Listen Live

Chris Mohr

Host - Classical Music from Aspen

Summer classical music host Chris Mohr is coming up to Aspen for his sixth summer on Aspen Public Radio. He 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. Most of the music I heard growing up was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and other favorites of my parents.

One evening, I turned on the classical radio station in Cleveland, thirty miles away. Vivaldi was pouring out of the speakers, like a light pouring down from heaven, and I sat completely entranced. ‘I have not lived until this moment,’ I said to myself.  For months I spent all my paper route money buying Vivaldi records, and listening to the classical station.”

That classical music radio station was Chris’s lifeline to a world that was not otherwise accessible to him. Chris feels indebted to radio, and especially to classical music on the radio. “I sometimes imagine that I’m playing a great classical piece, and that somewhere down valley a twelve year old kid is connecting to classical music for the first time, just like I did. In fact, once, when I was playing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, a teenager called me and asked what it was. ‘Wow man, it’s like 19th century Pink Floyd!’ That really made my week. I felt like I was paying it forward for the gift I had received decades ago.”

Chris and Karen Mohr at the Colorado Symphony Ball

Chris is deeply  committed to classical music radio. He’s been a part-time classical announcer since 1978, and never tires of exploring the riches of the classics. “To be up in Aspen every summer, sharing great music on the air every afternoon and hearing Aspen Music Festival concerts every evening is truly a dream come true!”

Bonus story from Chris: A little over three decades ago, a friend with a private pilot's license invited to fly me anywhere in Colorado for the cost of gas. Wanting to impress a woman I was intensely interested in, I asked if she'd like to be flown from Denver to Aspen in a small plane to hear Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The plane got 100 feet into the air and ended up crashing into a field just beyond the runway!

The plane was damaged but we were unhurt, so I raced us over Independence Pass. By the time we arrived, the concert was about to begin and there were no tickets to be had. We sat out on the lawn, looking at dark brooding clouds throughout the first movement.

During the violent Scherzo, lightning bolts were crashing onto the mountaintops all around us. During the quieter third movement, there was an incredibly gentle mist. As the chorus began to sing the Ode to Joy, the sun burst out! I should have proposed to her on the spot, but we did marry three years later... and we haven't missed a summer in Aspen together since!

The final Festival Showcase of the 2019 summer season of the Aspen Music Festival and School featurees a wrap up conversation with Alan Fletcher and Asadour Santourian, as well as a conversation with four young conductors from the Conducting Academy. We'll be back in late June 2019!

As we approach the final weekend of the Aspen Music Festival, we look several decades back with conductor/trombonist Per Brevig, who has taught at the Aspen Music School for 50 years.

Looking into music's future, we also talk to 13 year-old pianist Harmony Zhu, who already has an international career and is working on her Piano Concerto. And for this Sunday, we have an inspiring conversation with mezzo soprano Kelley O'Connor, who sings a pivotal movement in Mahler's Second Symphony this Sunday.

The final concert of the season on Sunday August 18 at 4:00 pm is Mahler's Symphony No. 2, one of the most vast, complex, intimate, personal, despairing, triumphant pieces ever composed. Alan Fletcher talks with the two vocal soloists in this week's High Notes. Alan also talks with pianist Jonathan Biss.

Tune in to Aspen Public Radio Thursday, August 15 at 7:00 pm for a live broadcast of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which many believe is the greatest  opera of all time. The 6' 7 " David Weigel stars as Figaro and is joined by a stellar cast, conducted by Jane Glover and directed by Ed Berkeley. Hosted by Chris Mohr. 

Alan Fletcher talks about Renee Fleming and Patrick Summers and plans for next year's opera program. We also catch up with harpist Nancy Allen, violinist Stefan Jackiw, and composer Christopher Theofanidis.

Alan Fletcher joins pianist Simone Dinnerstein and composer Christopher Theofanidis in a High Notes conversation.

A great pianist, a renowned conductor, an up-and-coming opera star all chat with Aspen Public Radio host Chris Mohr about their upcoming performances.

Alan Fletcher asks the Escher Quartet about the pluses and minues of life in a string quartet.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin talks about her new CDs, her upcoming concert with Jessica Rivera, the importance of immigrants to our country, and much more.

Missy Mazzoli, composer of the one-act opera Proving Up, talks about life in the prairies in the nineteenth century when the Homestead Act was giving out free land to families who could prove themselves up.

A first ever broadcast of an excerpt of one of Sharon Isbin's Rumi collaborations with Isabel Leonard is also included.

Join High Notes with Alan Fletcher, Alisa Weilerstein, Colin Currie and Inon Barnaton as they discuss their  upcoming concerts.


Leonard Slatkin and Seong-Jin Cho perform Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto July 21, and most people may not know that conductor Leonard Slatkin has been an occasional classical music DJ since 1968! Pianist Arie Vardi also talks about his all-Bach program where four nine-foot Steinway grands and an orchestra will all be onstage at Harris Hall July 20!

Anton Nel, Seong-Jin Cho, Anneleen Lenaerts all chat with Alan Fletcher about their upcoming concerts with the Aspen Music Festival.

Aspen Public Radio  keeps you up on upcoming events at the Aspen Music Festival.  

Dorothy Gal stars in Sondheim's A Little Night Music; percussionist Jonathan Haas talks up his upcoming concerts. John Rojak and the American Brass Quintet are featured; author and music historian Betsy Schwarm talks about her new book about American composers as the Aspen Music Festival unfolds its theme of Being American.

Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour had to take over and conduct the Brandenburg concerto concerts at the Aspen Music Festival July 10 and 11 when Nicholas McGegan had to bow out.

He and  flugelhorn virtuoso Tamas Palfalvi discuss Bach's most beloved orchestral materpieces. 

A walk through of Aspen Music Festival and School events every weekday at 9:00 am and 10:00 am through August.

Featuring a daily schedule and interesting background information on the Festival's artists, students and featured composers, Festival Notes prepares audiences for their day's musical journey.

On June 24, hundreds of students, a hundred teachers, and a brass section of 60 people convened for the annual Convocation. Starting with a rousing Strauss work, the featured speakers included Robert Spano, Alan Fletcher, and keynote speaker Conrad Tao. Here are some highlights, including an  impassioned speech from Conrad Tao covering a wide range of topics from deep listening to climate change.

Every week, Alan Fletcher hosts a conversation with some of the musical luminaries  before they go onstage and perform. This week, Alan talks with pianist Joyce Yang and violinist Simone Porter.

Aspen  Public Radio's Chris Mohr chats with violinist Simone Porter, opera directorf Ed Berkeley, the piano/cello duo of Wu Han and David Finckel, and pianisst Anton Nel. A bust week of music at the Festival!  

Celebrate the Fourth of July at the Music Tent at 4:00 p.m., or celebrate at home with Aspen Public Radio's live broadcast! Full orchestra conducted by Lawrence Isaacson in music of Sousa, Berlin, John Williams, and Copland. Fire up the grill and crank up your radio for some all-American favorites!

A brief summary of the upcoming events for each day's Aspen Music Festival. Listen live every weekday at 9:00 am and 10:00 am.

Pianist Joyce Yang talks up her Gershwin concert June 30 and her recital July 3, 2019. Alan Fletcher and Asadour Santourian talk about the upcoming 2019 Aspen Music Festival season.  

Our final Festival Showcase of the 2018 summer season includes a wrap-up conversation with Alan Fletcher and Asadour Santourian, who tip their hands and give us a glimpse into their plans for  the 2019 season theme -- and the operas. We also talk with Patrick Dupre Quigley, conductor of the choral group Seraphic Fire, who performed three times in Aspen, including a final concert with the Faure Requiem.

  

Host Alan Fletcher discusses upcoming concerts and more with Patrick Dupres Quigley of Seraphic Fire and pianist Lise de la Salle. This is the final High Notes presentation of the season as we look ahead to the last weekend of music for the 2018 season.

The final three Festival Notes previewing the last week's worth of concerts at the 2018 Aspen Music Festival. If you've been missing concerts and doing other things, this is the last week to take advantage of the Festival's cornucopia of musical offerings! Chris Mohr looks forward to returning next year for another great summer of musical offerings on Aspen Public Radio weekdays 1:00 - 3:00 pm and with Festivalo Notes weekday mornings.

Pianist Lise de la Salle is committed to communicating emotion in as simple and direct a way as possible. Violinist Sarah Chang talks about her many memories in Aspen, where she has spent every summer of her life. Seraphic Fire brings two of the greatest Requiems of all time -- those by Faure and Mozart -- as the 2018 season of the Aspen Mussic festival comes to a close. Host Chris Mohr talks with all three on this week's Festival Showcase.

 

Aquatic Berlioz Image
Richard Termine

Music's most famous stalker, Hector Berlioz, composed his Symphonie  Fantastique to impress a famous actress after suicide threats and impassioned letters failed to move her. The symphony tells the  story of a despiairng man poisoning himself with opium and having a series of dreams of ever-escalating sexual madness until he murders his beloved.

South Florida Opera

Offenbach's greatest opera, Tales of Hoffman, is the only opera we know of where the hero falls in love with a nineteenth century wind-up doll, a dying singer and a courtesan. Listen as our miserable Hoffman looks for love in all the wrong places for almost three hours. A live broadcast courtesy of the Aspen Music Festival and School this Thursday, August 16, 7:00 pm, exclusively on Aspen Public Radio. Host Chris Mohr will walk you through the story line and share interesting information about the opera.   

Every day in the summer, Aspen Public Radio offers two-minute previews of the day's concerts at the Aspen Music Festival. Here are the next five days.

This week we talk with guitarist Sharon Isbin in anticipation of her concert August 9, and Tenor Ben Bliss (who sings Britten on August 10 and 13).

 

Alan Fletcher in conversation with Tenor Richard Smagur and conductor Jane Glover in anticipation of performances of Das Lied von der Erde on Sunday August 5, and a Tchaikovsky/Haydn chamber orchestra concert Friday August 3.

Pages