Aspen Music Festival and School
Truly one of the most magnificent creative elements in Aspen, the Aspen Music Festival and School is considered the premier classical music festival in the United States. Hosting over 300 music events in its summer season and attracting the most talented classical musicians from around the globe to Colorado for an unmatched collection of performances and education. Many of the events are free to the public, and events at the music tent can always be heard while sipping wine and eating cheese on the lawn.
The Festival runs from late June until mid August and is in its sixty fifth year in 2014. The theme for the 2014 season will be The New Romantics, which will explore the resurgence of Romantic imagination in music of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The school is operated at the facility of the Aspen Country Day School which is a short way up Castle Creek just past the Aspen Hospital. This scenic and peaceful location is easily reached by bike or bus which is how the majority of the students get around. The facility has been completely renovated in the last year and is now itself a work of art, complimenting the talent that attends here every year.
Performances are held at a variety of venues around Aspen including the Benedict Music Tent; the tent has the openness of a outdoor facility with concert hall acoustics. The tent seats over 2,000 guests and was designed by legendary Aspen architect Harry Teague. The Harris Concert Hall donated by Joan and Irving Harris is an imitate hall with a warm wood interior, that seats around 500 people. The Wheeler Opera House built in 1889 and gracefully restored in 1984 is a Victorian masterpiece and it is a treat to see any event here but classical music really lends itself to this venue.
In addition to these magnificent venues, students take it upon themselves to play nightly around town as solo artists, or in small groups. This adds amazing ambiance to the town and is an opportunity to see world-class musicians as you stroll to your favorite restaurant.
Students study all the major elements of orchestra with ensembles focusing primarily on traditional configurations—string quartets, piano trios, piano quartets, piano quintets, and wind and brass quintets. In addition to weekly private lessons, students in this program play in one or more of the AMFS’s five orchestras.
The schools primary conductor is Robert Spano fo the Altanta Symphony. Mr. Spano has a major career as a conductor and maintains links with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, which he attended, and Emory University.
If you find yourself in Aspen in the summer attending one of these events is an opportunity not to be missed.