MahlerFest II, in 1989, posed formidable logistical problems, and Olson was skeptical about the chance of success. It was one thing to find enough musicians to do the First Symphony, and quite another to find the 110 to 115 musicians needed for the Second Symphony, along with a large chorus and two soloists. Much to his surprise, Olson had more interested musicians than he could use, since, at the time, the Second was not often performed, and many wanted the opportunity to play it. The same was true for the vocal forces: “I would walk over glass from Chicago to sing Mahler,” stated one soloist. Olson also hired some students to assist with the many details that accompanied the huge undertaking. This time, it was necessary to charge admission to offset the increased budget of approximately $2500.
The problems were solved and MahlerFest II took shape. Again, the festival led off with lectures, followed by the chamber concert, featuring more songs from the Lieder und Gesange and a few from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, theRuckert Lieder and the Bach Suite that Mahler arranged from BWV 1067 and BWV 1068.
The single performance of theResurrection Symphony garnered a tremendous response from the public and press alike, and Colorado MahlerFest was launched, proving it could handle the gigantic Mahler works as well as the smaller chamber pieces. To the delight of all involved Mahler fanatics, MahlerFest proceeded to grow and gain recognition in ways that no one had imagined.