Our second to last week! Come a little more often than earlier, as the season soon comes to a close — a magnificent close, but still, it will be over.
Tonight, the irreplaceable Midori returns to her home in the mountains to play Robert Schumann’s deeply poetic Violin Concerto. Conductor Erik Nielsen was also a student here, but he studied oboe, harp and conducting. It is thus also poetic that he will have his two Aspen teachers as soloists: Elaine Douvas on oboe and Nancy Allen on harp. Mozart Symphony No. 39, one of the three works with which he said farewell to the orchestra stage, completes the program (6 p.m. at Benedict Music Tent).
On Saturday, our beloved faculty member Sharon Isbin presents her annual recital (8 p.m. at Harris Hall). On Sunday, we present a unique program that has become very popular with those who know about it: our student composer orchestra readings.
Several of this summer’s brilliant young composers have been chosen to present new works with the Aspen Conducting Academy students. A distinguished panel will offer critiques in a special behind-the-scenes look at how great new works come to be. (Sunday, 9 a.m. to noon at Harris Hall). Free and no tickets are needed.
Sunday afternoon is our ice cream social – come at 2:30 p.m. or before the 4 p.m. concert and enjoy free ice cream. The concert features our resident composer Chris Theofanidis’s vigorous, exciting and captivating “Drum Circles,” written for a vast array of percussion instruments with full orchestra. Michael Stern also leads the Aspen Festival Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G minor and Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin.”
Buy early for our final week’s production of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” Our announcement that Renee Fleming and Patrick Summers will join our summer faculty in 2020 makes this opera an especially apt choice.
As a student here, Renee sang the role of the Countess for the first time on stage, a role that would become her debut at the Met, Covent Garden, La Scala and all over the world. The young singer taking that role this summer, Avery Boettcher, will surely also be a star. (Tuesday, Aug. 13; Thursday, Aug. 15; Saturday, Aug. 17; all performances at 7 p.m. in the Wheeler Opera House.)
Alan Fletcher is president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School.