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67th season runs eight weeks: July 2 to August 23;

comprises more than 300 events performed by 630 young-adult student musicians,

130 artist-faculty, and 75 guest artists


Music Director Robert Spano leads a season themed “Dreams of Travel,” exploring

musical works enriched by other cultures




The Aspen Opera Theater Center – a training ground for artists on the cusp of their careers – presents four fully staged productions: Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (7/16, 7/18, 7/20); a double-bill featuring Theofanidis’ The Cows of Apollo or The Invention of Music and Stucky’s The Classical Style (7/30, 8/1) and Mozart’s Così fan tutte (8/18, 8/20, 8/22)


Robert Spano will also conduct Verdi’s mega-masterwork Aida in a semi-staged version in the Benedict Music Tent with professionals singing alongside the bright talents of the Aspen Opera Theater Center and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus (8/7)


Joshua Bell plays with — and conducts! — the Aspen Chamber Symphony (8/14)


Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin celebrates 25 years of summers in Aspen and joins two other superstar guitarists, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, in a program of Latin, Brazilian and jazz music, titled Guitar Passions (8/6)


Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra return, presented in association with Jazz Aspen Snowmass (7/6)


Cutting edge pianist Vijay Iyer and his trio come to Aspen for the first time (7/27) International super-star pianist Yundi makes his Aspen debut, (7/7)

Violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner explore the cross-cultural influence of Beethoven in

Bridge to Beethoven (7/15)


Pianist Vladimir Feltsman presents – exclusively in Aspen – two recitals of Russian composers almost unknown in the West. They include Roslavets, Mosolov and Protopopov, all of whom were deeply influenced by Scriabin and his mystical approach to music, and Weinberg and Ustvolskaya, whose works will be played alongside their mentor Shostakovich.  (8/12, 8/13)


Composition students gain rare opportunity to study with six highly distinguished composers: Sydney Hodkinson, Shulamit Ran, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky, Christopher Theofanidis and

George Tsontakis


National radio shows Performance Today (7/26) and From the Top (7/12) tape live shows at

Harris Concert Hall


Conductors include AMFS Music Director Robert Spano, Joshua Bell, Johannes Debus,

Jane Glover, Jeffrey Kahane, Kirill Karabits, Hannu Lintu, George Manahan, Jun Märkl, Nicholas McGegan, Ludovic Morlot, Stephen Mulligan, Rafael Payare, Larry Rachleff, David Robertson, Michael Stern, Patrick Summers, Osmo Vänskä, Joshua Weilerstein and Hugh Wolff


Soloists and ensembles include: pianists Inon Barnatan, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Lise de la Salle, Jeremy Denk, Vladimir Feltsman, Marc-André Hamelin, Steven Hough, Vijay Iyer, Jeffrey Kahane, Vadym Kholodenko, Jan Lisiecki, Nikolai Lugansky, Anton Nel, John O’Conor, Steven Osborne, Orli Shaham, Conrad Tao, Shai

Wosner, Wu Han, Joyce Yang and Yundi; violinists Adele Anthony, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Augustin

Hadelich, Daniel Hope, Stefan Jackiw, Fabiola Kim, Jennifer Koh, Robert McDuffie, Simone Porter, Gil Shaham and Joseph Swensen; violist Roberto Díaz; guitarists Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo; cellists David Finckel and Alisa Weilerstein; double-bassist Edgar Meyer; vocalists Sasha Cooke, Cecilia Hall, Isabel Leonard, Luis Alejandro Orozco, Susanna Phillips, Issachah Savage

Tamara Wilson; and ensembles the American Brass Quintet, the American String Quartet, the Emerson

String Quartet, the Jupiter Quartet, the Pacifica String Quartet and the Takács Quartet


ASPEN, Colo. — The Aspen Music Festival and School today announced its 67th season, running from July


2 to August 23 with more than 300 events and featuring its signature wide variety of musical works, periods, and performers.




The 2015 season theme, Dreams of Travel,” explores music informed by cultures other than the composer’s own. The theme is reflected in performances of Ligeti’s Romanian Concerto (8/12), inspired by the composer’s childhood memories of folk musicians in his native Transylvania (now Romania); Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite, Scheherazade (7/5), echoing the kaleidoscope of tales which Scheherazade invented to stay alive; AMFS President and CEO Alan Fletcher’s world premiere work, Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”) which will be accompanied by a film by Bill Morrison (who also did the film portion of The Great Flood) (7/10) and which was inspired by Italo Calvino’s brilliant novel of the same name, a labyrinth of 10 different of premonition, spies, and mystery—each interrupted at a moment of suspense; Spaniard Manuel de Falla’s melancholy memories his homeland in Nights in the Gardens of Spain (7/29) and Verdi’s conjured imaginings of the splendors of ancient Egypt, in Aida (8/7).



“The Aspen Music Festival and School experience is a powerful and unforgettable one.” says President and CEO Alan Fletcher. “Across all constituents—our extraordinary faculty, students, guest artists and devoted audience members—there is an unspoken commitment to giving their all, and then some.

‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ performances can be an everyday occurrence here in Aspen.”




Music Director Robert Spano will again lead the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and also conduct orchestral programs featuring Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Inon Barnatan and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade (7/5) and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (8/23). He will also lead the Aspen Opera Theater Center’s The Cows of Apollo or The Invention of Music and The Classical Style, (7/20, 8/1) by Christopher Theofanidis and the AMFS semi-staged production of Verdi’s Aida featuring major professional opera stars (8/7).


2015 world premieres commissions include:


  • Alan Fletcher and Bill Morrison’s Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore AMFS commission/world premiere, (7/10)
  • Nina Young’s new work, AMFS commission/world premiere, Druckman Prize, (7/15)


  • Sebastian Currier’s “Glow” written for pianist Inon Barnatan, AMFS commission/world premiere,


(date TBA)


  • Sydney Hodkinson’s String Quartet No. 7 written for the Jupiter String Quartet, AMFS


commission/world premiere,  (7/25)


  • Steven Stucky’s and Jeremy Denk’s comic operetta “The Classical Style,” AMFS co- commission/staged version  premiere, (7/30, 8/1)
  • Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Concerto, AMFS co-commission, (8/12)




Many of the singers in Aspen Opera Theater Center (AOTC) productions are just embarking on their professional careers. The program’s influence is reflected in Aspen’s notable alumni, including Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Jamie Barton, Bryan Hymel, Isabel Leonard, Brian Mulligan and Ryan McKinney. This summer the AOTC, directed by Edward Berkeley, will present fully-staged productions of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, (7/16, 7/18, 7/20), conducted by George Manahan; a double-bill featuring

Christopher Theofanidis and William Hoffman’s The Cows of Apollo or The Invention of Music along with Steven Stucky’s and Jeremy Denk’s The Classical Style, (7/20, 8/1), conducted by Robert Spano, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte, (8/18, 8/20, 8/22), conducted by Jane Glover.



Robert Spano will conduct Verdi’s Aida in a semi-staged version in the Benedict Music Tent. The cast will include Michelle DeYoung mezzo-soprano, Brian Mulligan baritone, Morris Robinson bass, Tamara Wilson soprano, Issachah Savage tenor, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus.



The students of the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies will again advance their skills under the expert hand of the world’s foremost composers and performers of contemporary music in 2015. The eight-week intensive program is highlighted by individual study with some of today’s most highly regarded and frequently performed living composers including Sydney Hodkinson, Steven Stucky, George Tsontakis, as well as Aspen’s Alan Fletcher and Robert Spano. Visiting composers include Shulamit Ran, Christopher Rouse and Christopher Theofanidis.


The Festival continues its commitment to community collaborations with a wide variety of lectures and enrichment events with local organizations such as the Aspen Public Radio, the Aspen Institute, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Aspen Art Museum, the Basalt Public Library, Aspen Film and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. New this year will be a recital series at the Aspen Art Museum.



Notable Events


A “Russian Experiment” with pianist Vladimir Feltsman, (8/12, 8/13)


Vladimir Feltsman’s two Aspen programs could be called “Russian experiment,” or “The roads less travelled.” His first recital, “From Mystical to Avant-Garde,” presents three great composers that are practically unknown in the West—Roslavets, Mosolov and Protopopov. All three had been influenced by Scriabin and his mystical approach to music and none immigrated to the West but remained in Russia. The second program, “Russian Expressionism: from Shostakovich to Schnittke” includes two lesser- known, but no less important composers—Weinberg and Ustvolskaya, alongside their mentor Shostakovich.



An Aspen First: Joshua Bell Conducts and Performs, (8/14)


Now Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell, an Aspen alumnus, has branched out to conducting but has focused those efforts on engagements in Europe. Now he brings his conducting talent to lead the orchestras he played in when he was a student musician in Aspen. Bell will make his Aspen conducting debut, as well as perform as soloist, with the Aspen Chamber Symphony in a program including Bach’s Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. Bell’s recent release of the Seventh Symphony debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.



A Special Event with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, (7/6)


Acclaimed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, one of America’s most passionate advocates of jazz, leads an orchestra composed of the finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today. The evening concert offers a special preconcert dinner on-site. Presented in association with Jazz Aspen Snowmass.



Internationally acclaimed pianist Yundi, (7/7)


One of the “rock stars” of the classical world, especially well-known in Europe, Yundi was propelled onto the international stage when he won first prize at the XIV Chopin International Piano Competition at the


age of 18, becoming the youngest and first Chinese winner in the history of the prestigious competition. Since then, he has been regarded as a leading exponent of Chopin’s music. In 2013, Yundi performed at China’s Spring Festival Gala, which was witnessed by an audience of over one billion.



Bridge to Beethoven with Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner, (7/15)


Bridge to Beethoven explores Beethoven’s impact and significance on a diverse group of composers and musicians. By pairing the master’s ten sonatas for violin and piano with new works, this evening seeks to ignite creative conversations around his music not only as a cornerstone of classical music but as a universal, culture-crossing source of inspiration. The program will feature a new commission from jazz composer Vijay Iyer to be paired with Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata.



A Special Event with the Vijay Iyer Trio, (7/27)


2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient and cutting edge pianist Vijay Iyer brings what The New York Times calls “the great new jazz piano trio” to Aspen. The Grammy-nominated composer-pianist has been described by the Los Angeles Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.” Iyer will also join Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner in their Bridge to Beethoven program, (7/15).



Celebrate Sharon Isbin’s twenty-five summers in Aspen with Guitar Passions: A Special Event with


Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, guitars, (8/6)


Renowned classical guitarist Isbin follows up her Grammy-winning album, Journey to the New World, with another extraordinary musical exploration, Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions. The journey is focused on Isbin’s guitar heroes, with a Latin American flavor on many tracks. Joining Isbin in Aspen are her collaborators on the album, innovative jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan and Brazilian jazz guitarist extraordinaire Romero Lubambo.



Aspen Alumni


Alumni of the Aspen Music School performing on the 2015 season schedule include: Adele


Anthony, violin; Joshua Bell, violin; Sarah Chang, violin; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Jeremy Denk, piano; David Finckel, cello; Sharon Isbin, guitar; Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano; Robert McDuffie, violin; Edgar Meyer, bass; Simone Porter, violin; Gil Shaham, violin; Orli Shaham piano; Conrad Tao, piano; Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Joshua Weilerstein conductor; Wu Han, piano; Joyce Yang, piano and ensembles the


American Brass Quintet, the American String Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet, the Jupiter Quartet, and the Takács Quartet.



Debut Artists


Performers making their AMFS summer guest-artist debuts are Cecilia Hall, mezzo-soprano*; Vijay Iyer, piano; Stanley Jordan, guitar, piano; Hae-Jeon Lee, piano*; Jan Lisiecki, piano; Romero Lubambo, guitar; Stephen Mulligan, conductor*, Luis Alejandro Orozco, baritone; Rafael Payare, conductor; Issachah Savage, tenor; Tamara Wilson, soprano*, Yundi, piano and Shai Wosner, piano.

(*) indicates AMFS alumni.




About the Music Festival and School


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 40 U.S. states and more than 40 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with approximately 130 renowned artist-faculty members. 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, David Lang,

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


970-925-9042 box office phone | 970-925-3254 administration phone


Also see the AMFS on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and InstantEncore.




Robert Spano Biography


Conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano is known worldwide for the depth and intensity of his artistry as well as his unique communicative abilities. Now in his fourteenth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this imaginative conductor is an approachable artist with the innate ability to share his enthusiasm for music with an entire community and concert hall. He has quietly been responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous classically-trained composers and conductors and enjoys collaborations with composers and musicians of all ages and ability. As music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting.



Under Maestro Spano’s guidance, the ASO and audiences explore a creative programming mix. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects his commitment to American contemporary music, thus defining a new generation of American composers. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall (2014-2015 marks Spano’s ninth consecutive season as a guest of that prestigious venue), Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia, Ojai and Savannah Music Festivals. Guest engagements include the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia symphony orchestras, as well as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera productions of Wagner’s Ring cycles.



Following a highly successful performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Carnegie Hall and partially staged production of Verdi’s Aida in Atlanta, Spano conducted world premiere performances at the Ojai Festival of Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style, based on the Charles Rosen book with libretto by pianist and writer Jeremy Denk. The Classical Style will be reprised at Carnegie Hall in December. In addition to his hands-on leadership at the Aspen Music Festival and School, he conducts eight Festival concerts and numerous others from the piano or on the podium in the Benedict Tent and Harris Concert Hall. Of particular note is the August premiere of Spano’s Hölderlin Songs with soprano Susanna Phillips and, in September, four performances of his new solo piano work Tanz III written for the Atlanta based dance company glo.


Maestro Spano is currently slated to conduct the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for thirteen weeks this season, including three world premieres and eleven Atlanta premieres. Elsewhere, he conducts Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Houston Grand Opera and a Higdon/Chopin program with the Houston Symphony. Guest conducting engagements with symphony orchestras in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are woven with Spano’s passion for education on tour with the Curtis Institute of Music’s Orchestra (including a Jennifer Higdon world premiere viola concerto written for Roberto Diaz), seminars at University of Georgia and Keenesaw State, and a New England Conservatory Philharmonic engagement in Boston. The Atlanta concert season closes with Samson et Dalila in June 2015 with Stephanie Blythe in the title role. Robert Spano is currently completing an album of his solo piano work under water and the Hölderlin Songs, with soprano Jessica Rivera.



With a discography of critically-acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and ASO Media recorded over nine years, Spano has won six Grammy™ Awards with the Atlanta Symphony. An all- Vaughan Williams disc for ASO Media comprising The Lark Ascending, Dona Nobis Pacem and Symphony No. 4 was released in September, 2014. Robert Spano is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University and Oberlin. Maestro Spano was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012 and is proud to live in Atlanta.



Ticket Information


Aspen offers the ultimate in flexibility for patrons with passes, the most convenient way to attend concerts. The Gold Season Pass ($1,250) offers entrée to all regularly scheduled events and validation by phone on the day of the event. The Kickoff Pass ($190) is good for all regular events through July 9. The Full Season Pass ($925) offers unlimited access to the Festival’s regular events throughout the summer. Children 6 to 17 are eligible for the $50 Youth Season Picture Pass. Passes are good for all regularly scheduled events except operas, special events, benefits, house musics and films.



By Internet:


By Phone: 970-925-9042


By Fax: 970-925-8077


By Mail: AMFS Box Office, 225 Music School Road, Aspen, CO 81611


Harris Hall Box Office


February-May 22:   M-F, 12-4 p.m. fax and phone only


May 26-June 19:      M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. by fax, phone, and walk ups


June 22-August 23:  7 days a week, 9 a.m.-5 pm after July 2 until intermission of final concert




Wheeler Opera House


June 30-August 23: 7 days a week, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. walk up only



225 Music School Road // Aspen, CO 81611

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