Festival Notes

A daily walk through of Aspen Music Festival and School events. Featuring a daily schedule and interesting background information on the Festival's artists, students and featured composers, Festival Notes prepares audiences for their day's musical journey.

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.

Today is Thursday, July 31st. A busy day at the Aspen Music Festival and School with a variety of events, many of them free.

Pianist Julian Martin will give a master class at 10am this morning in Harris Concert Hall.

At 10:30am, it’s Tunes and Tales at the Pitkin County Library, a free and fun program for children ages 4-9 accompanied by an adult. Listen to enchanting stories along with classical favorites performed by AMFS students.

Today at noon at the Aspen Community Church, there’s a free Spotlight Recital showcasing top students.

Chapel Chamber Music takes place today at 4:15pm at the Aspen Chapel with a diverse program played by talented ensembles. Admission is free.

At 5pm at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, guitar students of Sharon Isbin will offer a free recital.

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

Pianist Andreas Haefliger performs works of Beethoven, Berio and Schumann tonight at 8pm in Harris Concert Hall.

The weekly free String Showcase with some of this summer’s finest string students will be offered tonight at 8:30pm in Edlis Neeson Hall on the Bucksbaum campus.

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 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.

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