We are pleased to share here a number of performances from artists who have graced Strings Music Festival in recent years as well as educational materials and playlists from past Strings festivals. We’re constantly adding to this collection— to receive new content right in your in-box, please:


We hope you’ll enjoy these free opportunities to be entertained and inspired. We believe all performances here are suitable for all ages. Unless noted, no subscription or log-in is required. Click images or links in green below to explore and enjoy the content.

Jump to: Limited Time | Young & Young-at-Heart | AUDIO: Listen Anytime | VIDEO: Watch Anytime | ARTICLES: Read Anytime

LIMITED TIME: Listen while they last!

Wendy Chen piano
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne

To hear Wendy Chen play Chopin is a real treat. 30 years ago she won the National Chopin Competition, its youngest winner ever. In this sumptuous recording from Strings Pavilion in 2017, she performs Nocturne No. 1 in C minor, Op. 48. It begins 15 minutes into Hour 1 of this episode of Performance Today from American Public Media. Enjoy until Nov 11.

Chee-Yun and Wendy Chen

From our 30th Anniversary Celebration, this performance of Astor Piazzolla‘s Le Grand Tango features Chee-Yun on violin and Wendy Chen on piano. Find it around 46 minutes into Hour 1 of today’s episode of Performance Today with host Fred Child. Don’t miss the intro where Chee-Yun reflects that she got into music as a “real brat case,” mostly just to get her mom’s attention! Enjoy until Nov 19.

Stay Tuned

The award-winning radio program Performance Today frequently features iconic performances from Strings Music Festival— free for your listening pleasure. When featured, we’ll add links here, available for 30 days at a time. To be first to know when new performances launch, subscribe to our email list. You’ll also receive new show announcements, ticket offers, other free curated music links, news, and more. On average, we send emails less than once a week.


All-ages entertainment and education for families

complete our musical scavenger hunt for a free treat
Musical Scavenger Hunt

ACTIVITY (2 hours or so*)
A family walking adventure full of fun, trivia, and unique places that could only be in our town. And music connects it all. Complete our free scavenger hunt in downtown Steamboat Springs for a free treat from Lyon’s Corner Drug & Soda Fountain. *Participate any time.

For Kids (and Those Who Wish they Were)

VIDEO (14 min.)
Grammy nominees The Pop Ups have entertained Strings audiences at the 2015 Youth Series. In this “Tiny Desk at Home” concert from NPR, they save the earth from an asteroid, explain sound waves through a sing-a-long (and a keytar), and encourage us all to invent and create. It’s sure to brighten your day.

Stuck at Home
“Stuck at Home”

AT-HOME ACTIVITIES (hours of fun)
One of last year’s featured Youth Concert performers, Justin Roberts has a knack for engaging kids of all ages. On his activity page you’ll find instructions for making a shoebox guitar, creating your own musical scavenger hunts, and everything aspiring young musicians need to host their own home concert.

Free stay at home videos and games
Stay-at-home Stuff

VIDEOS & GAMES (hours of fun)
Doctor Noize, featured every other summer in our youth series, believes that kids are the most adventurous, creative, and brilliant audience in the world. During this wild time where we are all at home, the multi-instrumentalist has made all of his albums free and accompanied them with learning worksheets.


VIDEO (54 min.)
We just enjoyed their company on the Strings stage, celebrating a year of Strings School Days mentorship with Steamboat Springs Middle School’s 7th and 8th grade bands and the Emerald Mountain School’s Orchestra. Read all about it in the Steamboat Pilot here.
For their pre-St. Paddy’s Day #Quarantunes concert, Moxie Strings‘ Diana & Ali donned their best slippers for an intimate basement concert. Expect all the playfulness, educational content, and exceptional music they always deliver! Click to view this fun 54-minute concert.

David Gonzalez Reads his “Talking Book”

VIDEO (11½ min.)
Strings audiences know David Gonzalez from multiple years of performances for families and Strings School Days students. Enjoy his words and voice, accompanied by colorful illustrations, in Tio Jose and the Singing Trees.

Andrew & Polly’s Ear Snacks Podcast

AUDIO (26 min.)

Winners of 3 Parents’ Choice Awards, Andrew & Polly are hosts of Ear Snacks, their podcast for kids. In this episode, they share a “Little Bitta Joy.” The duo graced the Strings stage for our 2016 Youth Series.

Classical Critters

AUDIO (59 min.)

Enjoy this classical music romp inspired by animals. Performance Today Host Fred Child, who frequently shares Strings performances with his listeners, is joined by kids who help him tell stories, spark creativity, share ideas, and listen to music together. Make space to move to the music and have paper and crayons on hand!

AUDIO: Listen Anytime

Strings Retuned podcast
STRINGS RETUNED with Michael Sachs: Our Podcast

Each week we revisit impeccable recordings of quintessential performances from Strings Music Festival. Principal players from across the nation join our music director to add depth and personal experience to each piece.
Episode 1: Beethoven’s 250th Birthday (54 min.)
Episode 2: Dreamy French Composers (47 min.)
Episode 3: Connections across Centuries (53 min.)
Episode 4: Soundscapes of Beyond (52 min.)
Episode 5: Female Energy (52 min.)
Episode 6: The Versatility of Mozart (62 min.)

Tank Masters features Strings
A Strings Composition for a One-of-a-Kind Space

(8½ min.) The Tank Center for Sonic Arts recently featured our Strings-commissioned performance by percussionist Joe Tompkins in their Tank Masters series. Hear more about this unique composition in our podcast episode titled “Soundscapes of Beyond.” Or jump right in and hear the piece here, courtesy Joe and the Tank.

Cleveland Orchestra
“America’s Finest” Enters New Era of Recording

(4½-hour playlist) This month The New York Times’ David Allen called The Cleveland Orchestra “America’s Finest.” He was writing about the orchestra’s new recording label, an effort that our music director Michael Sachs (Cleveland Orchestra’s principal trumpet) says will soon go digital with an all-new app. Here is a playlist sampling the orchestra’s 102-year history. Log-in required: listen with free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

Vijay Gupta
“Simultaneously familiar and fresh, intimate and epic, grounded and aloft”

(5½ min.) The New York Times asked composer Andrew Norman to recommend 5 minutes of music that would make people fall in love with the violin. Andrew chose this solo piece by Reena Esmail, performed by Vijay Gupta. Vijay, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner, is a regular member of the Strings Festival Orchestra.

Artist as Leader: Abigail Washburn

(26 min.) In this podcast for the Keenan Institute for the Arts at UNC, Abigail Washburn shares insight on leadership for artists. She says leadership can be more than making people do things, that, for her, it’s more about listening, empathy, and collaboration. Photo by Jacqueline Justice.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Harmonies

(4 min.) The voices you know from Paul Simon‘s Graceland. Those harmonies rang from the hills here in Steamboat Springs in 2019 and 2006. Ladysmith Black Mambazo always cheer us up, even with a song called “Homeless.” Hum along to this live recording from New York City.

Bruce Hornsby
New Music from Bruce Hornsby

(5½ min.) Bruce Hornsby‘s new single “My Resolve” features James Mercer of The Shins. A star of Strings Music Festival in 2014, Bruce calls the song “a Sisyphean tale of the creative life.” The new album released August 14. Photo by Jim Chapin Photography.

Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright”

(4½ min.) For this new recording of his hit “Feelin’ Alright,” Dave Mason recruited Mick Fleetwood, Sammy Hagar, and the Doobie Brothers. Dave entertained Strings audiences in 2019 and 2015.

Strings Music Festival 2019 Playlist

(74 min. playlist) 14 tracks represent the variety of performers Strings Music Festival brings to Steamboat Springs. Log-in required: listen with a free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

Strings Music Festival 2018 Classical Playlist

(6-hour playlist) Our 2018 classical repertoire, as programmed by Music Director Michael Sachs. Note the repertoire is performed here by a variety of other artists. Log-in required: listen with a free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

30th Anniversary Season Classical Playlist (2017)

(6-hour playlist) In 2017 Strings’ director of artistic administration Katie Carroll collaborated with Music Director Michael Sachs on a playlist of that season’s repertoire (performed by various artists). Log-in required: listen with a free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

Strings Music Festival 2016 Classical Playlist

(6-hour playlist) Enjoy music from Charlie Chaplin‘s 1925 classic film The Gold Rush to Beethoven and much more. This playlist represents the 2016 Strings Music Festival summer repertoire (performed by various artists). Log-in required: listen with free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

Strings Music Festival 2015 Classical Finale

(4 min.) We closed out our 2015 summer season with Sergei Prokofiev‘s Symphony No 1, Op 25, Classical Symphony IV Finale Molto Vivace. Hear it again, accompanied by photos from that year’s Strings Festival Orchestra.

So You Want to Be a Socially Distanced Orchestra

(4½-hour playlist) In June, The New York Times published this playlist for smaller ensembles. Seeking to go beyond chamber music standbys that would be obvious choices for social distancing, the authors sought to create inspiring selections both old and new. Log-in required: listen with free account; no ads for paid Spotify subscribers.

VIDEO: Watch anytime

Steel Drivers
The SteelDrivers Get Romantic

(3 min.) They won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2015. Four years later, The SteelDrivers played to a packed house at Strings Pavilion. Here is the official lyric video for “I Choose You.”

Martin Sexton
Martin Sexton: “Fire on the Mountain”

(1½ min.) We’re sending this one out to everyone choking on smoke, suffering through devastating losses, and risking their lives as wildfires rage across the West. Martin Sexton, who visited us in Strings Pavilion in 2018, performs this Grateful Dead classic from a boat in the Adirondacks.

Finnegan Blue
Finnegan Blue “Come Follow Me”

(3½ min.) From a 2018 St. Patrick’s Day festival, here is Finnegan Blue performing the rousing “Come Follow Me.” This 6-piece band from San Diego performed a sensory-friendly family show on the Strings stage in 2018. This winter they’ll be back with Strings School Days, providing free mentorship to local middle school students.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Wagner’s Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin

(4½ min.) Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra recordings have been nominated for a Grammy for 3 straight years, winning in 2018. PSO’s principal trombone player, Peter Sullivan, is also a steadfast member of the Strings Festival Orchestra. He says about this piece: “From the first note, the orchestra just explodes with excitement and youthful enthusiasm.”

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rachmaninoff and Chopin

(35 min.) See Strings Festival Orchestra member Joyce Yang perform Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini plus an encore of Chopin: My Joys. From 2014 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

(5½ min.) This trombone arrangement features dozens of talented musicians sharing their art in support of racial justice. Among the players are Hakeem Bilal and Gabriel Colby of C Street Brass and Beauty Slap. Hakeem and Gabriel are a perennial part of Strings summers, with innovative performances and multiple years mentoring local students through Strings School Days.

Amos Lee Live Set

(18 min.) One year after he appeared in the 2018 Strings Music Festival, Amos Lee performed this set for Austin City Limits. It features “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight,” “Little Light,” “El Camino,” and “Sweet Pea.” Don’t miss the interview where Amos talks about streaming live performances for pediatric cancer patients.

Solo piano: Debussy, Liszt, and Scarlatti

(47 min.) From the 2013 VanCliburn Competition, pianist Fei-Fei performs Debussy, Liszt, and Scarlatti. She last performed in Strings Pavilion in January of 2016 providing local audiences a first-hand sense of her virtuosity.

Mozart for Two Pianos

(8 1/2 min.) Joanne Pearce Martin teams up with one of her favorite collaborators – her husband Gavin – to perform the Andante from Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major. Joanne, the principal keyboardist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Gavin have both played in the Strings Festival Orchestra.

Mary Chapin Carpenter “What If We Went To Italy”

(6 min.) 5-time Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter, who appeared in our 30th anniversary Strings Music Festival, sings one for those yearning to get away. Enjoy “What If We Went To Italy” in Mary’s Songs From Home series.

6 Songs from Melissa Etheridge

(33 min.) A star of the Strings Pavilion stage in 2018, Melissa Etheridge shares a live solo set during the pandemic. From “I Wanna Come Over” to “Like the Way I Do” from her 1988 debut album, Melissa shares top hits that have been rocking audiences for more than 30 years.

Hochman Plays Brahms and Schubert

(52 min.) Benjamin Hochman performs solo piano annually at Strings Music Festival. Photographer J Henry Fair creatively captured live video of this performance for The Stissing Center in Pine Plains, NY.

“Can’t You Hear Me Calling”

(3½ min.) The Del McCoury Band with Billy Strings perform Bill Monroe‘s “Can’t You Hear Me Calling” in 2019. Del’s huge smile is a familiar sight at Strings with performances in 2017, 2016, and 2013.

14-foot Horns for Social Distancing

(2 min.) Colorado Symphony’s Principal Horn Michael Thornton (a member of Strings Festival Orchestra) and Matthew Eckenhoff play “Amazing Grace” at the Denver Botanic Gardens. A little creativity and two very long horns made it possible for the duo to perform from a safe distance on International Make Music Day.

The Avett Brothers Tiny Desk Concert

(16 min.) In a throwback to 2009, just one year after they graced the Strings Music Festival, The Avett Brothers performed for NPR. Enjoy this 3-song set including “Laundry Room,”
“Down with the Shine,” and “Bella Donna.”

Honeydrops play James Taylor

(4 min.) Lech Wierzynski of the California Honeydrops plays this cover of James Taylor‘s “Fire and Rain.” This is a notable departure from the Honeydrops’ signature high-energy shows, like they brought to Strings in 2019, 2018, and 2015.

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

(1½ min.) The Moxie Strings are back in their basement with a fun new series: Cover Sundays. Alison and Diana are familiar faces to Steamboat Springs students and parents, thanks to their mentorship through our Strings School Days program. Enjoy this short tribute to Motown.

Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep”

(5 min.) Drift away to this lush, soothing horns performance of Eric Whitacre‘s “Sleep.” It features the Metropolitan Opera’s Julia Pilant and National Symphony Orchestra’s Robert Rearden, both members of the Strings Festival Orchestra.

Hadestown Tiny Desk Concert

(26 min.) In 2019 Anaïs Mitchell opened for Mandolin Orange at Strings Music Festival, fresh off her Tony win for Hadestown. Here the original Broadway cast performs five tracks from the play.

John Prine & Marty Stuart: “Souvenirs”

(5½ min.) “You’re one of my favorite guitar players.”
“I’ll show you how if you got 5 seconds.”
Marty Stuart, who played Strings Music Festival in 2011, joins the late great John Prine here for a performance of John’s “Souvenirs.”

Alpin Hong: “Transform Yourself Into a Performer”

(22 min.) From Mozart to Mario Brothers, Alpin Hong is using his love of music, education, humor, and even video games to change the way you think about the art of performance. This talk includes the story of his mashup masterpiece “Twinkle Twinkle Death Star.”

Under the Streetlamp “Listen to the Music”

(5 min.) Under the Streetlamp livened up the Strings Pavilion in 2013 with their Broadway talents. Here they deliver a sing-along Doobie Brothers classic while sheltering at home. Watch for a cameo from the musicians’ families.

Impromptu NYC Performance

(3½ min.) Strings festival artists Nancy Wu (violin, black shirt, white pants) and Leigh Mesh (bass, yellow shorts) are featured in this special intermezzo from Mascagni‘s Cavalleria Rusticana. The husband and wife duo, joined by fellow musicians, gathered in New York City to play together for the first time during the pandemic.

Mandolin Orange 3 Songs

(14 min.) Mandolin Orange performed in Strings Pavilion last August. The Chapel Hill, NC duo recorded this performance for NPR Music. Their songwriting takes us on a journey from a mournful tribute to some joyous howling at the moon.

Joanne Pearce Martin behind-the-scenes

(3 min.) As a featured guest on our podcast, Joanne Pearce Martin shares a little of what goes into her piano performances. This short video gives a sneak peek at Joanne’s performance in our podcast episode “Dreamy French Composers.”

This Virtual Jazz Manouche Quartet Plays On

(4 min.) A familiar face in Strings Pavilion, violinist Claude Sim (upper right) shares a jaunty tune he wrote called “Play On.” He opens the video with fond wishes for the Steamboat Springs audiences he’s missing this summer. We miss you, too, Claude. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

9 Artists Perform Schubert

(3½ min.) Enjoy this comforting piece featuring Zach Stern (alto sax, bottom left) of Donald Sinta Quartet and Fei-Fei (piano, bottom center), both Strings artists from recent years. They play Schubert‘s Adagio from ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata, arr. Sam Suggs.

Live Set from Buffalo Commons

(95 min.) Steamboat Springs favorites (voted best band in 2019) play “soulgrass” originals and covers. The opening song feels apropos: “Times hard as they ever been/ people fillin’ up on hate/ while pay’s gettin’ thin. But you gotta believe/ we gonna make it through.” Randy Kelley (fiddle) is a frequent performer at Strings and all over Steamboat’s vibrant music scene. Photo by Scott Seifert.

From “Spontaneity and Drama” to “Sunny and Sweet”

(52 min.) Benjamin Hochman, who has performed in 4 concerts over the last 2 Strings Music Festivals, plays an all-Mozart benefit program. He introduces the pieces starting 90 seconds into the broadcast. Enjoy Fantasia in C minor, Piano Sonata No. 14, and Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major.

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt Live

(61 min.) They’ve both played sold-out shows at Strings Music Festival. Now see Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt take turns sharing acoustic songs. Photo by Michael Wilson.

Merle Mondays with Joe Nichols

(3 min.) Brent Rowan joins Joe Nichols on this cover of the Merle Haggard classic “My Favorite Memory.” Joe joined Brent on the Strings stage in 2018, part of an annual tradition at Strings known as Brent Rowan & Friends.

Boston Brass plays Piazzolla

(3½ min.) Enjoy this tango opera María de Buenos Aires from frequent Strings performers Boston Brass. They dedicate the performance to all those affected by the coronavirus, especially health workers.

Beatbox Flute 101

(8½ min.) Greg Pattillo of Project Trio breaks down the basics for flutists who want that beatbox sound. Project Trio was one of our featured Strings School Days mentors to local middle school students in 2018-19.

Alpin Hong and Special Guest

(7½ min.) His wit and piano virtuosity light up Steamboat Springs whenever Alpin Hong visits. He has headlined summer performances and served as a beloved Strings School Days mentor to local students. Here he performs a gorgeous Rachmaninoff duet with, ahem, Deadpool?!

Karissa and Thomas Shivone “O Sole Mio”

(4 min.) Cellist Karissa Shivone of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, seen on the Strings stage for the last two opening orchestras, performs a duet with her husband, an opera singer. Stay tuned for the fun surprise in the middle of the piece!

At Home with Rodrigo y Gabriela

(23 min.) They lit up the Strings Pavilion in 2018 with their fiery guitar skills. Now, fresh off their 2020 Grammy win for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Rodrigo y Gabriela perform this 23-minute set from their home in Mexico.

“Don’t Stand So Close To Me”

(2 min.) The Colorado Symphony horns put to music that special feeling that comes from social distancing. Even The Police picked up this special reworking of their 1980 hit on their Facebook page. Note principal horn, Michael Thornton, top left. You may remember him from summers past at Strings, including our John Williams concert and Celebrate America I, II, and III.

Clarinet duo for our heroes
New clarinet duo for our heroes

(5½ min.) A frequent performer at Strings, Mark Nuccio (principal clarinet at the Houston Symphony) performs this freshly minted duo with André Moisan (bass clarinet at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra). They offer their charming new piece to health care workers, people risking their lives, and all those staying at home to protect their communities.

Strings School Days educational mentor
Our most recent Strings School Days artist

(29 min.) The ninth and final Strings education artist of the 2019-20 school year, Chad Hollister jumped into the virtual concert world right at the beginning. Chad invites us to sit at his kitchen table while he jams out on his guitar, introduces us to his son, and also makes mention of his great visit to Steamboat in March.

Cliburn gold medalist
Relive a gold-medal piano quintet moment

(48½ mon.) This watch party for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition includes a 4.5-minute intro by Yekwon Sunwoo followed by his gold-medal winning Dvořák performance with the Brentano Quartet. Yekwon performed in Strings Pavilion in 2017, the year of this vivid performance.

The Waffle House Song
Bluegrass for breakfast

(5½ min.) This year’s mentors to local high school bands through Strings School Days, Steel Betty have released their latest music video. Check out “The Waffle House Song” for their pop-grass take on this little piece of Americana. If you need a few extra giggles, stay tuned for the bloopers reel 3½ minutes in.

Bela and Abby
Banjo tribute to John Prine

(42 min.) Live from Nashville, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn continued their weekly tradition of pajama-clad, intimate, homegrown 1-hour performances (and hilarity). In this episode they started with a special nod to their friend and neighbor, the late, great John Prine.

Live from Hawaii
Jake Shimabukuro Live from Hawaii

(70 min.) Catch the recording of this live concert streamed from Hawaii: Jake Shimabukuro bringing ukulele virtuosity from his beach to yours.

Michael Sachs and others
“A Hope for the Future”

(5 min.) Written as a tribute to the frontline heroes around the globe, health care specialists dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, this 5-minute trumpet performance features Strings Music Director Michael Sachs.

Ode to Joy
“Ode to Joy”

(3 min.) Colorado Symphony came together digitally to perform this brief taste of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Featured performers who have graced the stage with the Strings Festival Orchestra include Owen Levine, Cathy Peterson, Michael Thornton, and Justin Bartels.

Michael Sachs trumpet solo
“Song for Hope” trumpet tribute

(5½ min.) Music Director Michael Sachs performs trumpet solos in this beautiful cancer benefit (5 minutes).

READ ANYTIME: Articles from Strings Performers

Joyce Yang
“My Quarantine Life” by Joyce Yang

(4 min. read) “I think artists have the power to play an integral role in this tumultuous time by helping divided groups of people come together, illuminate what is beautiful, and celebrate diversity.”
Cliburn silver-medal winning pianist Joyce Yang shares the rollercoaster of emotions that her life has been since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Joyce graced Strings Pavilion in 2016.

Performance in Times of Pain

(2 min. read) “How am I supposed to make a whole show filled with all kinds of songs about all kinds of things when there is just one big thing pressing down on all of us?”
Ani DiFranco performed on the Strings Pavilion stage in February, 2020. Here is an excerpt from her new memoir, a New York Times Bestseller. Photo by Danielle Zimmerer.

Soundtrack of Togetherness

(3 min. read) Strings concertmaster and first violinist Laura Albers shares a brief peek inside her home during quarantine. In this uncertain time, she has traded the high notes of the San Francisco Opera pit (where she is associate concertmaster) for the rhythms and harmonies of a family confined. Photo courtesy Laura Albers.

“Music was always in my life, like eating dinner or something”

(10 min. read) He played to a packed house at Strings this past February. The Grammy Awards caught up with Gregory Alan Isakov after his first nomination. Read the interview here. Photo by Rebecca Caridad.

New Track From Bruce Hornsby

(1 min. read) Rolling Stone shares backstory from Bruce Hornsby‘s new album (released this month) and includes a single featuring Leon Russell. Bruce appeared in Strings Pavilion in 2014. Photo by Sarah Walor.

Broadway during the Shutdown

(4½ min. read) Jon Carroll of C Street Brass shares thoughts on his day job as a substitute musician during isolation at home. Jon suggests it’s important to: “Take time to be still and not feel like we have to be busy during this time.”

“Why We Do It” by Laura Albers

(5 min. read) For parents grappling with how (and why) to teach your children an instrument, Strings Festival Orchestra violinist Laura Albers shares details of teaching her son violin. This article appears in American Suzuki Journal v. 48, no. 1 (Fall 2019). Photo by Laura Albers.