Aspen Music Festival And School

Listening List: Beyond PVC

Of course, by "PVC" we don’t mean the synthetic plastic that can make for rather snazzy clothing, rather we mean getting away from the classical norms of PVC--as in, piano, violin and cello. Most of our most beloved concertos showcase one of those three instruments, but in a season the size and scope of Aspen’s, there is room for experiencing the uniquely brilliant voices of other instruments, as well. 

Bodacious Bass: Edgar Meyer Returns (Thursday, July 30)
Anyone who has seen bassist, and Aspen alumnus, Edgar Meyer in concert knows that it’s always an event, with unique syncopations and musical charisma that are all his own.

Fighting for the Flute: Marina Piccinini in Recital (Saturday, August 1)
Few artists are better qualified to show the riches the flute can offer than Marina Piccinini (dubbed "the Heifetz of the flute" by Gramophone). Not only has she played a huge variety of music across different eras (including contemporary composers such as John Harbison, Lukas Foss, Paquito D’Rivera, and Aaron Jay Kernis), she herself has lived in many countries and experienced many musical and wider cultural traditions. Oh, and she’s also a 36th-generation Shaolin Fighting Monk so while she regularly fights for the flute metaphorically, we imagine few musicians would dare to take that literally.

Unsung Hero: The Viola with the MacMillan Viola Concerto (Wednesday, August 5)
The U.S. premiere of Scottish composer James MacMillan’s viola concerto brings thrilling violist Lawrence Power back to Aspen under Music Director Robert Spano. The only reason the viola is less popular than the violin is that neither Beethoven nor Mendelssohn wrote virtuoso works for it (not even Dvorak, and he was a violist!). But it’s a gorgeously warm, expressive instrument and, in Power’s hands, a lyrical and dramatic one. Oh, and the same concert includes another non-PVC concerto (though piano, violin, and cello are all included in its tapestry)--Bartok’s magnificent Concerto For Orchestra!

Full of Flair: Classical Guitar with Sharon Isbin (Saturday, August 8)
One of Aspen’s most popular alumni and, needless to say by now, one of the world’s great guitarists, Sharon Isbin teams up with the brilliant Pacifica Quartet (OK, two violins and a cello there) for a concert including music by Turina, Castelvuovo-Tadesco, Vivaldi, and Boccherini. Guitar heaven.

Paul Dean: Horn Concerto (Friday, July 10)
Andrew Bain, principal horn player of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, gives the U.S. premiere of the Horn Concerto by his fellow Australian, Paul Dean. Aspen has co-commissioned this work (premiered in Adelaide). It should be quite something--Dean is a (non-PVC!) instrumentalist himself, as a leading clarinetist, so it’s likely to show just what the French horn is capable of! 

Recital by the American Brass Quintet (Wednesday, July 22)
Not a string or keyboard in sight! But trumpets, French horn, trombone and bass trombone make for a thrilling evening...

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO