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Aspen Music Festival and School Announces 2013 Season

February 14, 2013 | By Laura Smiith
Communications Director
The Aspen Music Festival and School, led by Music Director Robert Spano, right, in his second season, has announced its eight-week summer program for 2013. The festival will comprise more than 300 events and include a 20th anniversary celebration of Harris Concert Hall, debuts by major artists such as Joyce DiDonato and the newly reformed Emerson String Quartet, eclectic offerings such as Simone Dinnerstein in concert with folk singer Tift Merritt and, as always, Aspen’s signature mix of standard, adventurous, and “wet ink” music.

The season schedule includes theme-inspired works such as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 74, "Pathétique" (June 30); Beethoven’s Egmont, op. 84, Overture and Complete Incidental Music (June 28); Philip Glass’ Icarus at the Edge of Time (June 27); Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration), op. 24 (July 17); Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 54 (July 24); Joan Tower’s Fifth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (August 13); and Musorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition (August 14).A major retrospective on the music of Benjamin Britten is also scheduled, highlighting some 25 works including a semi-staged performance of Peter Grimes (July 27) in the Benedict Music Tent. Programming will also include the Violin Concerto, op. 15 performed by Daniel Hope (July 14); the Piano Concerto, op. 13 performed by Wu Han (July 12); The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, op. 34 (July 23); the Cello Symphony, op. 68 (July 24) and Les illuminations, op. 18 (August 2) conducted by AMFS alumnus James Gaffigan.

Summer 2013 will also include a wide array of standard orchestral repertoire, including music of Beethoven, Debussy, Dvorák, Berlioz, Janacék, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. The annual evening of Baroque music (July 3), curated and conducted by Nicholas McGegan, will again feature guest artists and artist-faculty, side-by-side with 2013 AMFS music students.

The theme for the 2013 Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) season, Conscience and Beauty, focuses on the reflections of the composer’s social conscience in music. Programming will feature the voices of composers such as Shostakovich, Mahler, Debussy, Britten and Bernstein who revealed their emotions and their politics through their music.

AMFS president and CEO Alan Fletcher says, “This season is an important one for the institution. Internally it has been undergoing a transformation to be stronger and more powerfully focused on our essential mission: the future of music. In 2013, this begins to be reflected overtly in a myriad of ways. Our $60 million campus redevelopment is underway, creating exquisite teaching and rehearsing spaces for students and faculty; faculty are seeing record numbers of applications and our season schedule features a brilliant mix of repertoire and of artists, including many truly exciting emergent artists still fresh from their time as students in Aspen.”

The Festival also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Harris Concert Hall, right, described as the “Carnegie of the Rockies” upon its opening in 1993. Great performances at the hall throughout the summer will culminate in a special evening celebration on August 13 with an illustrious line-up of artists, including Aspen alumni violinist Robert McDuffie and classical guitarist Sharon Isbin.

The singers selected for Aspen Opera Theater Center (AOTC) productions often step into the spotlights on the stages of the world’s top opera houses after their time in Aspen under the direction of Edward Berkeley. This summer the AOTC will present Bernstein’s Candide, conducted by George Manahan (July 11 [benefit performance], 13, 15); Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, conducted by Tomáš Netopil (August 1, 3, 5); and Jane Glover conducts Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (August 15, 17). In addition to the three scheduled operas, Mr. Spano will lead a semi-staged production of Britten’s Peter Grimes (July 27) featuring AOTC students and opera stars Susanna Phillips, Brian Mulligan, and Anthony Dean Griffey, reprising his acclaimed 2008 performance of the title role at the Metropolitan Opera. Longtime AOTC director and director of undergraduate opera studies at The Juilliard School Edward Berkeley will direct the production.

Another hallmark of the Festival has been a wide variety of lectures and enrichment events, as well as collaborations with organizations such as the Aspen Public Radio, the Aspen Institute, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Basalt Public Library and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. These will continue in 2013.

Mr. Spano’s career-long commitment to nurture, commission and record contemporary music through partnerships with a new generation of composers is reflected in the summer’s scheduled works by John Corigliano, Paul Dooley, Alan Fletcher, Philip Glass, John Harbison, Sydney Hodkinson, Hannah Lash, Brad Mehldau, Tift Merritt, Edgar Meyer, Arvo Pärt, Christopher Rouse, Adam Schoenberg, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower and George Tsontakis. Composers-in-residence will be Sydney Hodkinson, Steven Stucky and George Tsontakis.

Repertoire premieres include 2012 Druckman Prize winner Paul Dooley’s Point Blank (July 28); Hannah Lash’s String Quartet, co-commissioned by AMFS (July 18) and Adam Schoenberg’s Bounce, also co- commissioned by the AMFS (July 17). Mr. Schoenberg is an Aspen alumnus who is also a part of Mr. Spano’s celebrated Atlanta School of Composers.

For 65 years Aspen has always welcomed home illustrious alumni and the Festival is more than ever committed to increasing appearances of alumni performers just emerging into their professional careers. Nineteen-year-old pianist Conrad Tao, right, will be tackling Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor (July 27) led by alumna Mei-Ann Chen, now music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Bass- baritone Eric Owens (an alumnus of Aspen’s conducting program) brings his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to the Tent for the season’s final performance (August 18) and conductor James Gaffigan returns to Aspen to lead the Aspen Chamber Symphony, (August 2). Other returning alumni conductors include Joshua Weilerstein, who will lead the Harris Concert Hall 20th Anniversary Concert (August 13) and James Feddeck, conducting Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, op. 97, “Rhenish” (August 9).

Notable Events • AMFS 2013 Season opens with Philip Glass’ Icarus at the Edge of Time (June 27) Glass’ multimedia sensation, Icarus at the Edge of Time, which premiered in New York in 2010, opens the 2013 festival. The work tells a mesmerizing musical tale of space, time and a journey to the very edge of understanding, based on the book by Brian Greene. Mei Ann Chen conducts the program, which also includes Conrad Tao, shown right, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Mr. Tao has received numerous honors ranging from the Gilmore Young Artist Prize to the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award, and most recently was named as the only classical artist in Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30: The Youngest Stars in the Music Business” list, alongside the likes of Adele, Lady Gaga and others.

• Celebrating 20 Years of Harris Concert Hall (August 13) For two decades, Harris Concert Hall has been considered one of the Colorado’s top recital venues. Upon its opening in 1993, artists discovered that the pristine acoustics of Harris Concert Hall are great not only for performance, but for recording, including the American Brass Quintet, the Emerson String Quartet and David Finckel and Wu Han, who recorded their Grammy-nominated complete Beethoven works for cello and piano in the hall in 1998. This summer, an illustrious line-up of artists, featuring Aspen alumni violinist Robert McDuffie and classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, comes together to celebrate twenty years of great performances in Aspen’s own gem of a hall.

• Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year Joyce DiDonato makes her Aspen debut (July 23) Wherever she sings, Joyce DiDonato earns rhapsodic reviews. Called “the flame-toned American mezzo” by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, she is among the world’s most enchanting performers and the winner of many honors including Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year and the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Award. In January 2013, Ms. DiDonato received rave reviews for the virtuosic bel canto role of the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots in the new Metropolitan Opera production of Maria Stuarda.

• Wagner and Verdi bicentennial celebration featuring Eric Owens and Heidi Melton (August 18) The season ends Sunday, August 18, with Maestro Spano leading a concert presentation of some of the repertoire’s most powerful operatic moments. American bass-baritone Eric Owens, who recently stole the spotlight as Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s most recent Ring Cycle, shown right in that role, will sing Verdi’s "Ella giammai m'amò" from Don Carlo and Wagner’s Wotan's Farewell from Die Walküre. He will be joined by young American dramatic soprano Heidi Melton, who will sing Wagner’s dramatic conclusion to his monumental Ring Cycle, Brünnhilde’s Immolation. Ms. Melton has been called “the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson” (La Presse). • Gil Shaham performs Bach’s complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin in one marathon concert (July 24) Widely recognized as “the outstanding American violinist of his generation” (Time magazine), Mr. Shaham’s combination of flawless technique with inimitable warmth and a generosity of spirit has solidified his legacy as an American master. The program, hailed by critics as “powerful, lucid,” will be performed on the Grammy-winning violinist’s 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius.

• A semi-staged performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes led by Mr. Spano (July 27) Mr. Spano conducts Britten’s intense psychological drama featuring the full Aspen Festival Orchestra and opera stars Susanna Phillips and Brian Mulligan. Anthony Griffey leads the cast in the epic tenor role he performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 2008 to huge acclaim. Directed by Edward Berkeley.

• The Takács Quartet presents the complete Bartók String Quartets (July 2 and 9) Béla Bartók’s six string quartets, composed at each stage of his career, provide fascinating insight into the world of this important composer. With this cycle, the Takács Quartet builds on its reputation as the one of the most compelling interpreters of chamber music today.

• Emerson String Quartet debuts new cellist Paul Watkins (August 8) This summer the Emerson Quartet, right, implements its first member change in 34 years when cellist Paul Watkins replaces David Finckel. Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton jointly stated, “In Paul Watkins, we three upper string players of the ESQ will continue to find a source of inspiration." The program for Mr. Watkins’ Aspen debut program will include Haydn’s String Quartet in G minor, Hob. III/33, op. 20, no. 3; Britten’s String Quartet No. 3, op. 94 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, op. 59, no. 1, "Razumovsky."

• Operas: Candide, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica and L’incoronazione di Poppea The Aspen Opera Theater Center’s season features Bernstein’s Candide (July 11 [benefit performance], 13, 15), Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica (August 1, 3, 5) and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (August 15, 17). Leonard Bernstein’s critically acclaimed comic operetta Candide will be conducted by George Manahan and directed by Edward Berkeley. Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, two parts of Il Trittico by the Italian master of the aria, will be conducted by Tomáš Netopil and directed by James Marvel. Baroque masterpiece L’incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi will be conducted by Jane Glover and directed by Edward Berkeley.

• 10th Annual Opera Benefit (July 11) The Festival’s celebrates a decade of dazzling operatic benefits with an exclusive cocktail party at the home of Benefit Chair Richard Edwards, dinner at the renowned Caribou Club and the opening night performance of Leonard Bernstein’s enchanting operetta Candide, performed by rising stars from the Aspen Opera Theater Center.

• A Baroque Evening led by period-performance expert Nicholas McGegan (July 3) Specialist Nicholas McGegan returns for an evening of Baroque music performed by guest artists and artist-faculty, side-by-side with students. The program will include works by Telemann, Bach, Vivaldi and Handel with Mr. McGegan conducting from the harpsichord, joined by Gil Shaham, Adele Anthony and Simone Porter on violin, and Avi Avital on mandolin. Mr. McGegan is a frequent conductor in Aspen and has been music director for 27 years of the respected San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale.

• Pink Martini in the Benedict Music Tent in a collaboration with Jazz Aspen Snowmass (July 6) Pink Martini draws inspiration from music from all over the world?crossing genres of classical, Latin, jazz and classic pop. With repertoire ranging from American jazz standards to original compositions that sound like hits from half a century ago to ballads from Eastern Europe and the Far East, the 12- member band has sold more than 2.5 million albums.

• Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt team up for Night (July 16) Night is a unique collaboration between classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. The two musicians unite the classical, folk and rock worlds, exploring common terrain and uncovering new musical landscapes. Night features a set of new songs written especially for the duo by artists including Brad Mehldau, Patty Griffin and Philip Lasser and soloperformances?Merritt performing her own songs, and Dinnerstein playing some of her favorite selections from the solo classical piano repertoire including works by Bach and Schubert.

Aspen Alumni Alumni of the Aspen Music School performing on the 2013 season schedule include: Adele Anthony, violin; Sarah Chang, violin; Mei-Ann Chen, conductor; Sashe Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Jeremy Denk, piano; James Feddeck, conductor; David Finckel, cello; James Gaffigan, conductor; Andreas Haefliger, piano; Sharon Isbin, guitar; Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano; Michael Mermagen, cello; Robert McDuffie, violin; Edgar Meyer, bass; Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin; Gil Shaham, violin; Orli Shaham, piano; Conrad Tao, piano; Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Joshua Weilerstein, conductor; Wu Han, piano and Joyce Yang, piano.

Debut Artists Performers making their AMFS summer guest-artist debuts are Avi Avital, mandolin; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano; Zach Borichevsky, tenor; Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello; James Marvel, director (Puccini); Tift Merritt, singer-songwriter; Michael Morgan, conductor; Brian Mulligan, baritone; Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Daniil Trifonov, piano; the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition Winner, piano; Paul Watkins, cello (new Emerson String Quartet member) and David Zobel, piano.

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 38 U.S. states and more than 44 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with approximately 130 renowned artist-faculty. 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, 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 Also see the AMFS on Facebook, Twitter and InstantEncore.com.

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