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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures and speakers from area events and conferences, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Wilderness Workshop, Hurst Community Initiative, Aspen Words, Aspen Music Festival and School, Aspen Center for Physics, Equity Speaker Series, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

High Notes: Elaine Douvas and Steven Banks

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This event was recorded on July 13, 2022 at Hotel Jerome as part of the High Notes series, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

This conversation with Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, allows musicians Steven Banks and Elaine Douvas to discuss the history and importance of their differing woodwind instruments.

Saxophonist Jess Gillam was not able to come to the Aspen Music Festival to play the saxophone duet. Douvas stepped in to play oboe for the piece. The two discuss the changes they have made in rehearsal to rise to the occasion.

Elaine Douvas is an institution in the oboe world, having served more than 40 years as principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and as oboe instructor at The Juilliard School, where she is chair of its Woodwind Department. She also teaches at Mannes School of Music in New York City; Bard College Conservatory in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley, California. Previously, she taught at Le Domaine Forget in Quebec; 20 years of intensive one-week seminars at Interlochen; and master classes in Beijing, Shanghai and London. Former students hold positions in orchestras and universities worldwide.

Her career highlights include the Strauss Oboe Concerto with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, with James Levine conducting. Also, in 2017, she served as jury chair for the ARD Munich International Oboe Competition. Her CDs include a solo recital for Boston Records; "Pleasure Is the Law" by her quartet of the same name; and "Oboe Divas," on the Oboe Classics label. Douvas trained at Cleveland Institute of Music and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Her first job, at age 21, was principal oboe of the Atlanta Symphony. For many years, she has devoted her spare time to figure skating and has passed 11 U.S. Figure Skating tests.

Steven Banks is the first saxophonist to earn a place on the Young Concert Artists roster in its 59-year history, capturing first prize at the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions as well as the special Korean Concert Society Prize (for support of his Kennedy Center debut), Buffalo Chamber Music Society Prize, Saint Vincent College Concert Series Prize, Sinfonia Gulf Coast Prize, Tannery Pond Concerts Prize, Usedom Music Festival Prize, and Washington Performing Arts Prize.

Banks is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education, performance and newly commissioned works in the classical realm. He gave a talk at the TEDxNorthwesternU 2017 conference, presenting ideas about how to create change in institutionalized prejudices against women and people of color. Since the talk, Banks has written an article for WQXR and given guest lectures on the history of black classical composers.