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Aspen Music Festival and School - Festival Showcase

Fridays at 2:30pm

Join host Chris Mohr for an inside look at The Aspen Music Festival and School's summer season. Each Friday throughout the summer, Chris will feature exclusive and insightful interviews with AMFS artists, conductors, faculty, and students.

Winter Is Coming

Aug 28, 2020

Most year-round Aspenites love winter, but for poets around the world, winter is often a symbol of bleakness and despair. Franz Schubert set to music 24 anguished poems of a lovelorn winter traveler descending from depression into madness. As pianist Wu Han said, it can almost be called "Music for the Pandemic Era." Wu Han is well known as a performer and teacher at the Aspen Music Festival,  and releasing these songs with Russian baritone Nikolay Borchev has been her pandemic project, transforming misery into profound beauty.

The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) normally puts on some 300 concerts in eight weeks. This summer, they were all canceled. One would think that would leave the staff with little to do. But as Alan Fletcher said, organzing a video virtual concert and master class series meant that the everyone on board worked twice as hard.

Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr caught up with Alan to talk about the first virtual season in their history, as well as plans for next summer's Beethoven-infused season. 

Strings For Peace

Aug 21, 2020

Guitarist Sharon Isbin is well known to Aspen Music Festival and School audiences, having taught master classes and put on concerts here for decades. This past year, she has released no less than three albums. She has collaborated with other classical guitarists, as well as guitarists of almost every genre in the world. Now she performs with Indian sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan. Isbin has loved Indian classical music since disccovering it in her college days at Yale, and it was a real artistic challenge for her to play with this fast-fingered virtuoso from twelve time zones away! 

John Rojak has played bass trombone with the American Brass Quintet for almost 30 years, and is a regular as both a performer and a teacher at the Aspen Music Festival and School. We just discovered this album in our Aspen Public Radio library, released back in 2001. Rojak says it could have been titled "Music My Mother Would Like," because all the tunes are so melodious. Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr caught up with him and asked about the faux-seductive cover shot (complete with a glass of red wine) and the beauty of the music he arranged. 

Mezzo-soprano Michelle deYoung has taught a number of master classes here in Aspen, and sung the music of Wagner and other composers with Aspen Music Festival orchestras. She sings all over the world, but, like other musicians, is at home waiting for the curtains to rise again on the major concert halls and theatres of Europe, Australia, Asia and the Americas. Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr caught up with her to talk about her recent performance at Harris Hall in honor of Robert Spano with a worldwide virtual audience.

Aspen Music Festival concertgoers are familiar with guitarist Sharon Isbin, who has put on dozens of concerts at Harris Hall over the last twenty years. In the past nine months she has released three new albums, including Affinity. This recording is a collection of world-premieres written especially for Sharon and includes Chris Brubeck's "Affinity" with Elizabeth Schulze and the Maryland Symphony.

Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr chats with Sharon about this album and the special joy of collaborating with a living composer.

Aspen Public Radio is partnering with the Aspen Music Festival and School this month to air a six-part virtual concert series highlighting the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Jointly hosted by Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr and Aspen Music Festival and School President Alan Fletcher, the schedule features the following hour-long performances:

Friday, August 14, 8:00-9:00 p.m.: James Ehnes violin and Andrew Armstrong piano in Beethoven Violin Sonatas

Last fall, pianist Conrad Tao released his highly political album, American Rage. Its themes of social justice and compassion resonate more strongly than ever today. The four tracks: Which Side Are You On?; Copland Piano Sonata; Compassion; and Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, all speak of the plight of workers and others who have been treated unjustly in America.

Conrad talks with Chris Mohr about his music, racism, and his new relationship with his audience in the world of virtual performances.

Pianist Anton Nel has been the most prolific performer around at the Aspen Music Festival and School, having been featured in seventeen concerts in eight weeks during the 2019 season. He's been a beloved fixture at the Festival, performing in solo recitals and alongside some of the world's greatest musicians.

Grammy winners and Aspen Music Festival regulars Sharon Isbin and the Pacifica Quartet were going to team up to play music for guitar and string quartet by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Vivaldi, Turina and Boccherini this August in Harris Hall. But this is a concert you can hear on their recently released album, "Souvenirs of Spain & Italy."

Classical Music from Aspen host Chris Mohr chats with guitarist Sharon Isbin about their recent release.

Host and interviewer Alan Fletcher, president of the Aspen Music Festival and School, enjoys an informal chat with world-class pianist Daniil Trifonov, who will be playing Bach this Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. on the AMFS livestream.

Alan also talks with the director of the Strings Showcase program about the history of the program in Aspen, as well as how the string players  are continuing to learn and grow musically during this challenging summer.

Aspen Ideas

This summer the Aspen Music Festival & School (AMFS) presents a virtual festival with new content presented over eight weeks. Events include recitals, teaching insights, panel discussions, seminars, and a live tribute to Music Director Robert Spano to celebrate his 10th year with the AMFS.

Many sessions are live with an opportunity to be in the moment with the performer; some offer the chance to ask questions via the chat function.   

    

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!  

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.

  

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.   

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).

 

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sings Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde this Sunday at 4:00, and talks about everything from opera directors who have Carmen kill Don Jose -- and other feminist twists -- to her childhoood in Rome Georgia. We also talk with conductor and author Jane Glover, who is teaching conductors this Saturday morning at the Opera Scenes Master Class, and performs Tchaikovsky with cellist Alisa Weilerstein Friday evening August 3. Finally, we chat with Zaray Rodriguez about her upcoming role in Bernstein's Trouble  in Tahiti August 2.

Chris Mohr chats with members of the Pacifica Quartet, pianist Anton Nel and Disney conductor Richard Kaufman. On July 30, the Festival Orchestra joins the Disney crew for a live orchestral concert alongside clips of some of the most popular animated films of the past decade.

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