Aspen Music Festival And School

Essential Pre-Arrival Information

Table of Contents

Important Dates

2021 School Calendar


Student Housing Check-in (First and Full Session Students) Tuesday, June 22, starting at 12 pm
Registration (First and Full Session Students) Wednesday, June 23, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Orchestra Seating/Chamber Music Auditions (First and Full Session Students) Wednesday-Friday, June 23-25
Aspen Conducting Academy - String Auditions Friday, June 25
Aspen Conducting Academy - Conductor Auditions Saturday-Sunday, June 26-27
Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Auditions Saturday, June 26
Student Orientation and Convocation / All-School Luncheon
  *required for all students
Monday, June 28, 10 am to 2 pm
Rehearsals, Lessons, Classes and Performances Begin Tuesday, June 29
Student Housing Check-Out (First Session Students) Monday, July 26, by 10 am
Student Housing Check-In (Second Session Students) Monday, July 26, starting at 4 pm
Orchestra Seating/Chamber Music Auditions (Second Session Students) Tuesday, July 27, 9-10 am
Registration (Second Session Students) Tuesday, July 27, 10-11 am
Orientation (Second Session Students) Tuesday, July 27, 11:15 am-12 pm
Final Concert of the Season *students may depart Aspen after this event Sunday, August 22, 4-6 pm
Student Housing Check-Out (Second and Full Session Students) Monday, August 23, by 12 pm


Health and Safety in the Mountains

Aspen is at an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet and the climate is dry. Together, these two qualities make the perfect environment for dehydration and altitude sickness to occur. When arriving at Aspen, refrain from strenuous activity and exercise, and drink plenty of water until you feel acclimated. Summer temperatures range from ninety degrees during the day to fifty degrees (sometimes, lower) at night. Brief afternoon showers are common. Dress in layers and bring a raincoat, sweater, or light jacket. Aspen day dress is casual (jeans, shorts, and other casual attire).

Aspen is known for sightings of elk, black bears, occasional sightings of moose, and very rare sightings of mountain lions, in addition to other wildlife. Black bears are timid animals, but they are attracted to food. The best way to avoid an encounter is to properly dispose of your trash in bear-proof containers (provided on the Bucksbaum Campus and around Aspen). Keep food items out of vehicles and close / lock ground floor doors and windows. If you encounter a bear, make your presence known by making noise (don’t surprise the animal), and back away slowly (do not run). Moose sightings are rarer than bear sightings, but moose can be aggressive. If you see a moose, do not approach the animal. Position yourself so there is a physical barrier between you and the moose and then create a wide berth as quickly and calmly as possible. Mountain lion sightings are extremely rare but not a safe situation. If you see a mountain lion, make yourself seem as large as possible, make noise, do not act afraid, and slowly create distance between you and the animal. Elk are generally not a danger but are beautiful to observe in the mountains.

Some of the most beautiful hikes in the world are in the Rocky Mountains. Make sure you explore safely. Have a plan – study your map and bring it with you. Hikes in groups of three or more. Tell someone (Residence Life staff, for instance) where you are going and your expected time of return. Carry and drink plenty of water (a minimum of one quart every two hours), wear sturdy footwear with traction, dress in layers, and stay on the trail.

We recommend that all students purchase a CORSAR (Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue) card. For just a few dollars, you help to ensure that emergencies can be responded to in a timely manner with all the resources that can help save a life on the trail.                   970 925 5775

White-water rafting is a popular sport in the area. Rivers run high in early summer, following the snow-melt. We recommend staying off the rivers until late summer. Should you partake in the sport, always go with a guide and wear the recommended safety equipment.


AMFS Policies


Students are expected to attend Registration, take any in-season auditions, and must be in Aspen for the duration of their session. Please review Important Dates for required events. Short-term (typically no more than seven days, inclusive of travel) absences may be approved for extraordinary cases. Except in the case of family emergency, absences must be pre-approved. Leaves of absence will not be considered for students of the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute due to the short duration of the program. If a late arrival is approved, late chamber music auditions are not offered and late orchestra auditions are offered only on Tuesday, June 29. Students who arrive after this date will be subject to any available seating for the first session and an audition will be granted for second session placement (Tuesday, July 29). 

Early Departures Requested During Mid-Session
We understand that students sometimes don't know what school they will be attending in the fall and, therefore, do not know their school start date until mid-summer. Students are expected to request any early departures immediately upon knowing their school start date. Even if a student believes their AMFS commitments will be completed prior to the final session date, students are required to be in AMFS through the last required event as noted in the School Calendar unless an early departure has been approved. Typically, approved early departures only allow for a few days between departing Aspen and school start dates. It is wise to do as much preparation as possible prior to arrival in Aspen to ensure a quick transition from Aspen to one's next commitment. Note that school start dates will be verified by the Student Services department. Any reason for early departure other than Fall school commitments is subject to the general leave of absence policy and should be requested at the time of enrollment. 

Financial Penalty
Students with financial assistance may be subject to a prorated deduction to their award. For instance, a student with a full scholarship or fellowship (tuition + housing) who requests a one-week leave of absence from the eight-week session may be responsible for paying one-eighth of their award back to the AMFS. In this case, that amount would be $1,187.50. The same scenario applies to someone with a partial scholarship. A student with a scholarship of $3,000 requesting a one-week leave of absence would be responsible for paying $375 back to the AMFS. Subject to the discretion of AMFS.

Late Arrival Fee: All late arrivals that cause a student to miss the designated Registration Day (9:30 am-4:30 pm) will be charged the $100 late arrival fee. Full Session Registration is June 23. Half Session II Registration is July 27.

The AMFS health care providers will be asked to confirm any illness as a cause of absence from any required activities (orchestra/opera rehearsals, coaching, classes, lessons, etc.) Artist-faculty members are not empowered to excuse students from any rehearsal. If a student presents a doctor's note for an illness or injury, all parties including opera administrators, orchestra managers, private teachers, chamber coaches, the schedule coordinator, and the Office of Student Services will be notified. Continued practice and participation in other musical activities will not be permitted to ensure the student's full recovery.

Large-ensemble rehearsals (opera/orchestra/chamber music) have priority over all other musical activities (private lessons, classes, chamber music coachings, and paid or unpaid performances).

As rehearsals and concerts are part of the educational environment and process, the AMFS is unable to provide specific rehearsal times for each work. Any change in rehearsal order will be communicated to ensemble members in advance of the service. Students who are not assigned to all pieces must plan to be in attendance for the entire service.

Attendance will be taken at all rehearsals. Students are expected to be punctual and maintain a professional attitude. Unexcused absences and frequent tardiness will result in disqualification from competition and recital opportunities, and may result in suspension of private lessons, withholding of the security deposit, forfeiture of scholarship, and/or expulsion. Students will not be excused from rehearsals for religious practices.

Master classes and repertoire classes offered by artist-faculty and guests are scheduled within two weekly class blocks devoid of conflicts. Students should plan to take full advantage of the classes offered and should not schedule other conflicting activities.

Weekly private lessons are considered a critical part of a student’s educational experience. The student and artist-faculty member will work together to schedule lessons around ensemble rehearsals and other activities, to ensure a well-rounded experience. Students are expected to be punctual and arrive prepared.

Participation/Attendance as it relates to Performance Injury:
Temporary rest from practicing and playing is usually recommended when dealing with a performance-related injury. Physical therapy may be recommended and is available in Aspen with therapists familiar with music performance problems. Students with pre-existing chronic medical problems that could curtail participation in required performance activities should not attend the AMFS. Students who sustain or aggravate an existing performance-related injury while in Aspen must communicate with the Dean, who will consult with the student’s private teacher, the AMFS health team, and the student to determine what, if any, musical activities will be permitted. Students unable to resume AMFS activities may be dismissed to tend to their injuries in a focused manner, under their regular medical care. Students will be able to communicate any physical concerns in the pre-season survey so that performance-injury history or tendencies can be considered when assigning workload.

The AMFS trains its students to be professionals and orchestra, opera, and chamber music services are managed as such, in a safe and nurturing environment. See the Student Orchestra Manual, the Student Chamber Music Manual, and the Student Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Manual (posted to Status Pages in the spring and available in print at Registration) for a detailed explanation of these experiences, as well as a comprehensive set of guidelines.

Changes to private teacher assignment must be approved in advance by the Dean. Email Jennifer White:

Extra lessons (in addition to the weekly private lessons included with tuition) should be arranged and paid for directly with the desired teacher.

If a student or artist-faculty member must cancel a scheduled lesson, 24-hour advance notice is required. If this condition is not met by the student, the artist-faculty member is not obligated to make up the lesson unless the student has a doctor’s note. If an artist-faculty member cancels at any time, they must make up the lesson. Refunds will not be given for lessons that have not been taken, regardless of circumstances.

The AMFS promotes personal wellness on Mondays. With exceptions for special performances, occasional orchestra rehearsals, and concerto competitions, every attempt is made not to require musical activities that are scheduled before 5 pm. A student may be assigned to services after 5 pm. Faculty may offer but may not require private lessons on Mondays before 5 pm. The Aspen Opera Theater and Vocal ARTS attempts to make Tuesdays their quiet day.

Video recording is NOT allowed in any AMFS Facility at ANY time unless a Video Recording Permission Form is completed and signed by all appropriate parties. Video recording rights may be granted if the student is performing as a soloist or chamber musician at a concert, or performing at a master class or all-student recital. Obtain a Video Recording Permission Form from the Main Reception Desk in the Hardy Building. The form must be completed with ALL signatures (performers, conductors, master class coach, etc.) and returned to the Main Reception Desk no later than 48 hours prior to the event. Late forms will not be honored. Students must secure all video equipment; no video recorders are available through the AMFS. Events at non-AMFS venues may be recorded without a form, with permission from the teacher of the event and/or anyone else who will appear in the recording.

Students are expected to conduct themselves with basic standards of honesty and character. Plagiarism, cheating, and dishonesty in AMFS-related matters are prohibited and can result in a student’s dismissal from the AMFS without refunding any portion of the fees paid. The student consents to the creation and distribution of any recording, broadcast, or electronic transmission of any kind, without compensation, made by the AMFS or any AMFS-approved entities while they are a student of the AMFS. The student similarly consents to the use of their likeness in photographs, video, or any visual media with influential members and organizations of the arts and education community in the effort to facilitate significant arts and academic opportunities.

The possession or consumption (and being in the presence) of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the AMFS residence halls, even if the student is of legal drinking age. Further, students are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages onto any AMFS property or venue except for lawn seating at the Benedict Music Tent, in which case students in possession may be asked to show proof of legal age. Students of any age are not permitted to consume alcohol at a concert on which they are performing. The AMFS Alcohol Policy also conforms to all local, state, and federal laws. It is illegal for a person under twenty-one years of age to purchase, consume, possess, or transport any alcohol, liquor, or malt or brewed beverages containing alcohol. Distribution of alcohol by sale or gift to persons under the age of twenty-one is forbidden and unlawful.  

The possession or consumption (and being in the presence) of marijuana in any form is prohibited in the AMFS residence halls, even if the student is of legal age, per Colorado law. Further, students are prohibited from bringing marijuana in any form onto any AMFS property or venue. It is illegal for a person under twenty-one years of age to purchase, consume, possess, or transport marijuana in any form. Distribution of marijuana by sale or gift to persons under the age of twenty-one or to anyone other than the person who was identified at the point of sale by the legal place of purchase is unlawful. The AMFS Drug Policy conforms to federal law regarding all other controlled substances.

The Bucksbaum Campus, Burlingame, Marolt Ranch, Aspen Highlands Village, and the Benedict Music Tent have designated smoking areas. Smoking is prohibited at the Aspen School District campus. Smoking in areas other than those designated is forbidden. Smoking products/devices include, but are not limited to, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, materials which are lighted or inhaled, e-cigarettes, electronic vaping devices, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems, or such devices which vaporize substances to simulate smoking. In our dry climate, smoking bans mandated by the City or County are a common occurrence and students will need to heed any notices, as distributed.

Possession, storage, and/or use of a firearm of any description (including, but not limited to, air rifles, airsoft guns, paintball guns, pellet guns, pistols, ammunition, gunpowder, etc.) on any AMFS property is prohibited. In addition, possession, storage, or use of a dangerous weapon (including, but not limited to, clubs, dangerous knives, and martial arts weapons), hazardous chemicals or biological substances, explosive devices of any description (including but not limited to, fireworks, regardless of size or type), incendiary devices specifically modified to be used as a weapon, hunting equipment, and other dangerous articles, weapons, or substances is prohibited on any AMFS property or venue.

Students should NOT bring pets to Aspen even if living in off-campus housing. There are few rentals that allow pets and pets are not permitted in rehearsal halls, performance venues, studio and classroom buildings, practice rooms, or residence halls. Pets may come onto the Bucksbaum Campus but are not permitted inside structures. Pets must not be disruptive and must be leashed at all times. Owners are responsible for immediately disposing of waste. Pets are not permitted on the Aspen School District campus.

The Aspen Music Festival and School does not provide insurance for students’ personal property, including but not limited to students’ instruments, and cannot be held responsible in the event of loss, damage, or theft of personal property. The AMFS strongly recommends that students obtain insurance coverage for their personal property prior to arrival in Aspen. Some homeowner insurance may provide coverage. Do not leave personal property unattended at any time.

Tuition and housing deposits are due at the time of enrollment and are non-refundable should a student decide not to attend after enrolling. Deposits will be applied toward the total cost of attendance. Students who are placed in on-campus housing and subsequently withdraw or cancel their housing reservation will forfeit their deposits. Fellowship students who request on-campus housing and then subsequently withdraw that request will forfeit $1,000 from the fellowship stipend. In addition, once a student has registered, all fees (including tuition and room and board) are non-refundable except in the case of medical emergencies as approved by the Dean. Any overpayment will be refunded approximately one week after registration and can be collected at the Office of Student Services.

Students are required to pay their balance due by May 15. Online payments can be made through the Status Page of the student’s AMFS account. Checks should be mailed to 225 Music School Road, Aspen, CO 81611 and made payable to the Aspen Music Festival and School. Include student name and reference number in the notes. There will be a $25 insufficient funds charge for returned checks. A single payment of the full balance is encouraged; however, an installment plan is available to help students/parents meet their financial obligations. The Installment Plan Request form is available on the student’s Status Page.

All students pay a $100 security deposit. The security deposit is refundable subject to completion of the check-out procedure and completion of the Student Exit Survey. After all applicable fees for damages and unreturned items have been paid, any remaining balance of the security deposit will be mailed to the address provided in the check-out form, postmarked by September 30. In the case of season cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all deposits, and tuition/balance payments will be refunded

The AMFS admits students of any race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, marital status, family responsibility, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression or individuals associated with any of the aforementioned protected group statuses to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the AMFS. It does not discriminate in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and other AMFS- administered programs. No person shall be denied engagement solely because of any impairment which is unrelated to the ability to participate in activities involved in the position(s) or program for which application has been made.

Bullying is unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, intimidates, or humiliates people either as individuals or as a group. Bullying behavior is often persistent and part of a pattern, but it can also occur as a single incident. It is usually carried out by an individual but can also be an aspect of group behavior. Bullying is unacceptable. Participating in any kind of bullying action may result in expulsion.

The AMFS is committed to maintaining a work environment where every employee, student, artist-faculty member, and guest artist is treated with respect and dignity. All individuals have the right to work, learn, teach, or perform in an atmosphere that promotes equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices and treatment, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment, whether verbal, physical, or environmental, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

For purposes of enforcing this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (verbal, written, or physical) when: 1.) submission to or rejection of this conduct by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting hiring, evaluation, promotion, or other aspects of employment, education, or performance; and/or 2.) this conduct interferes substantially with an individual’s employment, education, or performance; and/or 3.) this conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment in which to work, learn, teach, or perform.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: unwanted sexual advances; demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment or continued employment; repeated sexual jokes, flirtation, advances, or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic or verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling, touching, pinching, assault, coerced sexual acts, or suggestive, insulting, obscene comments or gestures; and display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.

This policy governs all permanent and temporary employees of the AMFS, as well as students, artist-faculty, and guest artists. The AMFS will not tolerate, condone, or allow sexual harassment, whether engaged in by fellow employees or supervisors, or by non-employees who conduct business with the AMFS, including students, artist-faculty, and guest artists. The AMFS encourages reporting of all incidents of sexual harassment, whoever the offender may be, and promises thorough protection to the reporter.

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment should report the incident to one of the following AMFS staff by calling 970 925 3254:

Jennifer White, Vice President and Dean of Students
Jenny Elliot, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Administration

Complaints of sexual harassment will be investigated promptly and in a manner that is as impartial and confidential as possible. Retaliation against any employee, student, artist-faculty member, or guest artist for complaining about sexual harassment or for participating in an investigation is strictly prohibited.

Violations of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary action. Based on the seriousness of the offense, disciplinary action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension, or termination.

The AMFS has adopted a policy regarding consensual relationships between faculty or supervisory staff and the staff or student that they supervise, teach, or coach. No staff member or faculty member is permitted to be involved in a relationship (sexual and/or romantic) with any other staff member or student with whom he or she has a direct professional relationship (such as teaching or coaching) or an indirect professional relationship (such as orchestra placement decisions, leading a section, or managing an orchestra). Such relationships may adversely affect the teacher/student relationship and give rise to conflicts between personal and professional interests. Furthermore, no staff or faculty member should be in a supervisory position (including teaching and coaching) over a staff member or student with whom they have had a previous relationship. In addition, students are prohibited from renting rooms from or residing with faculty members or staff.

Pre-existing relationships of this nature should be disclosed to the hiring manger, General Manager, Dean, Vice President for Strategy and Administration, or President upon receipt of their letter of agreement (or prior) to determine and resolve any potential conflicts between their employment and the relationship with a student of the AMFS. Exceptions to the co-habitation rule may be granted on a case-by-case basis.


  • As a student of the Aspen Music Festival and School, I will adhere to all rules, regulations, and policies stated in Student Handbooks and by the administration.
  • As a student of the Aspen Music Festival and School, I will take responsibility for my own schedule and put my musical education first.
  • As a student of the Aspen Music Festival and School, I will be honest and respectful and ensure that I represent the AMFS well, both on and off Campus.
  • As a student of the Aspen Music Festival and School, I will comply with all city, state, and federal laws.
  • As a student of the Aspen Music Festival and School, I understand that breaking the Code of Conduct could mean disciplinary action as severe as expulsion without refunding of fees paid.


What to Bring to Aspen


  • Sheet music: There are no sheet music stores in Aspen. A limited number of scores and parts are available at the chamber music library. Students are encouraged to bring all the solo and chamber music that they might need for the summer.
  • Instrument (auxiliary instruments if you have them), maintenance tools and accessories, music stand
  • Spending money: Aspen is an expensive resort town. Students are encouraged to bring a debit and/or credit card to Aspen rather than cash only.
  • Pad lock for locker use: There is an orchestra locker room at the Benedict Music Tent and some small lockers on the Bucksbaum Campus.
  • Sunscreen, lip protection, and sunglasses: the sun at Aspen’s elevation is intense.
  • Water bottle
  • Fleece, lightweight layers, rain jacket, umbrella, and hiking boots
  • Dorm residents: Extra-long flat and fitted twin sheets, pillowcase, bath towels, and hangers. Blankets provided. Pillows can be purchased from the AMFS for $5. Cookware, dishes, and utensils are not provided in the residence halls. It is suggested that those who wish to prepare food in their dorms (some have limited cooking facilities) purchase supplies from local thrift shops. All residents receive a meal plan and can eat in the cafeterias.



  • Cell phone
  • Metronome and tuner
  • Recording equipment for lessons and practice sessions
  • Humidifier
  • A fan: Dorm rooms tend to get warm during the day (Local thrift shops or are good places to obtain these.)


All students should expect to perform in any ensemble (orchestra, opera, specials) and should bring the required clothing. AMFS does not provide attire for loan.


Long sleeve white or cream blouse
White tuxedo shirt w/ black bow tie
White or cream tuxedo jacket
Long black skirt or black dress pants
Black dress shoes, black socks (hose optional)


Black pants or skirt
Black dress shirt with sleeves to the wrist
Black dress shoes, black socks (hose optional)
Black jacket (optional)


Long black pants or skirt
Black dress shirt with sleeves to the wrist
Black jacket (optional)
Black dress shoes, black socks (hose optional)
Long gown (optional)


Long black skirt or dress pants
White blouse or white dress shirt
Black jacket/tux
White or cream jacket
Formal gown (optional for solo performances)
Dark suit, black bow tie
Dancewear or sweats for movement
Stage-worthy boots (if applicable)
Small makeup kit
Black or tan character shoes
Dress shoes



Black dress pants (or skirt) and black jacket
Black dress shirt with sleeves to the wrist
Black dress shoes, black socks 
*Business casual for less formal performances

Professional performance attire is required. For example, orchestra attire or all black is a safe standard. Personal flair is invited such as a gown, etc. No jeans, shorts, or casual shoes. Feel free to coordinate your look with your ensemble colleagues.


Choose option below

Black gown (black wrap required if off-the-shoulder or straps are less than 1-inch thick)
Black suit w/white dress shirt or blouse, black belt w/silver or black buckle

Formal black footwear: dress shoes, flats or heels attached at the ankle (no mules)
Elegant neck and ear jewelry: clear, silver, or pearls only (no gold or colored gems)


Instrument Storage and Care


  • Flute: It is expected that all flute students will share the piccolo and alto flute responsibilities/opportunities at Aspen. Please bring your piccolo and alto flute if you have one. Fellows are expected to bring their own instruments.
  • Oboe: It is expected that all oboe students will share the English horn responsibilities/opportunities at Aspen. Please bring your English horn, if you have one, and reeds and the equipment needed to make new English horn reeds. Bring a device for supporting the weight of the instrument, if needed. Fellows are expected to bring their own instruments.
  • Clarinet: It is expected that all clarinet students will share the B-flat, A, E-flat, and bass clarinet responsibilities/opportunities at Aspen. Please bring these instruments if you have them. Fellows are expected to bring their own instruments.
  • Bassoon: Not all bassoon students are expected to play contrabassoon; however, those who have the ability will be given opportunities. Those who own the instrument should bring it to Aspen. Fellows are expected to bring their own instruments.
  • Aspen Contemporary Ensemble: The flute fellow is expected to bring an alto flute and a piccolo. The clarinet fellow is expected to bring an Eb and a bass clarinet. 
  • Euphonium: The recipient of the euphonium scholarship is expected to bring the instrument to Aspen.

Large instrument storage is available on the Bucksbaum Campus. Eligible students receive information about this benefit prior to the season. Interested students will sign a waiver and pay a $15 fee for an access code to a shared storage room. A limited number of small instrument (violin/viola) lockers are available in the Lower and Upper classroom buildings. Locks are not provided. Do not leave instruments unattended in practice rooms or elsewhere, at any time.

A facility fee ($100 Full Session / $60 Half Session); $40 for Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute students) will be charged to all students and provides access to AMFS facilities and amenities, including practice space.
PERCUSSIONISTS receive use of AMFS instruments and cartage between AMFS venues, as well as practice space.
HARPISTS receive cartage between AMFS venues as well as practice space. Harpists are encouraged to bring their own instruments and are responsible for transporting them to/from Aspen. Those who do not bring their own instrument will be charged a $250 rental fee which will guarantee partial/shared use of a harp for the summer. Students will complete a questionnaire as part of their pre-registration process whereby they will be able to reserve and pay for the harp rental.

*Percussionists and harpists will be contacted by their respective production crews with instructions regarding instrument moves, practice space, and storage.

Luthier Joan Balter – 555 E. Durant Ave., Aspen

Joan Balter is available to help string players with instrument repair and she offers strings and accessories for purchase.  Ms. Balter also teaches classes on the Bucksbaum Campus focused on instrument maintenance, buying and selling instruments, and how to maximize one’s sound potential. See the Class Schedule upon arrival in Aspen for details.

Aside from the occasional visitor, there are no repair services regularly available in Aspen for wind/brass instruments. AMFS does plan to have a service person in Aspen on occasion. Players are advised to bring supplies and tools with them.

Reed Room: A reed room with access to water nearby is available for reed work. Supplies and tools are not provided. Location will be designated in the Student Handbook distributed at Registration.


Registration, Orientation, and Convocation


Full and Half Session I Registration – Monday, June 23, 9:30 am-4:30 pm, Bucksbaum Campus
Half Session II Registration – Tuesday, July 27, 10-11 am, Office of Student Services, Bucksbaum Campus
Late Registration – Late arrivals are very much discouraged. Students with a pre-approved late arrival will be charged a $100 late registration fee.

*Information on how to schedule a Registration time will be distributed after enrollment.


Full Session / Half Session I Orientation - Monday, June 28, 10 am, Benedict Music Tent
(Singers have a rehearsal at this time. A separate orientation will be scheduled.)

Full Session / Half Session I Convocation – immediately following Orientation

Convocation will be followed by the All-School Picnic in the hospitality tent adjacent to the Benedict Music Tent. Join the entire AMFS student body, artist-faculty, and staff for lunch on the lawn and get to know your summer family.

Half Session II Orientation – Tuesday, July 27, 11:15 am-12 pm, Bucksbaum Campus

*These events are required for all students.


Transportation to and Around Aspen


Aspen is located 220 miles west of Denver, Colorado (about a 3.5-hour drive). The City of Aspen is served by major airlines.

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is a small facility and airlines may not be able to transport large instruments. Therefore, shipping the instrument or travel to a larger airport in the region may be necessary.

For many ground transportation options, cellists and tubists must pay an additional fee and double bass players must book a private shuttle.

Students traveling with large instruments should speak directly with their airline, airport, and/or ground transportation provider in advance.

Students must stay through the final concert (4-6 pm) on August 22. Students who book tickets with a return date earlier than August 22 will be asked to change their flights. Any resulting change fee will be the responsibility of the student. Also, note that the dates surrounding the AMFS season get booked early. Reserve travel as far in advance as possible.

BY PLANE is a resource for travel arrangements to Aspen or other Colorado airports. Call Lynne Rosenfield at 800-928-9463.

The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is located ten minutes from downtown Aspen.

AMFS volunteers will be at the airport to assist arriving students on Tuesday, June 22. Free bus service is available from the airport to the Bucksbaum Campus, residence halls, and downtown Aspen. Please check with the bus driver to determine which stops they intend to make. Students may also use High Mountain Taxi service (970 925 8294), which is readily available. Expect a fare of approximately $20.

Denver International Airport (DEN) is a large airport approximately 220 miles from Aspen that often offers a more affordable (but less convenient) option.

Eagle-Vail (EGE), approximately 1.5 hours by car from Aspen, is another option. This is also a smaller, regional airport so do pay attention to cargo restrictions.

Colorado Mountain Express
 (970 754 7433) is a shuttle service that offers a one-way rate of approximately $96 from Denver with the code “AMFS”. (Applicable with telephone reservation only.) They also offer rates from Eagle-Vail. Visit for more information. Cello, tuba, and similar size instruments will be charged an additional $50. Double Bass: CME will not allow bass players to reserve/carry instruments on the shuttle. Bass students have the option to reserve a private SUV (discounted rate $515) or a private bus (discounted rate $528). Depending on party size, the CME representative will suggest either SUV or bus option to the student.

Bustang, managed by the Colorado Department of Transportation, offers $28 bus service from Denver to Glenwood Springs, forty miles northwest of Aspen. Call 800 900 3011 or visit for more information. See for information on local bus service from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.

service is available to Glenwood Springs, forty miles northwest of Aspen.

Call 800 USA RAIL or go to See for information on local bus service from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.

Note: Students are strongly encouraged to leave personal vehicles at home


There are two routes by car from Denver to Aspen.

1.  From the Denver International Airport, take I-70 West to Glenwood Springs (exit 116). Follow signs to Highway 82 which leads to Aspen (forty miles). From the roundabout, take the Castle Creek Road exit and continue one-half mile to Music School Road on the left.

2.  Take the scenic route via Independence Pass. Drive west on I-70 and take the exit for I-91 South. Travel through Leadville (I-91 becomes 24 South), then west onto Highway 82 over Independence Pass. Follow the signs for Highway 82/Main Street through downtown Aspen (Main Street takes several turns.) Leaving Aspen, enter the roundabout and take the Castle Creek Road exit. Then continue one-half mile to Music School Road on the left.


Students are strongly encouraged to leave personal vehicles at home and use public transportation while in Aspen. There is no student parking on the Bucksbaum Campus and limited or no student parking at other AMFS venues. Aspen is a small, densely populated, tourist town. Traffic is heavy, parking is insufficient, and gasoline prices far exceed national averages. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) offers free and convenient bus service between all AMFS venues and extends from the City of Aspen to Snowmass Village. More info at

Students are encouraged to bring bicycles (as well as helmets and locks) to Aspen as their primary mode of transportation. The AMFS provides a limited number of bicycles first-come, first-served for a nominal fee of $25.

Bicycle rentals are also available through local shops. Additionally, WE-cycle, a bike-share system similar to systems in many major cities, will be offering free access to its bike-share network this summer. With over a dozen stations, including the Benedict Music Tent and Marolt Ranch, WE-cycle offers students an easy and convenient way to get around town. For more information visit

Student should ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.


On-Campus Housing

Students who wish to live on campus may live in Marolt Ranch or Burlingame residence halls. Full descriptions of the properties are below. All students living in the residence halls receive a meal plan to include three meals per day, available in either the Marolt or Bucksbaum cafeteria. The two residence halls have the capacity to house approximately two-thirds of the student body, and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that all units are typically reserved by May 1.  The residence halls are overseen by the Residence Life staff. These individuals are available to assist the student-residents and to promote a sense of community.

See AMFS Policies  section for a full version of AMFS rules and regulations. A condensed version of AMFS policies as they pertain to the residence halls are as follows: Alcohol (regardless of whether a student is of legal drinking age), controlled substances (including marijuana), animals (including pets and service animals), and firearms (or anything like a firearm; see full regulations for definitions) are not permitted in or on the property of the residence halls. Smoking is permitted only in designated areas and not within the units. Smoking products/devices include, but are not limited to, cigars, cigarettes, pipes, materials which are lighted or inhaled, e-cigarettes, electronic vaping devices, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems, or such devices which vaporize substances to simulate smoking.

The AMFS reserves the right to search bags, rooms, and other personal belongings if there is suspicion of alcohol, controlled substances, or other items not permitted.

See the individual property descriptions for practice and quiet hours, as they vary by property. Overnight guests are not permitted. Students age eighteen and older are not permitted to enter the rooms of students under the age of eighteen and vice versa. Student-residents must review the Residence Life Handbook prior to arrival in Aspen. The Residence Life Handbook is available on the Status Page of the student’s AMFS account.

Required items: extra-long twin size sheets (flat and fitted), pillowcases, bath towels, and hangers. Pillows can be purchased from the AMFS for $5. (Blankets are provided.)

Recommended items: cell phone and cooking utensils.

Note that basic items like bath mats, hangers, dishes/cooking utensils are not provided. Student-residents are directed to local thrift shops (or Amazon) to acquire such items if so desired. Cleaning supplies are provided but shared among all residents and must be checked out. Student-residents are encouraged to purchase their own supplies if they desire regular access to these products.

Internet is provided for checking emails and light web-browsing. It is not designed to support streaming or high-density downloads and will only function on one device at a time, per resident. Student-residents who desire higher-performance internet should contact the local service provider to acquire service at their own expense.


Marolt Ranch Photos

Directions: From Highway 82, take the Castle Creek exit at the roundabout and turn left after less than a quarter mile at the small “Marolt Ranch Housing” sign. Follow the driveway to the main parking lot.

  • 94-unit facility
  • 1.5 miles from downtown Aspen
  • .25 miles from the Bucksbaum Campus
  • Pay laundry facilities onsite (One-time purchase of $5 laundry card, plus additional $1.75 per wash load and $1.50 per dryer load, paid for with debit or credit card). Rates are subject to change.
  • Dining Hall onsite
  • 2 residents housed per 2-room suite (roommates share common spaces but have a private bedroom). Room assignment within each suite is determined by the roommates upon their arrival.
  • Units have capability for phone hook-up at tenants' discretion and expense through local utility company (phone not provided)
  • Refrigerator and microwave provided. Cookware, dishes, utensils, not provided.
  • Blanket provided. Pillows can be purchased from AMFS for $5.
  • Limited parking
  • Quiet hours are 10 pm to 9 am, no practicing.


Burlingame Photos

Directions: Traveling east on Highway 82, pass the Aspen Airport on the right. Travel another half mile and make a left at the next traffic light (Harmony Road). Burlingame is straight ahead. Burlingame is located approximately three miles west of downtown Aspen.

  • 56-unit facility
  • 3 miles from downtown Aspen
  • 3 miles from the Bucksbaum Campus
  • Pay laundry facilities onsite (One-time purchase of $5 laundry card, plus additional $2.50 per wash load and $2.50 per dryer load, paid for with debit or credit card). Rates are subject to change.
  • 2 residents per 2-room suite (roommates share common spaces but have a private bedroom). Room assignment within each suite is determined by the roommates upon their arrival.
  • Units have capability for phone hook-up at tenants' discretion and expense through local utility company (phone not provided)
  • Kitchen sink, refrigerator, microwave, and stovetop in units. Cookware, dishes, utensils, not provided.
  • Blanket provided. Pillows can be purchased from AMFS for $5.
  • No dining hall at Burlingame; food service is available at the Marolt Ranch and at the Bucksbaum Campus
  • Quiet hours are 10 pm to 9 am, no practicing.




Highlands Photos

Directions: From Highway 82, take the Maroon Creek Road exit at the roundabout and travel 1.5 miles. Take a left on Thunderbowl Lane and a right on Boomerang Road. Short-term parking can be found here. Units are located above the shops and restaurants on the Plaza on Prospector Road.

  • Ages 21 and up
  • Full Session (six-week) students only
  • 3 miles from downtown Aspen
  • 3 miles from the Bucksbaum Campus
  • In-unit laundry (free of charge)
  • Double and triple-occupancy rooms. A very limited number of singles available on a first-come, first-served basis. Units vary in size and layout, and can house 3 to 8 students.
  • Units have capability for phone hook-up at tenants' discretion and expense through local utility company (phone not provided)
  • Full kitchen with sink, stovetops, and oven in each unit. Cookware, dishes, utensils, not provided.
  • Blanket provided. Pillows can be purchased from AMFS for $5.
  • No dining hall onsite; food service is available at the Marolt Ranch and at the Bucksbaum Campus
  • This property is shared with public members of the community. Early quiet hours at Highlands ensure a peaceful space for students and neighbors. Beginning 7 pm, windows and doors must be closed if practicing inside the unit. There is no practicing past 10 pm.


Campus Café – Bucksbaum Campus

Marolt Grill – Marolt Ranch

The Marolt cafeteria is open starting Tuesday, June 22 for dinner. The Bucksbaum cafeteria is open starting Wednesday, June 23, for breakfast. Meal service for Half Session II students will begin at dinner on Monday, July 26. Meal service for Half Session II and Full Session students ends after dinner service on Sunday, August 22.

All students living in the residence halls receive a meal plan to include three meals per day, available with Student ID. Refunds and/or discounts for the meal plan are not available.

Food Allergies - Students with food allergies should communicate with the Office of Student Services before their arrival in Aspen. Vegetarian selections, as well as a salad and sandwich bar, are always available. Food must not be taken for later consumption.

Food may not be shared with individuals who are not on the meal plan. Doing so will result in revocation of the meal plan without refund.


Full Session / Half Session I

June 22 (Tuesday), beginning 12 pm


July 26 (Monday), beginning 4 pm

Students should check in at their assigned residence hall. Early check-in is not permitted.

The housing office closes at 10 pm during Move-In Week. If arriving outside of office hours, call the Resident Supervisor on Duty as you near the Marolt Ranch: 970 319 2100.

Students arriving after Registration must check in at the Student Information Center at the Marolt Ranch prior to going to their assigned residence hall.

Marolt Ranch, below the dining hall
970 920 3499, main office line (call during office hours)

970 319 2100, Resident Supervisor on Duty (call for emergencies, outside of office hours)
The Student Information Center (SIC) serves as a communication hub for students living in the residence halls. Residence Life officers staff the SIC during office hours. A Supervisor is on duty 24 hours a day and can be reached by cell phone in case of emergencies, when the office is closed. Important information such as bus schedules, copies of the Residence Life Handbook, cleaning supplies, and paper products are available at the Center. (Many documents are also available at other AMFS venues and on the Status Page of the student’s AMFS account.)


  • The AMFS can provide housing for students as young as age fifteen. Special rules apply to students between the ages of fifteen and seventeen.
  • Students between the ages of fifteen and seventeen are required to live in the residence halls, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • Students under the age of eighteen, whether living in the residence halls or living off-campus with a parent or guardian, must abide by the 11 pm curfew set by ordinance of the City of Aspen, which specifies that minors are not permitted on city streets between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, or on legitimate business as directed by an adult. Nightly bed checks are conducted of each room occupied by underage students to ensure compliance.
  • Students age eighteen and older are not permitted to enter the rooms of students under the age of eighteen and vice versa.

Students must be fifteen as of June 23, 2021 to be permitted to live in the residence halls. Underage residents must provide written parental permission via the Underage Agreement. Rules and regulations will be posted, distributed, and discussed with the underage students. Violation of these regulations or demonstration of a lack of sufficient maturity by any student will result in a meeting with the Resident Director, Associate Dean, and/or the Dean and possible expulsion. In the event of expulsion from the residence halls, the parent/guardian is responsible for making the necessary arrangements for removal of the student within seventy-two hours of notification.

Students under the age of fifteen may not live in the residence halls. The AMFS requires a parent or legal guardian to be in residence in off-campus housing with any student under the age of fifteen for the entire session. If parents choose to grant permission to a legal guardian, the guardian must be at least twenty-one years of age and cannot be an AMFS student. The Authorization of Guardianship form must be submitted to the Dean, including a statement signed by the parent giving responsibility of the child to the guardian. This form must also be signed by the guardian, stating that they will accept responsibility for the child. Each submission will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The average AMFS student is over age twenty-one and of legal drinking age, though the AMFS does not allow alcohol in the residence halls and follows federal law as it pertains to controlled substances. The AMFS is not structured like a summer camp. Other than some weekly events at the residence halls, there are few organized recreational activities. The AMFS is not staffed to handle the special social and structural needs of younger students, nor are they able to supervise the social choices of students. Students are responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Parents: Be aware that there are no uniforms, no daily sign-out procedures, and no supervised practice times. Underage students unable to focus on their musical studies without parental supervision and unable to make responsible social choices should consider attending the Aspen Music Festival and School accompanied by a parent or should delay attendance until they are fully able to do so.


Off-campus Housing

Students who wish to live off campus make their own living arrangements. As a resort town, housing in Aspen is expensive. Students can expect to have roommates and/or should consider housing in the Snowmass Village or down valley areas. Students are encouraged to make arrangements as early as possible. However, summer housing usually does not become available until April, after ski season.

The following websites are resources that students have found helpful:

As a resource to students, the AMFS posts a referral list of available local housing on students' Status Pages. The list will be regularly updated with vacancies from mid-April until the Festival’s start in mid-June. This list is not an endorsement of any kind, but strictly a list of properties and roommate opportunities. The AMFS does not guarantee the condition, including but not limited to, the quality, comfort, and safety of any listing, and will not interfere with negotiations. Further, the AMFS is not responsible for any contractual obligations agreed upon between landlord and tenant. Landlords interested in advertising available properties should email to be added to the list.

The Off-Campus Housing List will also contain contact information of other AMFS students seeking off-campus roommates. Students who wish to be added to this list should fill out the “Off-Campus Roommate Request” Form upon enrollment.  

*Note that students are not permitted to rent from or reside with AMFS artist-faculty.

A small number (ten to fifteen) of opportunities for students to live free of charge with a generous member of the Aspen community exist. Students may not approach community members directly about these opportunities as they are awarded as part of a financial assistance package and community members receive perquisites from the AMFS as a token of appreciation. Fellowship students are not eligible for these opportunities.



The orchestra experience at Aspen is rigorous with weekly public performances to include five to seven services per week. Services are typically three hours. Students age seventeen and older are required to play in orchestra and will complete a pre-season survey about their expectations for the orchestral experience, as well as repertoire preferences. Efforts will be made to accommodate requests but without guarantee. Students under age seventeen will be given the opportunity to express their level of interest for orchestra in the pre-season survey. It is suggested that young students consult with their year-round private teachers to ensure they can handle the intensity and have the maturity to arrive prepared to every rehearsal. Aspen private teachers will be consulted by the administration as well. Placement in orchestra is not guaranteed for students under the age of seventeen. It may be recommended that younger or less-experienced players focus on private study or specially-designed and limited exposure to orchestra. Pre-existing medical conditions and religious practices will not excuse students from participation in orchestra.

Seating auditions will be held Wednesday, June 23 through Sunday, June 27. Information about dates, times, and repertoire requirements will be communicated in the spring.

It is to the student’s advantage to arrive in good condition, prepared to play at their best. There will not be an opportunity to re-audition for orchestra placement.

For a description of the AMFS ensembles, visit the Orchestra/Instrumental page.

*All AMFS ensembles tune A=441.


AMFS full-session students are invited to audition for chamber music after arrival in Aspen and should sign up for an audition time upon enrollment. Note that brass students audition at the time of their orchestra audition, while other instrumental areas take a separate chamber music audition.

Students will complete a pre-season survey about their expectations for the chamber music experience, including repertoire preferences. Efforts will be made to accommodate requests but without guarantee. Also, several violas are available for loan (no charge) to violinists interested in playing viola for chamber music.

Accepted individuals will be placed in ensembles and assigned a special project. Intensive coaching and rehearsals will ensue in preparation for a spotlight performance. Assignments are project-based. Students may work intensively for two- to three- weeks or may work the entire session, depending on difficulty of the repertoire. A typical commitment would be 16 hours of coaching and rehearsal over a two-to three-week period. 

String seating placement auditions are June 25 (Friday). Conducting auditions are June 26 and 27 (Saturday and Sunday). All ACA musicians play for the conductor auditions. Wind and brass students assigned to the Academy Orchestra must audition at regular (non-ACA) orchestra seating audition times.

Auditions for AOT singers will be held on July 26 (Saturday). At this time, some supporting roles and scenes will be assigned. Detailed information will be communicated in the spring.

Late arrivals are very much discouraged. If a late arrival is approved, late chamber music auditions are not offered and late orchestra auditions are offered only on Tuesday, June 29. Students who arrive after this date will be subject to any available seating for the first session and an audition will be granted for second session placement (Tuesday, July 27). 




Bucksbaum Campus – 225 Music School Road; 970 925 3254
The Bucksbaum Campus is located two miles outside of downtown Aspen and is served by the RFTA free bus system. The Campus is comprised of the Gordon Hardy administration building, the Robert Harth Building with cafeteria and executive offices, three rehearsal halls, three classroom buildings, a percussion building, a music library, and nearly seventy practice rooms. 


Located in Aspen’s historic West End, the Benedict Music Tent, opened in 2000, is a 2,050-seat open-air venue. Adjacent is the 500-seat, acoustically pristine chamber and recital venue, Harris Concert Hall.  Fully-staged operas and Opera Scenes Master Classes are held in this historic Wheeler Opera House, located in downtown Aspen.

The AMFS also presents several recital series at local Churches, libraries, and museums.

See the Student Handbook provided at Registration for a map and full explanation of all facilities, including hours of operation.


AMFS Libraries
The AMFS has two music libraries. The Tent Library is located backstage of the Benedict Music Tent and issues music for Aspen Festival Orchestra, Aspen Chamber Symphony, and Percussion Ensemble. The Bucksbaum Campus Library issues music for the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra, Aspen Opera Center Orchestra, Fourth of July music, and woodwind, brass, and percussion repertoire reading material. Assigned repertoire readings and individual orchestral parts and score loans can be checked out here as well. Chamber Music can also be checked out at the Bucksbaum Campus Library, including music for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, solo repertoire, miniature orchestral scores, piano repertoire, and vocal repertoire. Each of the five orchestras also has a dedicated librarian. Students must present their AMFS Student ID to check out materials. Fines will be assessed for past due, lost, or damaged music, and deducted from their security deposit.

Pitkin County Library - 120 North Mill Street
The Pitkin County Library offers books, reference materials, an extensive CD collection, music scores, as well as the archive of recorded AMFS performances dating from 1958 to the present. Students may access these materials as well as the library’s entire circulation by obtaining a library card with their AMFS Student ID or other photo ID.


Box Office, Tickets, and Passes

Subject to availability, students are entitled to one ticket to each performance (excluding fully-staged operas, benefits, collaborations, and special events) for their own use only, with presentation of student ID. Some free events do not require a ticket. Tickets for Benedict Music Tent events can be obtained at the Harris Hall Box Office "fish bowl" or Main Reception at the Bucksbaum Campus the day of the performance. Tickets for Harris Hall events are available one hour prior to start time at the Harris Hall Box Office only. 

Tickets for Opera Scenes Master Classes can be collected at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office one hour prior to the event. Students may pay a $15 validation fee for advance ticketing for any event that is included with the Student Pass. Excluded events may be purchased at full price. Exact addresses and office hours for all ticketing locations can be found in the Student Handbook issued at Registration. 

Each student has two complimentary tickets in their student account held at the Harris Hall Box Office to offer to visiting family members. These can be collected with presentation of Student ID at the Harris Hall Box Office and may be redeemed at any time. The same event restrictions apply for these two comp tickets. Aspen Opera Theater singers performing at the Wheeler Opera House should make requests to the AOT Company Manager for complimentary tickets for visiting family. Students performing in Harris Hall specials should email Dean of Students Jennifer White at, for complimentary tickets for visiting family. Due to the smaller size of these venues, requests will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.


Mail and Communications

Email is the main source of communication for the AMFS. Students should check their email regularly.

The Student Mail Room is located on the basement level, back side (Creekside) of the Hardy Building. See the Student Handbook issued at Registration for hours of operation.

Student mail and packages sent via U.S. Postal Service should be addressed as follows: 
Student’s Name
AMFS Student
P.O. Box 8284
Aspen, CO 81612

Student packages sent by any service other than USPS (like FedEx or UPS) should be addressed as follows:
Student’s Name
AMFS Student
225 Music School Rd.
Aspen, CO  81611

*Expect delays to our isolated mountain town, including with services like Amazon Prime. Students will receive an email notifying them when they have items to collect.

*Students may send large packages (linens, bicycles, etc.) in advance of their arrival but to arrive no earlier than June 15. Packages may be collected beginning Tuesday, June 22. 

*Don’t forget to submit a forwarding address with the U.S. Postal Service (can be done online) upon departure from Aspen.

Soundings, the School newsletter, is delivered via email weekly, to apprise students, faculty, and staff of Festival-related events, including how to apply for special educational and performance opportunities, and reminders of School policies to ensure a successful summer.

Aspen Essentials is a pre-season newsletter that will be distributed in the several weeks leading up to the start of the season to help ready students for the experience ahead of them. 

Students are encouraged to bring cell phones. Depending on the carrier, cell phone service can be spotty on the Bucksbaum Campus, at the Benedict Music Tent/Harris Concert Hall, and the residence halls, but it works well in town and surrounding areas. Verizon Wireless provides the best coverage in the Aspen area. Telephones and land line service are not provided in the residence halls.

The AMFS provides Wi-Fi in the residence halls and on the Bucksbaum Campus for the purpose of checking email and light browsing. Students interested in a more sophisticated service at their residence hall may purchase private service through a local provider at their own expense.

Computer Lab - Bucksbaum Building, Bucksbaum Campus. Open daily. Hours vary. 


Student Health Plan

All registered students of the AMFS are required to participate in the Student Health Plan and to pay the Health Service fee of $195 ($120 for Half Session students; $70 for Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute students). Coverage dates are June 23-August 22.


The AMFS Student Health Plan covers visits to Aspen Clinic Internal Medicine Associates (IMA), a primary care facility that provides general health care. Students may consult with IMA about any non-emergency health or sickness concerns at no cost. All referrals made by IMA for general health care related to the student’s time in Aspen will be covered by the AMFS Student Health Plan. The AMFS Student Health Plan DOES NOT cover pre-existing conditions, suicide, routine physicals, hernias, dentistry, optical, or pregnancy. It also does not cover referrals for chiropractors, acupuncture, routine eye exams, other non-essential medical treatments, or any kind of testing. Visits to the Aspen Valley Hospital Emergency Room WILL NOT be covered through the Student Health Plan.

With a referral from IMA, the AMFS Student Health Plan covers up to three visits of physical therapy at Aspen Sports Medicine in downtown Aspen. Students MUST have a referral BEFORE beginning PT. A referral is NOT required; however, Aspen Sports Medicine will conduct a thorough evaluation of each student’s injuries during the first visit which is considered one of the three free visits. After three visits, additional sessions will require either personal health insurance or an out of pocket fee of $100/visit. When scheduling an appointment, students must notify Aspen Sports Medicine that they are an AMFS student.

Aspen Sports Medicine physical therapy appointments must be cancelled at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the cancellation fee. If an appointment is cancelled less than 24 hours in advance of your appointment time, the AMFS STUDENT will be charged a $100 cancellation fee. The charge will be added to your student account and must be paid before leaving Aspen. Charged students will receive an invoice from the Office of Student Services and should either call Megan McDevitt or come to the window during office hours to complete payment.

The AMFS Student Health Plan also covers visits to Mind Springs Health, offering exceptional mental health and wellness support. Students may consult with a Mind Springs professional on campus for brief wellness assessments and tools to improve mental health or they may make appointments with counselors at the Mind Springs offices which are adjacent to Aspen Valley Hospital. Groups sessions on musician-related topics (like performance anxiety) will also be advertised for student participation

All students (or a parent/guardian if under the age of 18) must sign the Consent to Medical Treatment form that authorizes immediate medical treatment in the case of emergency.

Direct questions to: Megan McDevitt, Manager of Enrollment and Student Benefits, at or 970 205 5052.

970 544 1131; 600 East Main Street, Suite 103
Please refer to the Student Handbook (distributed at Registration) for specific hours and additional details on coverage. Appointment required.

970 925 1120; 401 Castle Creek Road (Across Castle Creek Road from Marolt Ranch)
*Dial 9-1-1 in case of a medical emergency

The AMFS Student Health Plan does not cover visits to Aspen Valley Hospital. Medical emergencies will be handled by Aspen Valley Hospital. However, students will need to provide their personal health insurance information at the time of treatment.

970 920 5555; 405 Castle Creek Road, Suite 207
Crisis hotline: 888 207 4004
(Across Castle Creek Road from Marolt Ranch and adjacent to Aspen Valley Hospital)

Other Mental Health Resources:

Aspen Hope Center: 24-hour confidential crisis hotline

Aspen Strong: free mental health screenings

970 925 1808; 616 East Hyman Avenue

970 920 0104; 101 Founders Place, Suite 109
The AMFS Student Health Plan does not cover services offered at Aspen Medical Care. This is a good option should a medical concern arise when Internal Medicine Associates is closed and the issue does not appear to be a hospital emergency. Students will need to present their personal health insurance at the time of treatment. Hours vary. Walk-ins welcome.

970 920 5420; 405 Castle Creek Road
(Across Castle Creek Road from Marolt Ranch and adjacent to Aspen Valley Hospital)
Family Planning-Community Health Services offers low-cost and/or free family planning and counseling including reproductive health education and testing. For paid services, personal health insurance is accepted.


Classes and Performance Opportunities

Students in all programs can attend more than 400 performances, master classes, lectures, and panels. Students can also become involved in community engagement activities – both teaching and performing opportunities are available. Each instrumental department conducts weekly master classes and repertoire classes. A variety of solo and chamber music performance opportunities are available. For some opportunities, students must submit an application form with teacher signature. Some opportunities require a screening. More information as well as applications will be available at Registration.

Concerto competitions are reserved for students enrolled in the Orchestral / Instrumental and Solo Piano programs only.

The Aspen Music Festival and School hosts several faculty-adjudicated public competitions each summer: violin, piano, lower strings (viola, cello, double bass), woodwinds, harp, and brass. There is a percussion competition every other year and every other competition is shared with the brass department (no competition in 2021).  In addition, the Aspen Conducting Academy (ACA) hosts one competition for violin and one for piano, to make two in each area per year. These private competitions are adjudicated by a master conductor, training student conductors on the hiring of soloists. Winners receive the opportunity to perform as soloist with the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra or the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra. A list of concerto repertoire will be available on the Status Page of the student's AMFS account in the spring.

Eligibility: Students (except for piano) who have won a competition (note there are two for violin, each year) within the last five years may not compete in that specific competition for another five years. For example, a double bass player who won the 2015 Low Strings Concerto Competition may not compete again until 2020. A violinist who won the 2015 ACA Violin Competition could compete in the non-ACA Violin Competition only.
Pianists who have won any competition (note there are two for piano, each year) may not compete for another five years. For example, a pianist who won the Solo Piano Competition in 2015 may not compete in either the Solo Piano Competition or the ACA Piano Competition until 2020.

Students are required to submit a form with their teacher’s signature by the published deadline to enter the competition; forms are available at the Office of Student Services. Students may select their own accompanist or request one through the Collaborative Piano Department. The AMFS covers the cost of an hour of rehearsal time as well as the time spent at the competition, ONLY for an accompanist with the Collaborative Piano Department. See the concerto competition flyer for memorization guidelines. Competition order is determined by lottery and emailed to applicants. In some cases, a preliminary competition may be held in a particular instrument. Cuts will be emailed the morning of the competition.

Disqualification Notice: Students must not miss Festival/School commitments (orchestra, private lessons, chamber music, or any other obligation) the seven days prior to the competition and must generally exhibit good citizenship. Necessary absences must be accompanied by a doctor’s note. Incidents will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applications submitted past the deadline or without teacher signature will not be accepted.


Student Work Opportunities

A wide range of employment opportunities are available to students and pay $11-15 per hour and more in some cases, such as: ticket-seller, usher, cafeteria attendant, parking crew attendant, computer lab monitor, library assistant, mail room assistant, private lessons instructor for local youth, and hired performer through our Hire a Musician program. Note that most jobs offer few hours per week and will not provide substantial income. 

There are fourteen Resident Assistant positions available to students age twenty-one and older. Individuals who are awarded these positions receive free room and board in on-campus housing. Applications must be completed upon applying for admission to the AMFS.

To be considered for a Resident Assistant position you must:

  • Be twenty-one years of age by June 18
  • Submit the Resident Assistant Application with your Program Application
  • Apply for a Full Session program at the Aspen Music Festival and School and complete all requirements for admission

If you are selected for a Resident Assistant position:

  • You must check into the residence halls on Thursday, June 17, and report to work on Friday, June 18, at 9 am.
  • You are expected to work through 4 pm on Monday, August 23.


Paychecks and Other Financial Reimbursement

Students must present their AMFS ID to the Office of Student Services to receive paychecks. Paychecks will not be issued to students with a balance due to the AMFS until it has been paid. See the Student Handbook issued at Registration for paycheck and reimbursement dates.

Students may cash personal checks in the amount of $75 or less and student paychecks from the Aspen Music Festival and School in any amount at Alpine Bank (two locations). Alpine Bank requires fingerprinting, an AMFS ID, as well as a government-issued ID for a non-Alpine Bank customer to cash checks. They will not cash second party checks. More detail will be provided in the Student Handbook provided at Registration.

The following banks are in Aspen. There is not a Bank of America location in Aspen.

Alpine Bank
American National Bank
Bank Midwest
First Colorado National Bank
Timberline Bank
United Western Bank
US Bank
Wells Fargo Bank


Leaving Aspen

Regular bus service will be available through Sunday, August 22. On Monday, August 23, limited Rubey Park/AMFS Campus busses will be running. There will be no service between Burlingame and the Bucksbaum Campus.

All students must complete the online check-out form through their Status Page. Students living in the residence halls must also pick up a check-out form at the Student Information Center at Marolt Ranch.

If living in the residence halls, follow all check-out procedures listed in the Residence Life Handbook. All students must vacate their rooms by noon on Monday, August 23.

See AMFS Policies Section.

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO