Aspen Music Festival and School building cements Harry Teague’s legacy
Special to the Aspen Times
Ed Bass and Harry Teague first met at Yale School of Architecture in the 1960s and have been friends ever since. Today they are brought together by their support and involvement in the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Ed and his wife, Vicki Bass, both of Fort Worth, Texas, gave a multi-million dollar gift to the Aspen Music Festival and School’s campus sitting alongside Castle Creek, the school announced last week.
The gift carried with it naming rights to the centrally located rehearsal complex previously known as the Pond Studio. Instead of naming the building after themselves, the couple named it for Teague, the Basalt architect who designed the newly renovated campus. The building is now known as the Harry Teague Pavilion.
Teague first came to the campus for a period of time in 1967 as an intern before attending the Yale School of Architecture and starting his career. He helped design the practice studios during his internship. He later returned to the campus to design Harris Hall, a 500-seat venue adjacent to the music tent, which opened in 1993, and the Benedict Music Tent, which opened in 2000.
Three years ago, the Aspen Country Day School and Music Festival campus started a massive renovation, which was launched with a $25 million donation from Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum, both former chairs of the festival’s board of trustees. The entire campus is named for the Bucksbaums. The $65 million renovations are ongoing, with Harry Teague Architects hired to transform the campus.
The Bass’ donation is among the most recent of buildings to have had naming rights given in recognition of gifts made to the Music Festival. Over the past three years, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson were given the naming rights to Neeson Hall, Patrick and Mary Scanlan have had Scanlan Hall named for them, and the Hurst gymnasium at the Aspen Country Day School was named for Robert and Soledad Hurst.
Teague and Bass were elected during their first year at Yale to work side by side on a building project in Whitesburg, Ky., a poor coal mining town where they grew close.
“It was another world,” Teague said. “It was a place that wasn’t friendly to outsiders. (Ed Bass and I) grew very close through the tough situation and experience.”
In August, the Basses, who have been long-standing supporters of the Aspen Music Festival and School, came forward with their donation. Ed Bass saw the pond studio as a way to honor Teague’s life-long commitment to working on the Aspen Music Festival and School’s campus.
“To put my name on a building would mean nothing,” Ed Bass said in an email. “The pavilion is the ideal place to recognize Harry. It’s beautiful and people love to use it. It’s perfect.”
From the beginning, Teague recognized the pond as the premier location where he wanted to build something, but it was not in the original plans for the school. After years of figuring out what he envisioned for the space and what purpose it would serve the building of the pond studio began two years ago.
“This was my clear vision,” Teague said. “This space was an error, a gap, and it didn’t have a building. It was my responsibility to create a need for the space.”
When the Basses donated the building to Teague, he was speechless. He described the honor as extraordinary and generous.
“Getting a building named for you is an affirmation of the effect it has on the community,” Teague said.
Alan Fletcher, CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, saw the Bass’ gift as a beautiful gesture to honor the man who has been a central figure to the campus.
“It’s a great example of the generosity that the community has shown to music in Aspen and that the artistic achievement has been honored,” Fletcher said. Teague sees the Bass’ donation as part of the institution the Aspen Music Festival and School has created.
“This isn’t about looking backwards,” Teague said. “We’re inspiring future generations of students.”
Abby Margulis is an editorial intern working at The Aspen Times. She is a junior at DePauw University in Indiana.
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