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Violinist Melissa White in Aspen to conduct and perform 'The Four Seasons'

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Melissa White
Melissa White

The woman whose photo graces the cover of the Aspen Music Festival and School’s calendar and brochures this summer is African-American violinist Melissa White, here in Aspen to conduct and perform Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons" and a Bach Violin Concerto on August 11.

The classical music world is changing, with both composers and performers beginning to reflect a wider cultural range.

White fell in love with the violin as a four-year-old in Michigan watching Itzhak Perlman on "Sesame Street."

From Philadelphia, she went on to New York City when she was chosen as a founding member of the Harlem Quartet, where all four players were persons of color.

White, emerging from her childhood living-room-TV experience with "Sesame Street," is likely to bring a certain freshness of approach to the ever-familiar music.

The world of classical and fine music has begun to concede that new and different can be good, even if applied to the old and established.

Classical music reporter Chris Mohr has loved classical music since he was twelve. “And I owe it all to radio,” Chris explains. “I grew up in a farm town east of Cleveland. One day I turned on the local classical radio station. They were playing Vivaldi, and it was like the gates of heaven opened up to me!" Chris is also a composer, and is working on a 53-note-to-the-octave oratorio, "Melodies of the Shoreless Sea." This is his ninth summer working for Aspen Public Radio.