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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!

Plan your musical day at the Aspen Music Festival with Festival Notes on Aspen Public Radio! Our two-minute previews every day give you a few musical examples, and a listing of the highlights of the 300 concerts taking place over the eight weeks of the Festival. Listen mornings on APR or right here!

High Notes July 12 with Aspen Music Festival and School President Alan Fletcher with Sarah Chang, Stephen Hartke and Patrick Summers.

A daily update of the highlights of concerts and other events at the Aspen Music Festival and School. With 300 concerts in 8 weeks, host Chris Mohr takes you through each day, with musical examples, and gives you an idea of what to expect at the various Aspen Music Festival concerts taking place throughout Aspen and the Valley!

This week's Festival Showcase features chats with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, Bass-Baritone Ryan Speedo Green (pictured here with fellow opera star Susanna Phillips at The Met) and the Vera Quartet, with musical examples.  

I first met bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green when he was an Opera Colorado Young Artist. Just a few years before our meeting, Speedo was in solitary confinement in a juvenile detention facility. Now he sings at the Met (here he is giving a tour of the opera house with fellow star Susanna Phillips) and the Vienna State Opera, is happily married and has a child on the way. Between singing gigs, he has been on a year-long book tour after a book about him, Sing for Your Life, became a bestseller.

Pianist, composer and Mozart devotee Robert Levin brings his completion of Mozart's unfinished Concerto for Violin and Piano to the stage on July 7. Conductor Nic McGegan joins in the conversation!

Here's what's happening July 6 at the Aspen Music Festival!

Upcoming events for today's Aspen Music Festival!

Opera director Ed Berkeley chats with host Chris Mohr about the four operas on tap for the 2017 summer season at the Aspen Music Festival and School, including the Wheeler Opera House mainstage productions and more. 

Also on the program, a wide-ranging interview with conductor Nicholas McGegan, who talks about everything from his desire to see every string student with a Baroque-style bow to his secret love of punk rock!

Festival Notes today previews the Aspen Chamber Symphony, Opera Scenes, Chamber Music and Sunday's first Festival Orchestra concert of the 2017 season!

A two-minute preview of the day's events at the Aspen Music Festival!

Classical Music Host Chris Mohr chats with two leaders of the Aspen Music Festival and School, Alan Fletcher and Asadour Santourian, about the upcoming 68th season of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Then Chris talks with cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han about their season-opening concert June 29 at Harris Hall. 

    Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conductor Manfred Honeck chats with APR host Chris Mohr about the three-concert series being presented by the Orchestra this week. Call Aspen Public Radio today at 920-9000 if you would like to make a $100 gift to support classical music on Aspen Public Radio, and we will have one pair of tickets at Will Call for you for their concert Wednesday evening, August 24. Only one pair of tickets available, valued at $85 per ticket! 

Mohammed Fairouz's Songs of Typhoid Mary premieres with mezzo Kate Lindsey Friday, August 19. Pianist Inon Banaton chats with Alan Fletcher about his recital August 18, 2016.

This Sunday at 4:00, the Aspen Music Festival's Grand Finale features highlights from Berlioz's ravishing Romeo et Juliette and Orff's wildly popular and rhythmically charged Carmina Burana (think movies, ads, all kinds of media where you have heard this music!). The Aspen Festival Orchestra is joined by the Colorado Symphony Chorus and soloists for a smashing finale to the 2016 season.

Join host Chris Mohr for a live broadcast on APR of this spine-tingling concert as we usher out the summer music season together. 

Composer Mike Mills, formerly of the rock band R.E.M., is a childhood friend of AMFS Alumnus and violinist Robert McDuffie. Mike and Bobby talk about their collaboration and the creation of Mills's Violin/Rock Band/Orchestra concerto. AMFS President Alan Fletcher joins the two musical icons in a High Notes conversation the day before their August 11 performance at the Tent.

  

     

    Interviews with two music students and a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to bring the Pittsburg Symphony to Aspen August 23-25.

High Notes: Saariaho and Koh

    

Classical Guitarist Sharon Isbin and friends perform at Harris Hall August 6 2016, and Cantor Rollin is putting on a special musical show this evening!

    

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