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 Friday, July 11th.

Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han will give a master class this morning at 10am in Harris Concert Hall.

At 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent, it’s dynamic conductor Nicholas McGegan leading the Aspen Chamber Symphony in works by Schumann, Schnittke and Mendelssohn’s popular “Italian” Symphony. Remember to arrive early for Mozart piano music at 4:45pm in Harris Concert Hall.

Tomorrow at 10am in the Wheeler Opera House, see up and coming opera stars in a variety of scenes at the weekly Master Class. At 7pm at the Wheeler, the second of three fully staged performances of Tchaikovsky’s story of passion and yearning, Eugene Onegin, sung in English.

At 8pm tomorrow, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and pianist Anton Nel perform works of Mozart, Somei Satoh, Ravel, Piazzolla and Mason Bates in Harris Concert Hall.

Sunday morning at 9am in Harris, you can hear the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra in works by some of this summer’s composition students.

At 4pm on Sunday in the Benedict Music Tent, the Aspen Festival Orchestra in two of the most beloved works from the Romantic period: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and Dvorak’s New World Symphony. James Gaffigan conducts.

Today is Thursday, July 10th.

Several free events, the season’s first opera at the Wheeler, and a live taping of Fred Child’s popular radio show Performance Today: it’s all happening today at the Aspen Music Festival.

Do you have or know some children 4-9 years old? This morning’s 10:30am program Tunes and Tales is just for them, and it’s free at the Pitkin County Library. They’ll be enchanted by the storytelling along with classical favorites performed by Aspen Music Festival and School students.

At noon today, another free Spotlight Recital for your lunchtime enjoyment in the intimate Aspen Community Church.

Chapel Chamber Music presents some of the Festival’s finest ensembles every Thursday at 4:15pm in Aspen Chapel in a free series.

A free family concert today at 5pm on the Bucksbaum Campus is a great way to introduce your children to the delights of classical music. A lively short concert features Stravinksy’s The Soldier’s Tale and will be preceded at 4 with free, kid-friendly refreshments.

The Aspen Opera Theater Center presents Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsksy’s drama of unrequited love, tonight at 7pm at the Wheeler Opera House, sung in English. It will be performed again on Saturday, July 12 and on Monday, July 14, also at 7pm.

At 8pm in Harris Concert Hall, radio host Fred Child will be joined by pianist Steven Osborne, violinist Daniel Hope and an AMFS student for a live taping of Performance Today.

And finally at 8:30pm, top-notch students present a free String Showcase on the Bucksbaum Campus.

Today is Wednesday, July 9th.

Today at noon in Paepcke Auditorium, High Notes presents noted musicologist, author and cultural historian Joseph Horowitz discussing the effects of the New World on the music of Dvorak and Mahler with Aspen Music Festival and School President and CEO Alan Fletcher. The program is free.

At 3pm, it’s a free Spotlight Recital in the superb acoustics of Harris Concert Hall. Hear some of this summer’s finest student performers in an eclectic program.

The Aspen Philharmonic will be in concert at 6pm at the Benedict Music Tent, with Nikolas Naegele conducting. A work by Sydney Hodkinson, the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, and Dvorak’s uplifting 8th Symphony on this evening’s program.

At 8:30pm tonight in Harris Concert Hall, violinist Daniel Hope offers a recital featuring Beethoven’s heroic Egmont Overture in an arrangement by Jan Mueller-Wieland, and Stravinsky’s parable of a soldier who makes a deal with the devil, The Soldier’s Tale.

This week's Festival Showcase with host Chris Mohr begins with a conversation with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers talking about her recital July 12 with two world premieres and here newest recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. We enjoy a few minutes with Aspen Opera Theater director Ed Berkeley to talk about why his Opera Master Classes every Saturday morning are so entertaining, and the aching beauty of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Oneigen. Our Festival Spotlight ends on a more serious note as we talk with composer Syd Hodkinson about his orchestral work, Epitaphion, his musical reminiscences about a dear friend who died too young.

This is Festival Notes. Today is Tuesday, July 8th.

Today at noon in the Aspen Chapel, hear a free Spotlight Recital showcasing some of the Festival’s talented students.

Violinist Daniel Hope teaches a Master Class in Harris Concert Hall today at 1pm.

At 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent, it’s the weekly free concert by the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra, today featuring the AACA Piano Competition Winner in Mozart’s brilliant and stormy Piano Concerto Number 24. Works of Thomas Ades, Ravel and Debussy are also on the program.

The Takacs String Quartet offers the second of two recitals tonight at 7:30pm in Harris Concert Hall. Hear two highly personal works by Czech composers: Janacek’s First Quartet, inspired by Tolstoy’s novella “The Kreutzer Sonata,” and Smetana’s authobiographical First Quartet, “From My Life.” Beethoven’s firey Second “Razumovsky” Quartet concludes the program.

At 8pm tonight at Belly Up Aspen: Under the Radar: A Tribute to Frank Zappa, with the Aspen Percussion Ensemble conducted by Jonathan Haas.

Today at 5pm, a competition for wind players takes place at Edlis Neeson Hall on the Bucksbaum Campus.

The winner will be the soloist on next week’s Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra concert.

A varied program of chamber music featuring the intensely dramatic Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G minor will be presented at 6pm today in Harris Concert Hall.

Tomorrow at 4pm in the Benedict Music Tent, the Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra Piano Competition Winner will perform Mozart’s celebrated Piano Concerto No. 24, about which Beethoven remarked to a fellow composer, “We shall never be able to do anything like that.”  The concert is free.

Happy Independence Day!

The annual free Fourth of July celebration concert takes place today at 4 in the Benedict Music Tent with stirring patriotic favorites conducted by Lawrence Isaacson.

Tomorrow morning at 10 at the Wheeler Opera House, exciting young singers from the Aspen Opera Theater Center present semi-staged opera scenes with supertitles in a Master Class by director Edward Berkeley.

Tomorrow at 1, it’s the first Music on the Mountain of the season: a casual concert in a stunning setting atop Aspen Mountain. Take the gondola (or a strenuous hike) and enjoy a picnic while listening to top student talent.

The dynamic pianist Wu Han performs Mozart in tomorrow’s 4:45 preconcert chamber music at Harris Concert Hall. At 6, it’s the Aspen Chamber Symphony conducted by Music Director Robert Spano in Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and iconic Fifth Symphony, and Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto with superstar Gil Shaham as soloist.

Sunday’s Aspen Festival Orchestra concert at 4 features another master of the violin, Joshua Bell, in the lush and lyrical Bruch First Violin Concerto. Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya also eads the AFS in selections from Falla’s Three Cornered Hat Suites and Saint-Saens’ majestic “Organ Symphony.”

Pianist Stephen Hough teaches a master class today from 10am to noon in Harris Concert Hall.

A Spotlight Recital showcasing top student talent takes place at noon at the Aspen Community Church. At 4:15pm, Chapel Chamber Music at the Aspen Chapel offers another chance to enjoy this summer’s rising stars. At 8:30pm tonight at the Bucksbaum campus, a String Showcase features more young musicians. All three of these events are free.

The first of two season recitals by one of the world’s greatest string quartets, the Takacs, takes place tonight at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall. The Janacek Second Quartet, “Intimate Letters,” portrays the 63 year old composer’s obsession with a 25 year old married woman. It was, as he described, “written in fire.” Also on the program, the moving Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, and Beethoven’s Late Quartet in A minor, composed after his recovery from a serious illness and including the intensely emotional and spiritual movement, “Holy song of Thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian Mode.”

High Notes, a series of free conversations with some of the performers and composers featured during the Festival’s 65th season, begins today at noon at Christ Episcopal Church. Aspen Music Festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher will offer an overview and point out highlights of this summer’s repertoire, and talk with members of the Boulder-based, internationally acclaimed Takacs Quartet as they preview their July 3rd and July 8th recitals.

At 6pm in the Benedict Music Tent, the Aspen Philharmonic conducted by Hugh Wolff performs the Brahms Tragic Overture, Beethoven’s thrilling 7th Symphony, and the lyrical 3rd Violin Concerto of Saint-Saens with 20 year old rising star, Aspen alum (and former star baseball player!) William Hagen as soloist.

Pianist and composer Stephen Hough will play works of German Romantics and his own Second Sonata tonight at 8:30pm in Harris Concert Hall.

On today's Festival Showcase, host Chris Mohr chats with members of the Zora  Quartet, practicing and performing this summer at Aspen's Center for Advanced Quartet Studies. Then, Chris offers up an exceptional archival "Check 1,2" interview with violinist Robert McDuffie, as he talked about everything from chamber music to the day he got to play blues rock with Greg Allman.

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