Opera House: An Evening with Judy Collins

Opera House: An Evening with Judy Collins

The Sheridan Arts Foundation presents an evening with Grammy-Award winning folk legend Judy Collins at the Sheridan Opera House, Thursday, February, 18, 2016. Doors open at 7:30 p.m; show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets, $35 ; $45 reserved seats here. Tickets also by calling 970-728-6363 ext. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Creativity,” said Collins in an interview several years ago,” is a voice that calls us from dreams, that peeks out the corners of our eyes when we think no one is looking, the longing that breaks our hearts even when we think we should be happiest and to which we cannot give a name. When I was young, I heard the voice, the ticking, had the dream, but I didn’t know what it was and felt only the pain, the longing that the voice inside brought me.”

Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to my interview with Judy Collins.

(And if you can’t make the show in Telluride, or want more Judy, she returns to Colorado in May to perform at Beottcher Hall.)

Judy Collins' new album, Strangers Again, finds the timeless pop singer teaming up with a dozen different duet partners. Brad Trent/Courtesy of the artist.

Judy Collins’ new album, Strangers Again, finds the timeless pop singer teaming up with a dozen different duet partners.
Brad Trent/Courtesy of the artist.

Imagine the sound if a D-flawless diamond could sing. Or Baccarat crystal. Or the sky after a cold front has passed through. Or a Colorado mountain spring.

In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Now, after 50 albums over five decades, the crystalline voice has lost none of its legendary clarity. Judy Collins still sings like an angel. Her vocal interpretations continue to inspire millions and her poetry remains timeless.

And Judy Collins brings her incandescent verve to the stage of Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House, when she returns on Thursday, February 18.

The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Judy’s dreamy and intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music,won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several top-ten hits, gold- and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.

Judy began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Now her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics, but the focus and regimented practice of classical music would remain a source of strength as Judy navigated the highs and lows of the music business.

In 1961, Judy Collins released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. That began a wonderfully fertile 35-year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records.

Around the same time, Judy became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen, plus Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and up to the present, Judy Collins has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.

In 2015, Judy released her first studio album in four years, Strangers Again. She invited a cast of icons and young talents to sing with her on this fresh collection, from Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne and Jeff Bridges to Glen Hansard, Ari Hest and Bhi Bhiman.  Judy delicately soars over a revitalized “Send In The Clowns” and breathes new life into “Hallelujah.” She puts her indelible touch on songs by Leonard Bernstein, Randy Newman, James Taylor, and other greats.

It would be enough if  Judy Collins was just a singer/songwriter or a political activist, but there’s more. She is also a painter and published author.

Released by Tarcher/Penguin in 2003, Judy’s “Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength,” is a deeply moving memoir focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy.

For her most recent title, the memoir “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music,” Judy reaches deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalls her turbulent childhood, extraordinary rise to fame, her romance with Stephen Stills, her epic victories over depression and alcoholism, and her redemption through embracing a healthy and stable lifestyle and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of 30 years.

In addition, she remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is the director (along with Jill Godmillow) of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico ,“Portrait of a Woman,” the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world–and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young.

Now 76, Judy Collins is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern-day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

To learn more about the remarkable woman and iconic performer, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Judy Collins.

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