Aspen Music Festival And School


“We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” – Winston Churchill

2017 At the start of the 2017 Winter Music Series, we proudly announced the successful completion of the $1 million challenge grant set out by Joan Harris and the Irving Harris Foundation. The Harris Concert Hall 20th Anniversary Fund supports the maintenance of our beloved performance hall and also endows part of the Winter Music Series in perpetuity.
2016 The fully renovated Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Campus opened to students and artist-faculty in June. On July 11, we welcomed the community to celebrate the grand opening of the new teaching campus. The dedication celebration included remarks by AMFS President and CEO Alan Fletcher, Board of Trustees Chair Robert Hurst, AMFS Trustee and lead donor Kay Bucksbaum, AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, ACDS Head of School Josh Wolman, and Project Architect Harry Teague.
2015 Beginning August 25—the day after the 2015 Festival season ended—Phase II of capital construction started. This final phase of construction continued through the winter restoring historic buildings and creating new rehearsal halls and studio buildings.
2013 The Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Campus opens on July 6. The occasion was marked with a dedication celebration with remarks by AMFS President and CEO Alan Fletcher, Board of Trustees Chair Robert Hurst, AMFS Trustee Kay Bucksbaum, AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, and Harry Teague, principal of Harry Teague Architects.
2012 Pre-construction site work begins on the Campus in March, preparing the way for Phase One, which began on the week of August 20. Sixty percent of the Campus was completed in nine months during Phase One.
2011 Robert Spano becomes the fourth long-term music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
2008 The AMFS and Aspen Country Day School join forces in a campaign to rebuild the Castle Creek campus; Harry Teague Architects is in charge of design. The master plan is approved by the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners in May.
2006 Alan Fletcher, formerly senior vice president of the New England Conservatory and head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Music, is named president and CEO.
1999 Music Director David Zinman founds the Aspen Conducting Academy, formerly known as the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, giving young conductors an opportunity that exists nowhere else. The AMFS celebrates its 50th anniversary and opens the new 2,050-seat Benedict Music Tent.
1996 The Aspen Music Festival and School embarks on a campaign with the goal of raising an $18 million endowment and an additional $14 million for improvements to performance facilities. The campaign is completed in three years and realizes a total of $37 million.
1993 The 500-seat Joan and Irving Harris Concert Hall opens, providing the Music Festival and School with a state-of-the-art, acoustically superior facility for year-round concerts.
1989 Robert Harth arrives from his post as general manager of the Hollywood Bowl to become AMFS's new president and CEO.
1971 Hardy and Music Director Jorge Mester invite Juilliard violin teacher Dorothy DeLay to join the faculty. Her contingent of students becomes nearly one quarter of the student body.
1969 The AMFS gives a winter lease on the campus property to the Aspen Country Day School. Carter Hall is appointed first headmaster.
1968 Hardy secures the Festival's first major grant, bankrolling the creation of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. The ACS becomes a showcase for young talent and its performances complete the now-classic Festival summer weekend: Friday's elegant ACS program; Saturday's intimate chamber-music concert; Sunday afternoon's Aspen Festival Orchestra celebration.
1965 Herbert Bayer designs a replacement for Saarinen's original tent, increasing seating capacity from 900 to 1,750.
1964 Robert O. Anderson, chairman of the board of Atlantic-Richfield and president of the Aspen Institute, conveys the Castle Creek campus property to the MAA.
1962 Norman Singer hires Juilliard faculty member Gordon Hardy as assistant dean. A week later, Hardy becomes dean and eventually executive director, a post he holds until his retirement in 1989.
1952 The Festival is renamed Music Associates of Aspen. A 70-member corporation consisting of 35 musicians and 35 non-musician trustees is appointed. The Music School is folded into the new entity. Courtland Barnes is elected chairman. Mack Harrell recruits Norman Singer, a psychology teacher from The Juilliard School in New York, to be Festival dean. By 1955, he is also Festival manager.
1951 The Aspen Music School is added to the Festival organization.
1949 Walter Paepcke and his wife Elizabeth produce the Goethe Bicentennial Convocation and Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado. The Paepckes believe that music, combined with athletics, intellect, love of nature, and integration with the other arts, can forge what the Greeks had referred to as the Whole Man. For more information about the AMFS Campus History, please click here.

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Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO