Chris Mohr

Host - Classical Music from Aspen

Chris Mohr began composing major vocal works at the age of 12, and his music drama From the Realm of the Shadow has been released on Naxos Records and performed last year in New York at the Riverside Church Theatre. He has been a classical radio announcer since 1978. Along with his wife Karen he published On The Air Magazine, a fourteen-city classical radio magazine, from the late eighties to the late nineties. His two-CD set, The Classical Music Start-Up Kit with extensive liner notes, has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. He has hiked up most of Colorado's fourteeners, has spent every summer for 33 years with his wife Karen enjoying the Aspen Music Festival,  volunteers for the Met Opera Auditions, has twenty years experience volunteering in prisons, and enjoys scuba diving, meditating, bicycling and his cat Pamina.

Bonus story: Thirty four years ago, a friend with a private pilot's license invited to fly me anywhere in Colorado for the cost of gas. Wanting to impress a woman I was intensely interested in, I asked if she'd like to be flown from Denver to Aspen in a small plane to hear Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The plane got 100 feet into the air and ended up crashing into a field just beyond the runway. The plane was damaged but we were unhurt, so I raced us over Independence Pass at race-car speeds. By the time we arrived, the concert was about to begin and there were no tickets to be had. We sat out on the lawn, looking at dark brooding clouds throughjout the first mopvement. During the violent Scherzo, lightning bolts were crashing onto the mountaintops all around us. During the quieter third movement, there was an incredibly gentle mist. As the chorus began to sing the de to Joy, the sun burst out! I should have proposed to her on the spot, but we did marry three years later... and we haven't missed a summer in Aspen together since!

Ways To Connect

Aspen Public Radio's Chris Mohr wraps up a season of interviews with renowned musicians and composers with a "debriefing" interview with Aspen Music Festival and School President and CEO Alan Fletcher. We talk about the pleasant and not-so-pleasant surprises of the season, and then Alan "tips his hand" and talks a little about next year's theme. And yes, Verdi's Aida will be performed on the big stage at the Tent! 

Those iconic structures you've been visiting all summer-- The Tent, Harris Hall, the Bucksbaum Campus, even the student lodging-- were all designed by architect Harry Teague.  We caught up with him to talk about some of the concepts behind the buildings we've all visited so many times.

Thanks to all the listeners who have told me how much they enjoy hearing great classical music every weekday on Aspen Public Radio, the AMFS for helping me find great interviewees for this show, and all the musicians and administrators who keep the music alive in Aspen!

Today is Friday, August 15th.

Lots of great events during this final weekend of the Aspen Music Festival’s 65th season.

The Aspen Chamber Symphony performs tonight at 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent conducted by Jun Markl. Works by Saint-Saens and Richard Strauss, along with the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto with Vladimir Feltsman

At 10am tomorrow in the Wheeler Opera House, it’s the summer’s final opera scenes master class with the up and coming stars of the Aspen Opera Theater Center.

At 1pm tomorrow in the Benedict Music Tent, a dress rehearsal of Sunday’s Aspen Festival Orchestra concert.

A 4:30pm chamber music concert tomorrow in Harris Hall includes the E-flat Piano Quartet by Dvorak and Grazioso! by Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The Aspen Opera Theater Center present’s Bizet’s Carmen at 7pm tonight in the Wheeler Opera House, and that performance will be broadcast live here on Aspen Public Radio.

Pianist Conrad Tao plays an eclectic recital tonight at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall. The program includes Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Tomorrow at 4pm will be the final concert of the season. The Aspen Festival Orchestra will be conducted by Robert Spano and joined by an illustrious lineup of soloists and the Colorado Symphony Chorus conducted by Duain Wolfe. Arvo Part’s Fratres opens the program, followed by the Monologue and Coronation Scene from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.

Today is Wednesday, August 13th.

Today’s High Notes at noon in Paepcke Auditorium features a discussion of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in anticipation of Sunday’s Aspen Festival Orchestra performance. Admission is free.

At 3pm today, top student talent perform a diverse program in a free Spotlight Recital in Harris Concert Hall.

The Aspen Philharmonic gives its final concert of the season at 6pm tonight in the Benedict Music Tent. Jane Glover conducts and violinist Fabiola Kim will be featured in The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini will be performed by the Piano Competition Winner, and Mendelssohn’s 3rd Symphony, “Scottish,” concludes the program.

Metropolitan Opera favorites soprano Susanna Phillips and bass-baritone Eric Owens will give a recital tonight at 8:30pm in Harris Concert Hall with Aspen Music Festival Music Director Robert Spano at the piano.

The last week of the Aspen Music Festival always seems packed especially tightly with great musical artists, and this year in no exception.  Today host Chris Mohr chats with soprano Susanna Phillips in anticipation of her joint recital with bass-baritone Eric Owens. We also catch up with her former professor and composer Philip Lasser, whose recently released CD Colors of Feelings features Susanna's expressive and beautiful voice. We also talk with Aspen Percussion Ensemble director Jonathan Haas and hear from some of his students. We end the show with a visit to a rehearsal of the Aspen Jewish Congregation's vocal tribute to Jewish Stories and American Songs, "Standing Out, Fitting In" at the Aspen District Theatre.

Today is Tuesday, August 12th.

A free Spotlight Recital takes place today at noon in the beautiful Aspen Chapel.

At 1pm in Harris Concert Hall, Donald Weilerstein, father of cellist Alisa Weilerstein, gives a violin master class.

At 4pm today in the Benedict Music Tent, the season’s final free concert by the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra presents top conducting students in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, sometimes called the “Turkish” Concerto. The soloist will be the AACA Violin Competition Winner. Also on the program, Mahler’s 5th Symphony which includes the exquisite Adagietto.

Nikolai Lugansky plays a piano recital of works by Franck, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff tonight at 7:30pm in Harris Concert Hall.

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