A Conversation with Longmont Symphony Music Director and Conductor Elliot Moore on the Nutcracker, Holiday Magic and More
We sat down with Longmont Symphony’s Music Director and Conductor Elliot Moore to discuss his seven seasons as Music Director of Colorado’s 57-year-old Longmont Symphony Orchestra, some of his career highlights and what the upcoming holiday performances of the Nutcracker and Candlelight: A Baroque Christmas mean to him.
Longmont Magazine: What have been some of the standout moments of your career?
Elliot Moore: I had the chance to lead Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, including a Detroit-based gospel choir plus about 50 boys who attended Detroit School of Performing Arts, an inner-city high school.
We created magic that evening; the political, racial, age, and gender-based lines that typically divide people disappeared. Instead, we met in a way that celebrated and appreciated our shared humanity to create something together that was greater than any of us. I believe that both in music and in life, we can make the most impact when we collaborate.
LM: What drew you to the position as the Longmont Symphony’s Music Director?
EM: I’ve always believed that an orchestra should mirror its community. To that end, I felt a sense of pride and a desire for Longmonters to embrace their greatness. I felt drawn to this dynamic of meeting the artistic needs of the orchestra by pairing the right repertoire and guest artists for our community. It is a match made in heaven!
LM: What can audiences expect to experience when they attend the Symphony’s upcoming performances, including the Nutcracker and Candlelight: A Baroque Christmas?
EM: I wanted to lean into this experience with a program called Candlelight: A Baroque Christmas this holiday season. Featuring a superb soprano, Ekaterina Kotcherguina, with selections that include Scarlatti’s Christmas Cantata and Handel’s Messiah, we’ll also be joined by the chamber choir from Erie High School in a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria.
“Seeing my four-year-old’s eyes sparkle as she’s completely engaged in our Nutcracker production reminds me of the magic I felt while watching the performance as a child. It’s an unbelievable honor to be able to bring that feeling to other families.”
Our Nutcracker performances hold a special place in my heart. The dancers at the Boulder Ballet are second to none, and the production value is astronomical. Our performances, complete with a live orchestra, full dance company, and beautiful sets, elicit that feeling of holiday magic like nothing else.
LM: How would you describe The Nutcracker’s magic?
EM: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is filled with magic and transformation; the Nutcracker is transformed from an inanimate object into a prince, young Clara grows from a little girl to a woman, and falling snowflakes become dancers. Plus, we get a mini voyage around the world in the “Land of the Sweets” before Clara transforms back into a little girl, magically finding her way back to the safety of her own bed.
To me, The Nutcracker encapsulates the magic of the holiday season. Yes, Santa Claus delivering presents led by a flying sled pulled by reindeer is pretty awesome, but so is waking up to a silent layer of freshly fallen snow and the smell of a live tree emanating from your living room. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker gives us a chance to experience the magic through multiple senses.
LM: What makes the Nutcracker a fantastic experience for families?
EM: As a parent myself, I’m struck by the joy I experience every time I watch my children experience aspects of my own childhood—and The Nutcracker is no exception.
Seeing my four-year-old’s eyes sparkle as she’s completely engaged in our Nutcracker production reminds me of the magic I felt while watching the performance as a child. It’s an unbelievable honor to be able to bring that feeling to other families.
The Longmont Symphony also produces a “Gentle Nutcracker,” a sensory-friendly version of the Nutcracker with the Boulder Ballet for neurodiverse children and their families. We’re proud of our commitment to making sure everyone, including this segment of our community, feels welcome at our live performances.
This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
By Pam Moore, Longmont Magazine