across a variety of musical genres. The musical selection specializes in underplayed or rarely heard pieces. The BCO then gives this music a chance to shine, while offering audiences a rare opportunity to engage with lesser known works. The Boulder Chamber Orchestra also partners with other organizations (among them ArtReach - within the SCFD umbrella themselves) to make tickets and concerts accessible, even free. In the vein of accessibility, BCO will offer a two-year residency program with Boulder High School in 2016 in which musicians will mentor kids from the Boulder Valley School District.

This 2016 season may also feature collaborations between Boulder Chamber Orchestra and Boulder Bach Festival and Boulder Chorale (both also a part of the SCFD family). Bahman remarked on the Boulder musical scene “So many new collaborations are forming with all the new fantastic talent coming to our area like Zachary Carrettin, the new music director of the Bach Festival, and Vicki Burrichter, the new director of the Boulder Chorale. It’s truly remarkable.”

2016 promises even more music for Bahman. “I am working on a cello concerto for my friend and colleague Inbal Segev, which I hope to finish by the end of 2016.” Additionally, Bahman enjoys attending the Boulder Bach Festival, the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and the Boulder Philharmonic. “We are blessed with so many great groups in our small metropolis!”


To learn more about the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, visit the website:

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