by linda hayes | May 23, 2014 | Lifestyle
Singular sensations—The Aspen Music Festival and School summer season and JAS Aspen Snowmass—elevate town's musical melange.
The 2,050-seat Benedict Music Tent is the site of several Aspen Music Festival concerts and JAS Aspen Snowmass Experience performances.
Music is all around us—especially in summer, when even the Aspen trees seem to quake to the rhythm of the breeze. The perfect backdrop to our unique mountain lifestyle, it inspires creativity, serenity, and romance.
With its 65th anniversary season, entitled “The New Romantics,” the Aspen Music Festival and School will acknowledge the return to Romanticism in music by many of today’s composers as well as the works of the 19th-century greats. “Romanticism is a way of viewing the world,” says Robert Spano, Aspen Music Festival and School music director. “It’s a lens through which to peer at life’s great arcs. You can look through that lens or you can shun it, but just as humanity repeats itself, so our musical obsession with Romanticism is a sound wave that ebbs and flows. Yet it is always there, a refrain that, perhaps, marks our humanity.”
Catch “The Great Flood” by Jazz guitarist and composer Bill Frisell on July 21.
The anniversary season opens on June 26 with maestro Spano and violinist Robert McDuffie performing Aspen alumnus Philip Glass’s “The American Four Seasons.” Other season highlights include crooner Tony Bennett with his daughter Antonia Bennett on June 28; violinist and Aspen alumna Midori performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major on July 20; and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell revisiting the Mississippi River flood of 1927 in collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison on July 21.
See singer/songwriter/composer Rufus Wainwright play Harris Concert Hall on July 24.
In a special event on July 24, acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright offers a selection of his personal favorites. On closing night, August 17, the season will culminate with Beethoven’s (the father of musical Romanticism) Symphony No. 9, directed by Spano.
Also included in the season will be fully staged operas, including Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Bizet’s Carmen; seven world premiere works by composers including Mason Bates, Dejan Lazic, and Matthias Pintscher; and programs by resident ensembles, including the Aspen Philharmonic, the Aspen Chamber Symphony, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
“The 2014 season represents Aspen at its best,” says festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher. “Combining the vibrancy of young emerging talent with the seasoned voices of the masters has always defined the experience in Aspen, as it does this year. I look forward to basking in the familiar story of masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, and more, while at the same time, I feel the thrill of anticipation for the new works woven throughout the summer programs.” For more information, schedules, tickets, and Gold, Full, and Kickoff Passes, visit aspenmusicfestival.com or call 970-925-9042.
JAS Aspen Snowmass Labor Day shows entertain crowds of 10,000 plus per day.
Over its 24-year reign, Jazz Aspen Snowmass has made a name for itself well beyond its origins as a small local event to one that is internationally recognized. In fitting form, the momentum will continue with a familiar format—and a new name—as the JAS Aspen Snowmass Experience takes to the stage June 19 to July 7 and August 29 to 31.
The change to “experience” from its former “festival” moniker is both a nod toward Jazz Aspen Snowmass’s upcoming 25th anniversary season in 2015 and its evolution as a whole. “The meaning of the word ‘festival’ has changed dramatically in the last 10 years,” says Jim Horowitz, founder and president. “Attending the JAS Labor Day event, in its spectacular setting, with only one main stage, is dramatically different from any of the major music festivals in operation today. It is an experience.”
On June 28 iconic crooner Tony Bennett sings with his daughter Antonia Bennett.
From June 19 to 21 headliners Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Grammy-winning jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall, and rock ’n’ roll legend Steve Winwood will perform at the Benedict Music Tent. The following Saturday, June 28, JAS and the Aspen Music Festival and School will co-present a special evening at the Tent featuring the legendary Tony Bennett, with daughter and special guest Antonia Bennett. New this year, Jazz Aspen Snowmass & Aspen Music Festival and School will offer an onsite preconcert dinner at the JAS Patron Hospitality Tent, mirroring the Patron (VIP) ticket that JAS provides at its festivals.
Rounding out the Experience, additional shows, including ones by jazz vocalist René Marie, vocalist Tierney Sutton, and Poncho Sanchez, will take place at the JAS Café Downstairs at The Little Nell.
Labor Day Weekend, August 29-31, brings the JAS Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Weekend Experience to Snowmass Town Park, featuring a blend of both timeless and timely artists. “It’s part of our goal,” says Horowitz, “to always expose one aspect of our audience to a part of the music that isn’t in their frame of familiarity.”
For an ultimate Experience, tickets are available to the exclusive new JAS Deck on the field, featuring a private tent and elevated platform where attendees will enjoy complimentary libations.
photography by Alex Irvin (shaham); paul moore (frisell); rick diamond/getty images (underwood); Alex Irvin (tent); anthony pidgeon/getty images (bennetts)