Classical music and fresh mountain air is a combination that really can’t be beat, so, needless to say, my first experience at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado was fantastic.

To give a little background, AMFS is a music festival that runs from June to August every year for talented musicians of all ages. During the summer, students have individual instruction, master classes, and professional performances at venues around the city, including the Benedict Music Tent, Harris Concert Hall, and the historic Wheeler Opera House. A unique feature of the Music Tent venue is the lawn outside, where many locals and guests will gather and have a dinner picnic while enjoying the music from the tent.

Faculty for the school include world-renown musicians from principals from the world’s best orchestras to professors at leading universities. Students receive individual instruction along with master classes with visiting faculty.

Areas of instruction include the following:

– Instrumental/Orchestral
– Aspen Opera Theater Center
– Solo Piano
– Collaborative Piano
– American Academy of Conducting at Aspen
– Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies
– Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
– Center for Advanced Quartet Studies
– Classical Guitar

Throughout the summer season, students have the opportunity to participate in concerts to hone their performance skills, whether those are chamber, solo, opera or orchestral performances. Along with the music school performances, guest artists, ranging from conductors to well-known musicians, share their knowledge with the students.

The wonderful thing about AMFS is the scope of classical music that it covers – not only are there orchestra, chamber, solo and opera performances – there are lectures, master classes and dress rehearsals that the public are privy to attending.

The theme of 2012’s summer season was “Made in America” – described by AMFS as featuring “the music of three groups of recognized and much-beloved composers: the current musical luminaries on the North American scene; émigré composers who created significant music in America, from Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky to Hindemith, Bloch, and Bartok; and the entire school of American composers who studied in Europe and returned to establish a truly American school, including MacDowell, Chadwick, Copland, Antheil, Rorem, and many others.”

In my following blog entries, I will be discussing my day to day experiences at the festival and will also feature an interview with Emerson String Quartet cellist, David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han.

– Submitted by Janica Quach, Music Design