Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D Minor is a formidable monster: It requires a women's chorus, a children's chorus and a solo voice, in addition to a large orchestra. It's long -- there are six movements instead of the usual four -- and the polyphonic, psychological tones evade a definitive description. The fact that Marin Alsopchose to conduct the beast for her final performances as music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra shows that she's willing to work hard until the very end. The good news is that she'll be staying on as music director laureate for two years -- and she will be deeply involved in artistic selections. Alsop has been music director of the CSO since 1993 and is regularly invited to conduct throughout the country and in Europe. The Mahler performances fall in between her guest appearances in Toronto, Canada, last week, and in Saarbrücken, Germany, next week. In addition to such appearances, Alsop has signed on as the new principal conductor for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Great Britain.
The CSO will be joined for the Mahler extravaganza by mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, the Colorado Children's Chorale and the Women of the Colorado Symphony Chorus. Performances are at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at Boettcher Concert Hall, 905 13th Street. For tickets, which start at $15, call 303-893-4100. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz
Easy to Swallow
Hit the grass: Swallow Hill Music Association kicks off its Shady Grove Picnic Series tonight with a high-energy bluegrass performance by High on the Hog. Shady Grove concerts will be held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 through August at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street; admission is just $5. Find a complete schedule at www.swallowhill.com. -- Julie Dunn
Confidence is king at Stories on Stage's final installation of the year, Confidence Games. Held today at 2 and 7 p.m. at the King Academic and Performing Arts Center, 855 Lawrence Way on the Auraria campus, the program includes Jack London's "To Build a Fire," read by David Margulies, and Robert Garner McBrearty's "First Day," interpreted by Randy Moore.