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 2022 Season. 

“Adoration of the Earth”: Music, Species Belonging, and the Worship of Nature

Kirsten Paige, Assistant Teaching Professor at North Carolina State University

This deeply researched essay by Dr. Kirsten Paige outlines the ways humanity has defined nature as a category in opposition to the human, and what role music has played in that project. She argues that categorizing humanity (including the arts, like music) as distinct from unruly or “wild” nature has led to environmental exploitation and racial discrimination, while works by new composers wrestle with and try to overcome this legacy.

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Musical Ecology in Aspen

Denise Von Glahn, Professor of Musicology at Florida State University

In this short essay, Professor Denise von Glahn guides the reader in noticing the ways the natural world is present in both familiar and new music, and indeed in appreciating the natural beauty that surrounds us at every concert at the Tent.

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The Past and Present of Mariachi

Lauryn Salazar, Associate Professor of Musicology at Texas Tech University

Professor Lauryn Salazar provides an introduction to the form and tradition of Mariachi, dispelling an oft-repeated but questionable story about the origins of the performance tradition, then tracing the rise of Mariachi.

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Beethoven and the Launching of an Idea

Michael Broyles, Professor of Musicology, Florida State University

The greatest force for reshaping American attitudes toward music was that of one composer—Ludwig van Beethoven—and one genre in particular, his symphonies...classical music, and especially symphony orchestra, still enjoy a prestige born of the first American performances of Beethoven symphonies in the 1840s.

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Finding George Bridgetower: The Violinist Behind Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata

Douglas Shadle, Associate Professor of Musicology/Chair of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Vanderbilt University

Long a staple of the solo violin repertoire, Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata in A Major (Opus 47) has played an outsized role in American cultural history, but not for the reasons we might think. Beethoven collaborated on the piece with George Polgreen Bridgetower (1778–1860), a violin virtuoso whose capabilities impressed Beethoven enough that he later recommended him to others and called the piece “Sonata mulattica” to acknowledge Bridgetower’s African ancestry.

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Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO