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Alan Fletcher sums up the Aspen music festival's season and offers a peek behind next summer's curtain

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Late August traditionally brings the finale of the Aspen Music Festival and School — and this summer's closing performance arrives at the Benedict Music Tent this Sunday afternoon.

Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of AMFS, reports that although some orchestra members tested positive for COVID-19, no guest artist or visiting conductor became ill or arrived ill — which was not the case last summer.

Fletcher says the season was successful musically, but audiences were down 15%, still less than one might expect in such relatively troubled times.

Diversity was a major commitment at the festival this summer, but that is only a beginning.

As Fletcher said, you can’t just look back on one season and proclaim: There, we did our diversity program.

As for what’s planned for next year's festival, Fletcher shared a few thoughts, including that the central theme will be "nature."

“So, the theme is taken from the first movement of 'The Rite of Spring,' which is 'Adoration of the Earth,'" Fletcher said.

Nature does seem a perfect theme for the music we’ll be hearing next summer in Aspen.

However, the 2022 season is not yet ready to draw down the curtain.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, the music tent will host what is not only the grandest event of the season but, as Fletcher says, one of the grandest classical events imaginable: a performance of Hector Berlioz's "Requiem."

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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.