Steamboat Strings Music Festival names new director |

Steamboat Strings Music Festival names new director

Luke Graham
Michael Sachs was named as Steamboat Strings Music Festival's new director.

— Michael Sachs was 4-years-old when it hit him.

The sound, the power, the rhythm and tone. He loved everything about the trumpet.

Not old enough for school, a young Sachs was taking in an elementary school band show at an open house with his 1-year-old sister.

The band played “Never on Sunday” and when the trumpet player stood up, Sachs was mesmerized.

“I thought it was the greatest thing I ever heard” Sachs said. “I was smitten with it.”

Sachs’ love for the trumpet has never wavered, and the principal trumpet for the Cleveland Orchestra has been named the Strings Music Festival’s new music director.

Sachs will begin in the fall with concerts kicking off in summer 2015.

Sachs will take over for Directors Andres Cardenes and Monique Mead who will lead their last season this summer.

But even a young Sachs had to wait to play. After hearing the trumpet solo, he urged his parents to take him to the music store to get a trumpet and lessons.

There was only one problem. Sachs had to wait for his two front teeth to come in to play trumpet.

It wasn’t until he was 6 that his parents took him back to the store and he grabbed the instrument that would shape his life.

“He has been in one of finest orchestras in the world for over 20 years,” Strings Executive Director Kay Clagett said. “He’s one of the brightest and renowned trumpet players in the world. The connections and people he’s played with are some of the finest chamber musicians in the world.”

Clagett said Sachs visited Strings about a year ago and said if there was any part of Strings he could be involved with or help out to let him know. Sachs’ wife, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, had played at the festival several times in the 1990s and was familiar with the area.

“It really has a terrific combination of all the ingredients for a very successful festival,” Sachs said.

Clagett said Sachs’ contacts in the music world, specifically in the brass world, will allow Strings to put on different yet high-caliber performances.

Sachs said he wants to build on what has been successful at Strings and bring several new ideas to the festival.

“I think he’ll take the schedule of classical and Different Tempo (programs) and unite the whole season,” Clagett said.

Sachs always played music but earned a history degree from UCLA. But Colorado and music always had an influence on him.

In Aspen between his junior and senior years of college at a intensive musical program, Sachs realized music was where his heart was.

Two years later, he was first introduced to his wife in Colorado. Years after that, the couple was married in Colorado.

“It really has been and extra special place,” Sachs said. “Wonderful things and wonderful opportunities have been give to me. I relish the opportunity to spend this type of time in Colorado. Now I have the perfect excuse.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.