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

Today is Tuesday, August 5th.

A free Spotlight Recital today at noon at the beautiful Aspen Chapel showcases top student talent.

At 1 today in Harris Concert Hall, cellist Alisa Weilerstein gives a master class. Her solo recital will be tomorrow at 8:30pm in Harris.

At 4pm today, the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra gives a free concert featuring this summer’s conducting students. The winner of the brass/percussion competition will play a concerto, and the tragic and beautiful 6th Symphony of Tchaikovsky concludes the program.

Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen plays Ballades of Grieg and Brahms and all four of the Chopin Ballades tonight at 7:30pm in Harris Concert Hall.

Today is Monday, August 4th.

Today’s the last Gotta Move! program of the season for kids 2-7 accompanied by an adult. Meet at 10:30am at the Bucksbaum Campus Administration Building and watch your children discover the basics of beat, tune and rhythm through stories, movement, and a short performance by AFMS students. Admission is free.

Hear this summer’s finest harp students as they compete today at 5pm in Castle Creek I on the Bucksbaum Campus. These competitions are always free and you can attend all or part of the event.

Jonathan Haas conducts the Aspen Percussion Ensemble today at 6pm in Harris Concert Hall. The program includes Peter Schickele’s Percussion Sonata No. 1, subtitled “Aspen.”

Today is Friday, August 1st.

One of the Aspen Music School’s most illustrious alumni, Sarah Chang, returns to the Festival tonight at 6pm for the Dvorak Violin Concerto. Hugh Wolff conducts the Aspen Chamber Symphony in a program that also includes Ligeti’s Roumanian Concerto, the gorgeous Prelude from Capriccio by Richard Strauss, and one of the most beloved American classics, Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

Tomorrow at 10am at the Wheeler Opera House, the up and coming stars of the Aspen Opera Theater Center will be joined by the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra for staged opera scenes complete with supertitles.

Head up to the top of Aspen Mountain by gondola (or if you’re a strong hiker, by foot) to enjoy the view and the free 1:00pm Music on the Mountain concert.

At 4:30pm tomorrow, it’s Chamber Music in Harris Concert Hall, featuring the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Sydney Hodkinson and a performance of Schumann’s melodious Piano Quintet, opus 44.

A free piano competition takes place tomorrow at 6pm in Edlis Neeson Hall on the Bucksbaum Campus.

At 8pm tomorrow in Harris Concert Hall, don’t miss a rare chance to see a duo recital by superstars mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and guitarist Sharon Isbin in an all-Spanish and Latin-American program. Then on Sunday at 6:30pm in Paepcke Auditorium, there will be a screening of Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, a documentary about this extraordinary artist.

Leonard Slatkin returns to conduct the Aspen Festival Orchestra on Sunday at 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent, joined by Garrick Ohlssohn for the Chopin Second Piano Concerto. Fandangos by Roberto Sierra and the Richard Strauss Alpine Symphony also on that program.

Christopher O’Riley’s popular radio show From the Top comes to Harris Concert Hall this Sunday at 8pm.  Be part of the audience during this live taping featuring top AMFS students.

A special conversation with Rufus Wainwright speaking with Alan Fletcher of the Aspen Music Festival and School ahead of tonight's (July 30th) performance at the festival of selections from Wainwright's opera "Prima Donna".

Today is Wednesday, July 30th.

Singer-songwriter-composer Rufus Wainwright shares insights on his music today during a free High Notes conversation in Paepcke Auditorium today at noon. At 8:30pm tonight in Harris Concert Hall, scenes from Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna will be performed by members of the Aspen Opera Theater Singers and Metropolitan Opera soprano Deborah Voigt. That recital, called “The Beautiful Voice” also includes scenes from Strauss’s comic masterpiece Der Rosenkavalier.

First Glimpse, a free recital of works by this summer’s composition students, takes place at 3pm today in Harris Concert Hall.

The Aspen Philharmonic conducted by Hannu Lintu will give a concert at 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent. Two works by Sibelius: the nationalistic Finlandia, and the exquisite and virtuosic Violin Concerto with solists Augustin Hadelich, followed by the Fifth Symphony of Prokofiev. Fourteen years had passed since Prokofiev's last symphony, and World War II was still raging during the symphony's gestation. Prokofiev composed it in a safe haven run by the Soviet Union. He intended the symphony as "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit.” He added "I cannot say that I deliberately chose this theme. It was born in me and clamoured for expression. The music matured within me. It filled my soul."

Today's Festival Showcase features guitarist Sharon Isbin with a generous sampling of her different performing styles.We chat about how her meditation practice informs her performances, and talk about her new documentary: Sharon Isbin - Troubador and her live collaboration with mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard. Next, we talk with philanthropist Joan Harris, whose name appears outside Harris Concert Hall. Due to Deborah Voigt's illness, we were not able to carry on with her  interview and instead talked about the Unabashedly Atonal series and the surprisingly beautiful music that appears in it.

Today is Tuesday, July 29th.

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

At 1pm, longtime Aspen Music School faculty member Paul Kantor gives a violin master class in Harris Concert Hall.

The American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra gives a free concert today at 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent, featuring this summer’s conducting students in Beethoven’s Second Symphony and Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration. The Orchestra will also be joined by this summer’s Low Strings Competition winner.

At 7:30pm tonight, the American String Quartet returns to Aspen for a performance of the late Beethoven Quartet in E flat major, op. 127 and the lyrical Piano Quintet in A  by Dvorak with Anton Nel at the piano.

Today is Monday, July 28th.

Restless children of all ages are invited to Gotta Move!, a free program exploring the basics of beat, tune and rhythm through stories, movement and a short performance by AMFS students. It’s for ages 2-7 accompanied by an adult and takes place this morning at 10:30am on the Bucksbaum Campus. Meet at the Administration Building.

At 6pm this evening in Harris Concert Hall, members of the Aspen Music School faculty have chamber music for your enjoyment. They’ll be playing the Suite liturgique by Andre Jolivet and the Grand Septet by Franz Berwald, a Swedish Romantic composer who was generally ignored during his lifetime and who made his living as an orthopedic surgeon and later as the manager of a saw mill and glass factory.

Today is Friday, July 25th.

Jeremy Denk gives a piano master class today at 10am in Harris Concert Hall.

Two free programs today, a Spotlight Recital at noon in the Aspen Community Church and a 2pm piano recital in the Aspen Chapel.

Christian Arming conducts the Aspen Chamber Symphony in Debussy’s Six epigraphes antiques in an arrangement by Aspen Music Festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher tonight at 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent. Lynn Harrell will join the orchestra for the 3rd Cello Concerto of Augusta Read Thomas, “Legend of the Phoenix.” Also on the program, Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen and the Catfish Row Suite from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

The American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra teams up with the Aspen Opera Theater Center for an Opera Scenes Master Class tomorrow at 10am in the Wheeler Opera House.

At 7pm tomorrow at the Wheeler, it’s the second and final performance of Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Mahler’s mammoth 3rd Symphony is the single work on Sunday’s 4:00pm Aspen Festival Orchestra concert. Robert Spano conducts and will be joined by Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, the Colorado Children’s Chorale and the Women’s Voices of the Aspen Opera Theater Center.

Today is Thursday, July 24th.

Got kids 4-9 years old? Then head to the Pitkin County Library at 10:30am this morning for Tunes and Tales, a free program which will enchant you and your children with stories and classical favorites performed by AMFS students.

The Aspen Community Church is the site for today’s free noon Spotlight Recital, with talented students playing a diverse program.

First Glimpse, a performance of works by this summer’s composition program students, takes place today at 4:15pm at the Aspen Chapel. The program is free.

The Basalt Regional Library hosts a free recital today at 5:15pm.

Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray will be performed tonight and Saturday at 7pm in the Wheeler Opera House, presented by the Aspen Opera Theater Center and conducted by Colorado favorite Michael Christie. This rich tonal setting of Oscar Wilde’s novel explores art, hedonism, and the outer boundaries of morality.

Soprano Deborah Voigt joins acclaimed singer-songwriter-composer Rufus Wainwright for a special event tonight at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall. Wainwright is known for his brilliant originality in pop, jazz, classical and theater works.

Top string players perform tonight at 8:30pm in a free String Showcase in Edlis Neeson Hall on the Bucksbaum Campus.

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