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 Wednesday, July 23rd.

Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray, a rich tonal setting of Oscar Wilde’s novel, will be performed tomorrow and Saturday at 7pm at the Wheeler Opera House. Today at noon in Paepcke Auditorium, the composer will join Aspen Music Festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher to discuss the work. Also on this free High Notes program, pianist Jeremy Denk, who plays a recital this evening at 8:30pm in Harris Concert Hall featuring Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Ives’s Second Piano Sonata.

A free Spotlight recital today at 3pm in Harris Concert Hall showcases top students in an eclectic program.

The Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Aspen Music Festival Music Director Robert Spano performs today at 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent. A world premiere of a work by Luke Carlson opens the program, and then Dejan Lazic will play his own Piano Concerto in the Istrian Style, also a world premiere. Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra concludes this adventurous program.

For July 22's weekly Festival Spotlight for the Aspen Music Festival, classical host Chris Mohr talks with opera director Ed Berkeley about the upcoming production of Lowell Liebermann's opera The Picture of Dorian Gray. Alan Fletcher chats with pianist Joyce Yang about her recent Grieg performance and the unusual theatrics of her upcoming guitar/violin/piano recital, and then Chris Mohr talks with a new and a veteran member of the American Brass Quintet about their upcoming performance on July 28.

Today is Tuesday, July 22nd.

Tunes and Tales is a free program for children 4-9 accompanied by an adult, and it takes place this morning at 10:30am at the Basalt Regional Library. Listen to enchanting stories along with classical favorites performed by Aspen Music Festival and School students.

Hear some of the season’s top student talent today at noon in a free Spotlight Recital at the Aspen Chapel.

See an opera diva share tricks of the trade when superstar soprano Deborah Voigt teaches a master class for students of the Aspen Opera Theater Center today at 1pm in Harris Concert Hall.

At 7:30pm tonight, Robert Spano will be at the piano in Harris Concert Hall when he and mezzo-soprano Monica Groop present a recital. Schoenberg’s evocative early work, Verklaerte Nacht opens the program, and then you’ll have a rare chance to hear Frank Martin’s powerful setting of Rilke’s narrative cycle of prose poems Der Cornet.

Today is Monday, July 21st.

Today and every Monday throughout the Festival at 10:15am, the Festival offers a free guided tour of the Bucksbaum Campus. If you haven’t yet toured the newer buildings there, here’s your chance. Meet at the Administration Building.

You can also take a free guided backstage tour of the Benedict Music Tent and Harris Concert Hall, today and every Monday through August 11th at noon. Meet on the Tent Plaza.

Composition Number 2, “Dies Irae” by Ustvolskaya and the Cesar Franck Piano Quintet will be played at 6pm today in the Benedict Music Tent.

The film “The Great Flood,” about the Mississippi River flood of 1927, will be shown tonight at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall with the score performed live by Bill Frisell, electric guitar, Ron Miles, trumpet, Tony Scherr, bass and guitar, and Kenny Wollesen, drums and vibraphone.

Today is Friday, July 18th.

The Aspen Chamber Symphony under the direction of Osmo Vanska performs at 6 today in the Benedict Music Tent. Piano dynamo Joyce Yang plays the Grieg Concerto. Steven Stucky’s Rhapsodies and Carl Nielsen’s First Symphony are also on the program. Arrive at 4:45pm and you can hear Anton Nel in Mozart piano music in Harris Concert Hall before the concert.

Tomorrow at 10am in the Wheeler Opera House, the Aspen Opera Theater Center singers present staged opera scenes from a wide variety of dramatic and comic works. The Center’s director, Edward Berkeley, always has a new spin to add during these popular master classes.

At 1pm tomorrow, head to the top of Aspen Mountain by gondola or foot if you’re ambitious, and enjoy Music on the Mountain, a casual concert in a spectacular setting.

At 4:30pm tomorrow, three lovely chamber works by Brahms, Dvorak and Mozart will be performed in Harris Concert Hall.

The Pacifica Quartet, one of the finest quartets of their generation, perform the Second and Ninth Quartets by Shostakovich tomorrow at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall. Schnittke’s Third Quartet is also on the program.

Sunday’s Aspen Festival Orchestra concert at 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent features Robert McDuffie in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, along with works by Ravel and Brett Dean. Thierry Fischer conducts.

Today is Thursday, July 17th.

Pianist Ann Schein teaches a master class today at 10am in Harris Concert Hall.

At 10:30am at the Pitkin County Library, it’s Tunes and Tales, with stories and music for the 4-9 set. The program is free, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Aspen Community Church is the place to be at noon today for a free Spotlight Recital showcasing some of the summer’s finest students in a wide range of repertoire.

Chapel Chamber Music is offered free every Thursday at 4:15pm throughout the Festival, presenting student quartets, trios and other ensembles in the intimate setting of the Aspen Chapel.

Misha and Cipa Dichter play works for duo piano in the Benedict Music Tent at 6pm, and it’s an all-Romantic program of Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens and Dvorak.

A Baroque Evening with Nicholas McGegan, conductor and harpsichord, takes place at 8:30pm tonight in Harris Concert Hall. Works by C.P.E. Bach, Telemann, Biscogli and J.S. Bach are on tap.

At 8:30pm, it’s a free String Showcase in Edlis Neeson Hall on the Bucksbaum Campus.

Today is Wednesday, July 16th.

Two of this summer’s most engaging personalities, conductor Nicholas McGegan and pianist Joyce Yang, join Alan Fletcher, President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School in conversation today at noon at Christ Episcopal Church. These thoughtful and stimulating discussions known as High Notes continue every Wednesday at noon and are free.

Today’s free Spotlight Recital featuring top student talent takes place at 3pm in Harris Concert Hall.

This summer’s Violin Competition winner takes the Benedict Music Tent stage at 6pm today for the demanding Brahms Concerto. Also heard on this Aspen Philharmonic program will be excerpts from Romeo and Juliet by Berlioz and the Sinfonia de Requiem of Benjamin Britten. Federico Cortese conducts.

French-Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin plays works by John Field, Liszt and two Schubert sonatas including his last great sonata in B flat tonight at 8:30pm in Harris Concert Hall.

The Emerson Quartet's newest member, cellist Paul Watkins, plays with the quartet in Aspen for the first time the evening of July 15. July 15th's Festival Showcase features Chris Mohr's interview with Paul Watkins and Emerson violinist Eugene Drucker. Aspen Music Festival and School Wind Competition Winner Alex Morris drops by to talk about life as a clarinetist, and members of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble make their case that music by living composers can be surprisingly beautiful and accessible.

Today is Tuesday, July 15th.

Today at 10:30am at the Basalt Regional Library, a fun program for ages 4-9 accompanied by an adult. Tunes and Tales will enchant you and the kids with stories and music, and it’s free.

The lovely Aspen Chapel is the venue for today’s free noon Spotlight Recital, showcasing top students in a wide variety of music.

Choong Mo Kang teaches a piano master class today at 1pm in Harris Concert Hall.

Last Monday’s Winds Competition Winner appears today at 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent, as a variety of conducting students take the baton to lead the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra. Ravel’s sensuous Daphnis and Chloe Suite and Sibelius’s majestic Second Symphony are on the program.

At 7:30pm tonight in Harris Concert Hall, the legendary Emerson String Quartet in their first Aspen performance with new cellist extraordinaire Paul Watkins. Beethoven’s own favorite of his late quartets, number 14 in C-sharp minor, and another pillar of the chamber music repertoire, Schubert’s Quartet Number 14, “Death and the Maiden” will make for a moving and memorable evening.

Today is Monday, July 14th.

Kids 2-7 with an adult accompanying them are invited to Gotta Move!, a free and fun program where they’ll discover the basics of beat, tune and rhythm through stories, movement and a short performance. That’s this morning at 10:30am on the Bucksbaum Campus.

At 6pm in Harris Concert Hall, faculty members team up for chamber music including the autumnal Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano of Brahms, Pierre Jalbert’s Wild Ambrosia, and the rarely-heard Sexet in D by Mendelssohn.

Tonight is your last chance to see Tchaikovsky’s tale of frustrated love, Eugene Onegin, as performed in English by the rising stars of the Aspen Opera Theater Center. That’s at 7pm at the Wheeler Opera House.

A very special free recital at 8pm tonight at Harris Concert Hall, featuring ensembles who have been coached extensively by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han. Last year’s program was a major season highlight, so don’t miss this one.

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