FEBRUARY 3, 2014
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ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL ANNOUNCES 2014 SEASON
65th anniversary season runs eight weeks: June 26 to August 17; comprises more than 300 events
Music Director Robert Spano leads season themed “The New Romantics,” exploring Romanticism in music over the centuries
Operas presented will be fully staged productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Bizet’s Carmen
The season opens with Spano and violinist Robert McDuffie in a recital featuring Aspen alumnus Philip Glass’ The American Four Seasons
Legendary singer Tony Bennett appears in concert with his daughter Antonia Bennett (June 28)
Violinist and Aspen alumna Midori returns to Aspen after a hiatus, performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major (July 20)
Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell brings his acclaimed multimedia collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison about the Mississippi River flood of 1927 (The Great Flood, July 21)
Spano also appears on piano in a rare performance of Frank Martin’s Der Cornet with
mezzo-soprano Monica Groop (July 22)
Singer-songwriter-composer Rufus Wainwright performs an evening of his own eclectic musical favorites (July 23)
Early music specialist Harry Bicket presents an all-Bach evening with pianist Inon Barnatan and violinist Stefan Jackiw (August 9)
Aspen alumnus Conrad Tao gives final recital of season (August 16)
The season closes with Beethoven’s ecstatic Symphony No. 9, conducted by Spano with soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano to be announced, tenor Vinson Cole, bass-baritone Eric Owens and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus (August 17)
Season includes seven world premiere works by composers including Mason Bates, Dejan Lazić, and Matthias Pintscher
Composition students gain rare opportunity to study with six highly distinguished composers: Brett Dean, Sydney Hodkinson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Christopher Theofanidis and George Tsontakis
National radio shows Performance Today and From the Top tape live shows at Harris Concert Hall
Conductors include AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, Christian Arming, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Michael Christie, Federico Cortese, James Feddeck, Thierry Fischer, James Gaffigan, Jane Glover, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Hannu Lintu, Jun Märkl, Nicholas McGegan, Steven Mercurio, Nikolas Nägele, Larry Rachleff, Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Søndergård, Osmo Vänskä and Hugh Wolff.
Soloists and ensembles include: pianists Behzod Abduraimov, Inon Barnatan, Yefim Bronfman, Jeremy Denk, Misha Dichter, Cipa Dichter, Vladimir Feltsman, Andreas Haefliger, Steven Hough, Dejan Lazić, Jan Lisiecki, Nikolai Lugansky, Anton Nel, Garrick Ohlsson, Steven Osborne, Juho Pohjonen, Conrad Tao, Simon Trpceski, Joyce Yang and Wu Han; violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, William Hagen, Augustin Hadelich, Daniel Hope, Stefan Jackiw, Fabiola Kim, Anne Akiko Meyers, Midori, Robert McDuffie, Simone Porter and Gil Shaham; guitarist Sharon Isbin; cellists David Finckel, Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; vocalists Vinson Cole, Sasha Cooke, Monica Groop, Isabel Leonard, Susanna Phillips, Jessica Rivera and Eric Owens; and ensembles the American Brass Quintet, the American String Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet, the Pacifica String Quartet and the Takács Quartet
ASPEN, Colo. — From the Byronic flourishes of Schumann and Tchaikovsky’s lovers-gone-wrong, to the dark beauty of Thomas Adès and Nico Muhly, composers have always held strong views on Romanticism in music. Whether that be the novelistic sweep of Romantic ideas in the nineteenth century’s great composers, or the utter rejection of Romanticism by Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen and their contemporaries, engaging with it as an idea seems to be an addiction.
The Aspen Music Festival and School’s 65th anniversary season, entitled “The New Romantics,” acknowledges the return to Romanticism of many of today’s composers and, in addition, looks at the full complement of compositions through that lens of Romanticism. To be a Romantic, or not, or even a Romantic in one work and not in others, that is a choice. It makes a statement and invites audiences to react to it—so that from our own reactions to our music-makers, we also learn something about our own world view. The music chronicles our own philosophy.
AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, right, says, “Romanticism is a way of viewing the world. It’s a lens through which to peer at life’s great arcs. You can look through that lens, or you can shun it, but just as humanity repeats itself, so our musical obsession with Romanticism is a soundwave that ebbs and flows. Yet it is always there, a refrain that, perhaps, marks our humanity.”
“The 2014 season represents Aspen at its best,” says President and CEO Alan Fletcher. “Combining the vibrancy of young emerging talent with the seasoned voices of the masters has always defined the experience in Aspen, as it does this year. I am proud to welcome to our stages some of our own brilliant recent students at the moment of their emergence into their professional careers; I am delighted to present revered professional players, both Aspen alumni and others; I look forward to basking in the familiar glory of masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, and more, while at the same time, I feel the thrill of anticipation for the new works woven throughout the summer programs.”
The 2014 festival presents the span of Romanticism with some fascinating juxtapositions of works. So Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, a quintessential Romantic operatic masterpiece, is presented alongside Lowell Liebermann’s operatic version of another classic tale, this time a romance warped into something horrific, The Picture of Dorian Gray (recently named by the New York Times as one of the contemporary operas most likely to last).
Other composers featured in the festival whose works are often viewed as Romantic include John Adams, whose Short Ride in a Fast Machine will be played on August 6, to Brahms, whose First Symphony will be featured in the same concert (conducted by James Feddeck), or from Steven Stucky (an AMFS composer-in-residence) whose Rhapsodies will be conducted by Osmo Vänskä on July 18, to Grieg, whose Piano Concerto in A minor will be played in that concert by Aspen alumna Joyce Yang. Or indeed from Roberto Sierra’s Fandangos—to be conducted by Leonard Slatkin (also an Aspen alumnus) on August 3—to, again in the same concert, Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony.
Then there are works, like Philip Glass’ (Aspen alumnus) violin concerto The American Four Seasons which, though Glass is hardly known as a Romantic composer, borrow the dark, moody hues of Romanticism for an excursion through those feelings. There are those, like Skryabin (The Poem of Ecstasy, August 10) for whom Romanticism was a kind of tortured quest, and others like Schnittke (Sonata No. 1 for Violin, Strings and Harpsichord, July 11, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, Daniel Hope, violin) and Augusta Read Thomas (Cello Concerto No. 3, “Legend of the Phoenix” with cellist Lynn Harrell, July 25, conducted by Christian Arming) for whom it is refracted by the fragmented shards of modernism. And there are the anchors, such as works by Beethoven, arguably the father of musical Romanticism, whose music unsurprisingly appears several times during the season, culminating in his colossal Symphony No. 9 on closing night, August 17, conducted by music director Robert Spano with Jessica Rivera, soprano, mezzo-soprano to be announced, tenor Vinson Cole and Eric Owens, bass-baritone, as soloists.
Other works inspired by the season theme are Bill Frisell’s The Great Flood (July 21); Brett Dean’s Three Memorials (July 20); Christopher Theofanidis’ Rainbow Body (July 13) and Frank Martin’s Der Cornet (July 22), performed by Spano on piano with Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano.
If this season offers audiences a chance to view all kinds of music through the lens of Romanticism, it also invites them to look through the eyes of some of today’s great interpreters. Other season highlights include, variously, Steven Osborne playing the Ravel Piano Concerto, fast-rising conductor Hannu Lintu with Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, Jane Glover conducting Haydn’s Cello Concerto (with Aspen alumna Alisa Weilerstein, pictured right) on a program with works by Strauss and Beethoven, Aspen alumnus Gil Shaham’s return with Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto and Simon Trpceski’s return to play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
Violin masters include Aspen alumnus Joshua Bell with the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 (July 6), Midori with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (July 20) and Sarah Chang with the Dvorák Violin Concerto (August 1). Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell (whose father helped found the Aspen festival in the 1950s) and Eric Owens (an alumnus of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen program) are among other great talents this season who are well-known to Aspen audiences.
Spano will conduct three of the festival’s resident ensembles—the Aspen Philharmonic, the Aspen Chamber Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. Among his programs, the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Mahler’s Third Symphony and of course that Beethoven Nine (set against vocal music by Musorgsky). He will also play a recital with violinist Robert McDuffie (June 26), perform on piano Frank Martin’s moving Der Cornet with mezzo-soprano Groop (July 22), and present a recital along with vocalists Rivera and Owens (August 13).
Much-anticipated Aspen artist debuts will include those of Lintu, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (certainly a “New Romantic”); pianists Dejan Lazić (playing his own piano concerto), Behzod Abduraimov, Nikolai Lugansky and Jan Lisiecki; sopranos Isabel Leonard (an Aspen alumna) and Jessica Rivera, the Pacifica Quartet and Spain’s leading guitarist, Pablo Sainz Villegas.
The AMFS offers young composers an unparalleled opportunity for an exchange of ideas with some of the world's foremost composers and performers of contemporary music in 2014. Students of the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies will participate in intensive and individual study with some of today’s most highly regarded and frequently performed living composers including Brett Dean, Sydney Hodkinson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Christopher Theofanidis and George Tsontakis. Visiting composers include Augusta Read Thomas, Matthias Pintscher and Roberto Sierra.
Seven works see their world premieres at the festival this summer, including Pintscher’s whirling tissue of light (August 7), the Lazić piano concerto (July 23), a work for violin and piano by Mason Bates (July 12), Somei Satoh’s Sange (July 12), a work by Luke Carlson (July 23) and Aspen President and CEO Alan Fletcher’s own Six épigraphes antiques, after Debussy (July 25).
Many of the singers in Aspen Opera Theater Center (AOTC) productions are just embarking on their professional careers and performing for the audiences in Aspen is their first step in that direction. This summer the AOTC, directed by Edward Berkeley (shown teaching/directing, right), will present fully-staged productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (July 10, 12, 14), with Steven Mercurio conducting and Edward Berkeley directing; Lowell Liebermann’s take on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (July 24, 26), with Michael Christie conducting and Gregory Fortner directing and Bizet’s prize offering Carmen (August 10, 14, 16), conducted by Josep Caballé-Domenech and directed Edward Berkeley.
The Festival continues its commitment to community collaborations with a wide variety of lectures and enrichment events with local organizations such as the Aspen Public Radio, the Aspen Institute, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Aspen Art Museum, the Basalt Public Library, Aspen Film and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
• Maestro Spano and Violinist Robert McDuffie Open the Season in Recital (June 26) The season opens with Aspen Music Festival and School Music Director Robert Spano and violin great Robert McDuffie in recital, featuring Aspen alumnus composer Philip Glass’ The American Four Seasons played along with an AMFS student string ensemble. The work was written for McDuffie and premiered in 2010 to wide acclaim.
• Tony Bennett in a Collaboration with Jazz Aspen Snowmass (June 28) Tony Bennett, one of the legends of jazz and popular music, has won 17 Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards. He was born in Queens New York on August 3, 1926. He had his first hit, “Because of You,” in 1951 and made a career singing standards, including his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Bennett’s career waned in the mid-1960s, as rock music became dominant, but rebounded in the 1990s as Bennett brought back his original style, tuxedo and the Great American Songbook. He has been named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree and has sold over 50 million records worldwide. Presented in association with Jazz Aspen Snowmass.
• Bill Frisell Performs The Great Flood (July 21) The Great Flood, a multimedia collaboration by filmmaker Bill Morrison and composer/jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, revisits the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, the most destructive in American history. The event grafts poignant silent images to a searing original soundtrack, to create a powerful vision of a seminal moment of our past. Presented in association with Aspen Film.
• Martin’s Der Cornet Performed by Robert Spano and Monica Groop (July 22)
Mezzo-soprano Monica Groop and Maestro Spano’s shared affection for this intensely intimate work led to its New York City debut with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in 2000. This summer they bring Martin's moving setting of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems to Aspen. The narrative song-cycle tells the story of a high-born, naive boy who goes to war and is appointed cornet, the troop flag bearer—both an honor and a dangerous assignment.
• A Special Event with Rufus Wainwright (July 24) Highly acclaimed singer/songwriter, pianist and composer Rufus Wainwright is known for his famed musical family (singer Kate McGarrigle and songwriter and folk singer Loudon Wainwright II) but more so now in his own right for his brilliant originality in works of pop, jazz, classical, theater, and more. This evening will offer a selection of his personal favorites.
• All-Bach Program with Harry Bicket (August 9) Renowned as an opera and concert conductor, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire. Artistic Director of The English Concert since 2007, Bicket recently also took the post as chief conductor of Santa Fe Opera. Joined by pianist Inon Barnatan and violinist Stefan Jackiw, his Aspen program will include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major and Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor.
Alumni of the Aspen Music School performing on the 2014 season schedule include: Adele Anthony, violin; Joshua Bell, violin; Sarah Chang, violin; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Jeremy Denk, piano; James Feddeck, conductor; David Finckel, cello; James Gaffigan, conductor; Andreas Haefliger, piano; Sharon Isbin, guitar; Fabiola Kim, violin; Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano; Robert McDuffie, violin; Midori, violin; Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Simone Porter, violin; Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Gil Shaham, violin; Conrad Tao, piano; Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Wu Han, piano and Joyce Yang, piano.
Performers making their AMFS summer guest-artist debuts are Behzod Abduraimov, piano; Thierry Fischer, conductor; Monica Groop, mezzo-soprano; Fabiola Kim, violin; Dejan Lazić, piano; Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano; Hannu Lintu, conductor; Jan Lisiecki, piano; Nikolai Lugansky, piano; Steven Mercurio, conductor; Simone Porter, violin; Jessica Rivera, soprano; the Pacifica Quartet; Pablo Sainz Villegas guitar and Rufus Wainwright, singer/composer.
About the Music Festival and School
The Aspen Music Festival and School is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 300 musical events during its eight-week summer season in Aspen. The institution draws top classical musicians from around the world to this Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education. Many events are free and seating on the David Karetsky Music Lawn and in the Music Garden is always free.
More than 630 music students from more than 40 U.S. states and more than 49 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with approximately 130 renowned artist-faculty members. Students represent the field’s best talent; many have already begun their professional careers, others are on the cusp.
Renowned alumni include violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Gil Shaham; pianists Ingrid Fliter, Orli Shaham, Conrad Tao, Yuja Wang, Wu Han and Joyce Yang; conductors Marin Alsop, James Conlon, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin and Joshua Weilerstein; composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Bright Sheng and Joan Tower; vocalists Jamie Barton, Danielle de Niese, Sasha Cooke, Renée Fleming, and Dawn Upshaw; cellists Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; guitarist Sharon Isbin; performer Peter Schickele and bassist Edgar Meyer.
Aspen Music Festival and School
225 Music School Road, Aspen, CO 81611 www.aspenmusicfestival.com
970-925-9042 box office phone | 970-925-3254 administration phone
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Robert Spano Biography
Conductor, pianist, composer, and pedagogue Robert Spano is one of the most imaginative talents of his generation. Serving Atlanta as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 2001, he has created a sense of inclusion, warmth and community that is unique among American orchestras. As music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting.
Under Maestro Spano’s guidance, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and audiences explore a creative programming mix. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Spano’s commitment to American contemporary music, defining a new generation of American composers. Spano has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Ravinia, Ojai and Savannah Music Festivals. Guest engagements include the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia symphony orchestras, as well as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera Ring cycles. Spano is also an artistic curator at the Ojai Festival for a second season in June 2014.
In addition to his work on the podium and at the piano, Robert Spano has continued to focus on composition. In 2014, Spano will release a digital recording of his solo piano work, under water, and a cycle of five songs written for soprano Jessica Rivera. In addition to the recording, Spano and Rivera will perform the first three songs of the cycle in recital at Pepperdine University.
In his 13th season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano has programmed five world premieres as well as six Atlanta premieres. An ASO commission by Atlanta School of Composers member Michael Gandolfi and works by Mark Grey, Philip Lasser, Richard Prior and Charles Zoll reflect Mr. Spano’s and the orchestra’s commitment to defining a new generation of American composers by nurturing and championing their music through multi-year partnerships. Appealing to his passion and skill as a pianist, as well as his special chemistry and camaraderie with principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, both gentlemen join forces for Ravel’s La valse and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring as featured piano soloists. The season culminates with a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida.
Spano’s extensive discography of 21 recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media has garnered six Grammy Awards. Dedicated to pedagogy and multi-disciplinary studies, he has lectured on “Community” for TEDx and recently completed a three-year residency at Emory University. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
Spano serves on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University and Oberlin. Spano served as director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, and from 1996 to 2004 was music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He headed the Conducting Fellowship Program at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1998 to 2002. In May 2009, Spano was awarded Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for the advancement of American music.
Born in Conneaut, Ohio, and raised in Elkhart, Indiana, he is a graduate of Oberlin, where he studied conducting with Robert Baustian, continuing at the Curtis Institute of Music with the late Max Rudolf. He has been featured on CBS’ “Late Night with David Letterman” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” He was named Musical America’s 2008 “Conductor of the Year” and is proud to live in Atlanta.
The Benedict Music Tent combines the airiness and mood of a tent with the acoustic integrity of a concert hall. The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Concert Hall provides an intimate and acoustically pure 500-seat venue for chamber music concerts, recitals and master classes. The warm, elegant hall— proclaimed the “Carnegie of the Rockies” by the Denver Post when it opened in 1993—was once compared to being inside a cello. The Wheeler Opera House, built in 1889 and restored in 1984, is the venue for each summer’s fully staged operas and opera master classes.
Aspen offers the ultimate in flexibility for patrons with passes, the most self-directed and convenient way to attend concerts. The Gold Season Pass ($1,250) offers entrée to all regularly scheduled events and validation by phone on the day of the event. The Kickoff Pass ($190) is good for all regular events through July 9. The Full Season Pass ($925) offers unlimited access to the Festival’s regular events throughout the summer. Children 6 to 17 are eligible for the $50 Youth Season Picture Pass. Passes are good for all regularly scheduled events except operas, special events, benefits, house musics and films.
By Internet: www.aspenmusicfestival.com
By Phone: 970-925-9042
By Fax: 970-925-8077
By Mail: AMFS Box Office, 225 Music School Road, Aspen, CO 81611
In person: Purchase through May 16: M-F, 12-4 p.m. by web, fax, phone
From May 19, all the above plus box office opens for walk ups. Call for details.