The Festival and School has carried on the vision of creativity and education that started with the 1949 Goethe Bicentennial Convocation. Today, over seventy years later, the AMFS continues with an eight-week summer festival of more than 320 events – including orchestral concerts, chamber music, opera, contemporary music, master classes, lectures and kids’ programs. Each day brings concerts to the 2,050-seat Benedict Music Tent (an acoustically superior and award-winning permanent structure that opened in 2000), the beautifully restored Victorian Wheeler Opera House from 1889, the Harris Concert Hall from 1993, as well as in in other venues around Aspen including the Rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum.
The Aspen Music Festival continues to bring the brightest young musicians together with the classical music world’s foremost instructors. More than 470 students, from approximately 40 states and 31 countries, and 100 artist-faculty come each year. Many of the faculty perform in the concerts.
“It offers musicians a choice of programs of study: Orchestra, Solo Piano, Collaborative Piano, Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS, the Aspen Conducting Academy, the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the American Brass Quintet Seminar @Aspen, Classical Guitar, and the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute.”
Sit on the lawn for the Sunday afternoon concerts or take the gondola to the top of Ajax for Music on the Mountain. Here, looking out over wonderful mountains, a brass quintet performs on Saturday afternoons. I just went back and enjoyed the experience as I have over many years . You can also attend master classes or rehearsals throughout the week.
Walking through the Aspen trees on the way to the Music Tent is one of my favorite experiences in town. It takes me back to many years of wonderful memories.
If you have time, make sure to visit the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Music School campus off of Castle Creek a short drive from town. The campus underwent a total makeover in 2013/2014. Blending into the site, the new buildings are contemporary in design. They sit on 38 acres of natural woodlands, with ponds, aspen groves, and dramatic hillsides. A pedestrian campus, it features a central plaza surrounded by rehearsal halls, teaching studios, practice rooms, and administrative offices.
I was very impressed with my first performance of Music with a View at the Rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum. This free concert featured performances by eight guitarists. I loved the experience. The venue is the perfect spot for a concert.