Five minutes with…Strings Music Festival Director Michael Sachs |

Five minutes with…Strings Music Festival Director Michael Sachs

Last fall, the music director baton for the Strings Music Festival was passed to Michael Sachs, a 26-year principal trumpet for the Cleveland Orchestra. Educated at Julliard and recognized internationally as a leading soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, teacher and author, Sachs’ line-up kicks off with some of his favorite players, including orchestras from Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, L.A., Vienna and Berlin. Here’s his take on Steamboat and his new role.

The summer of 1982, when I was a student in Aspen, was a big turning point in my life. That’s when I decided to pursue a career in music. Later, I met my wife at another summer music program, the Colorado Philharmonic in Evergreen, so Colorado has always held a special place in my life. I’m already struck by the warmth, kindness, welcome and beauty I’ve experienced in Steamboat.

I’ve played a couple of golf courses here but haven’t gotten to explore the area as much as I’d like. Once I’m here with my family over the summer, my 12-year-old daughter will have me all over the valley looking for fun activities to do, from hiking and biking to rafting, swimming, tennis and more.

The Strings Festival has a terrific reputation for strong artists and performing a variety of programs. I’m impressed by the organization and creativity of everyone involved. Plus, the new sounding concert space is a wonderful template for me to continue the strengths already in place. I’m excited to bring in the strongest artists I can.

Strings’ uniqueness is in its variety. No other place offers everything from educational events for kids to the Different Tempo series and everything in between at such a high level. I want to expand these strengths with even more variety of classical programming, as well as some crossover between the classical and different tempo artists.

Music is life. It’s a language that everyone can speak and understand. It’s a way to express all feelings and emotions. Music can transport us to a different time and place, giving listeners a chance to take the journey the composer wanted to tell or imagine their own. Without music things would be awfully boring….and quiet.

Music teaches life skills beyond just the creative outlet it provides, including problem solving, how to assimilate instructions, teamwork, communication, preparation and execution, focus, and a sense of achievement. Being part of a group’s collective success is a big part of why it’s important.

Since I first heard a trumpet live at age 4, I’ve been drawn to it. It can reflect so many different colors and characters, much like the human voice.  It can also cross boundaries into different music styles; it’s one of the few instruments that can truly be at home in any genre.

Growing up in California made me a huge Dodgers fan. Living in Cleveland made me an Indians fan. I‘ve performed the national anthem at a number of openings and playoffs over the years. I’ve always been a Rockies fan except when they play the Dodgers or Indians. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to a game this summer.

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