© 2024 Aspen Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

‘Insane’ housing costs force Aspen Music Festival to trim enrollment and cancel performances by student ensemble

Aspen Music Festival and School

The Aspen Music Festival and School has cut its enrollment by 80 and canceled performances by the all-student Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra ahead of the organization’s flagship summer program.

As The Aspen Times first reported, the organization made the changes in February due to the high cost of housing in Aspen.

Even with the cuts, the Aspen Music Festival and School will still spend a record amount on housing this summer — about $2.6 million, according to the Times.

“Real estate-related costs have just skyrocketed,” said president and CEO Alan Fletcher. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

480 classical music students are expected to attend the eight-week performance and training program this year, down from about 560.

In a typical year, about 200 students have to find housing on the rental market, while the rest stay in dorm-style rooms.

“It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said Fletcher, adding that the current real estate market is “insane.”

He said the organization will have to “get creative” if housing costs continue rising.

For future years, organizers are considering a range of options, including a tent colony.

“And I don't see any reason why they would start coming down in a significant way,” he said. “We’ll just have to budget differently. And that's a heavy lift.”

Aspen-area property owners interested in renting to festival students and faculty should contact the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Dominic joined the Edlis Neeson arts and culture desk at Aspen Public Radio in Jan. 2022.
Related Content