Aspen Music Festival And School

Deep Focus: Enriching the Aspen Experience

An array of micro-essays by accomplished musicologists, curated to enhance and enrich your historical and aesthetic engagement with the musical programming offered at Aspen’s 2021 Season. 

The Lifelong Suffering of a Genius: Beethoven’s Personal Struggle


We often hear about early trauma and its impact psychologically. While many are able to successfully counter the devastating effects of trauma through regular counseling and other professional resources, for others, it can remain a continual struggle. In Ludwig van Beethoven’s case, his very harsh beginning continued to impact his sense of self and personal relationships for his entire life.

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Rebecca Clarke in World War II


In all of Clarke’s war works, there’s a tension between modern and traditional. For most of her life Clarke had been at the forefront of modern music, hailed by the Daily Telegraph as “a frank disciple of modernity” in 1922. But she was not prepared to embrace atonality, which was becoming increasingly dominant in the U.S. thanks to the arrival of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. In many of her war pieces, this friction is absolutely central.

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Gabriela Lena Frank: From Ivory Tower to Redwood Country


Gabriela Lena Frank writes music for a wide range of audiences, from seasoned concertgoers to neophytes, in concert halls, community centers, hospitals, schools, prisons, and even less traditional venues. Now she is engaged in an extraordinary educational project.

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Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO