The associate conductor for the Colorado Symphony and principal guest conductor for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Dragon finds Denver to be a safe and inspiring place to grow as a young artist and explore classical music masterpieces.

Chris Dragon stands out in a crowd. This makes perfect sense, considering it’s his job as associate conductor to perform in front of audiences along with the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall. He stands out in other ways as well. For one, he’s just 26 years old, mastering a genre not typically considered by his peers. And that hair!

One time, he also stood out as a T-Rex. During a performance of the music from the movie “Jurassic Park,” he took the stage in a full Tyrannosaurus Rex costume to the surprise of everyone in the hall, musicians included. That’s the kind of thing you can expect from a Dragon-led performance. “We do so many weird and wonderful things like that, which nobody expects. “

While Chris is an Australian in a foreign land, he feels very at home in Denver. “My first-ever concert was at Red Rocks. It’s such an amazing way to be exposed and invited to this new place. The parallel I draw to it is the Sydney Opera House — there’s just something about places that have this kind of energy. There’s something so special about them.”

The Colorado Symphony encapsulates the diversity found in the city. “We are lucky to have a symphony here that is so creative and plays such a wide variety of music that fits perfectly into the Denver scene,” he says. “We not only do the classical concerts featuring major composers like Beethoven and Mozart, we also commonly feature video game music, screen live films with the orchestra playing music, and collaborate with bands like Greg Allen, DeVotchKa and Elephant Revival. “

Currently in his second season as associate conductor for the Colorado Symphony and starting his position as principal guest conductor for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Dragon finds Denver to be a safe and inspiring place to grow as a young artist and explore classical music masterpieces. “I feel like classical music is as relevant now, as it was back then. As a 26-year-old, I listen to classical music all day; it’s a big part of my life.”

Dragon began his conducting studies in 2011 and was a member of the prestigious Symphony Services International Conductor Development Program. He also has studied with distinguished conductors such as Leonid Grin, Jorma Panula, Paavo and Neeme Jarvi at Jarvi Summer Festival, and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival.

He still works regularly in Australia and has conducted the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and West Australian symphony orchestras, and ABC Music has released a CD of his 2015 debut performance at the Sydney Opera House with Josh Pyke and the Sydney Symphony. In 2016, Dragon made his Brazilian conducting debut with the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre and conducted Wynton Marsalis’ Swing Symphony as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.

However, he finds a great deal of satisfaction from living in The Mile High City. “Denver is an extremely creative place. There’s always something going on whether it’s an art show or live music at bars or the Denver Performing Arts Complex.”

The path that lies ahead for Dragon and the Colorado Symphony is nothing short of brilliant. “We have Brett Mitchell as our new music director. For people that have already seen Brett this season, one of his strengths is the ability to connect with audiences,” Dragon says.

Two of the most exciting highlights of the season are appearances by Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma. “They are top of their field. With world-class artists coming to Denver, there is a lot to look forward to. Our future is extremely bright. It’s very promising!”