Playground Ensemble

Our Story

IMGP0148Now in its 11th Season, The Playground Ensemble, in Residence at Metro State University of Denver, is the Rocky Mountain Region’s premier new music group. We are professional musicians, composers, educators, and fans dedicated to presenting chamber music as a living art form.

In addition to an annual concert season that features the work of recognized composers, we work to cultivate a thriving local composition community. With exciting outreach programs like our innovative Young Composers Playground we are showing young people that classical music is vibrant, adventurous and relevant to the world they live in. We hope to inspire our audiences to not only listen, but to create!

Now in its 11th year, our Colorado Composers Concernt (CoCoCo), has features 96 works by 66 different Colorado-based composers including 12 K-12 composers. Be watching our web site for the next deadline and be sure to alert any composers you know to this opportunity. The Playground has performed at many notable venues and festivals including the Biennial of the Americas, the National Performing Arts Convention, the International Society of Improvised Music Annual Conference, Mile High Voltage Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Boettcher Hall, and the Denver Art Museum.

We have performed with, or worked directly with a diverse cast of new music luminaries including Eyvind Kang, Morten Laridsen, So Percuhssion, Evan Ziporyn, Roomful of Teeth, Caroline Shaw, Jace Clayton ( DJ /rupture) and Tatsuya Nakatani. Our efforst have been recognized with awards and funding from the American Music Center, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Meet the Composer, as well as numerous regional foundations and individuals.

The Playground’s mission is to provide stimulating performances, expand common perceptions of both contemporary music and the chamber ensemble, and nurture a community around this music that we love.


The Playground ensemble promotes the music of our time through performance, new music commissions, education, and community outreach. Our goal is to provide stimulating performances, expand common perceptions of both contemporary music and the chamber ensemble, and nurture a community around this music that we love.


  • We will establish ourselves as a new music ensemble of national prominence. We will do so with superior quality performances and adventurous programming.
  • We dare to take programming risks; both of repertoire and venue and do so unashamedly and without fear.
  • We believe in the power of a positive musical experience over the perfect musical performance. We do not support low standards or poor performance practice. We believe that musical pretension, ideas of genre superiority, and “we’re trained professionals, don’t try this at home” arrogance must not just be abandoned but actively destroyed. We empower our audience to believe in their abilities as musicians.
  • We imperatively urge young classical musicians to participate in music composed in their lifetime
  • We continue to expand our program offerings in the public schools and reach out to youth in schools with and without music programs.
  • We maintain working relationships with all higher education music programs in the Denver greater metropolitan area. We will work to establish and maintain these relationships throughout the state of Colorado and throughout the nation.
  • We are a service organization to all of those creating new music in Colorado. We are also a resource for all organizations, media, press, and educators interested in modern music. We wish to share our knowledge and experience in more ways than just concertizing. We believe that this music is for everyone and that community building is an important role of any performing ensemble. We will continue to develop new and continuing audiences for this music that we love.
  • The personal fulfillment of our performers, the camaraderie and enjoyment of working together and personal growth through playing this music we that love is a primary focus of our ensemble.


The Playground has a very active and supportive working Board and volunteer base.

Current Board members include Sarah Whitnah, Brian Ebert, Lorenz Rychner, Shana Kirk, Nathan Hall, Richard Replin, David Farrell, and Loretta K. Notareschi.

We are always looking for interested parties to join. People with expertise in the following areas are especially welcome:

  • Grant writing
  • Corporate Donor relations
  • Audio/video editing and archiving

If you would like to get involved, contact us at