Aspen Music Festival summer looking good and normal |

Aspen Music Festival summer looking good and normal

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
David Zinman, KKL Luzern 30.01.02

ASPEN The Aspen Music Festival has released a preview look at its 2009 summer festival program, and it should come as a shot of blissful normalcy in otherwise unsteady times. Numerous year-in, year-out favorites are scheduled to take Aspens stages this summer, in the Music Festivals 60th season. And the festival will not be scaled back, for economic reasons or otherwise.According to Alan Fletcher, president of the Music Festival, there will be a similar number of events as usual, with no significant change in the type of events presented. Our board authorized us to put it all out there and take stock later, he said.Leading the parade of familiar faces are violinists Gil Shaham, Robert McDuffie, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin and Adele Anthony all former students at the Aspen Music School, as well as festival regulars. Another artist with deep ties to Aspen conductor Lawrence Foster, who served as the festivals music director from 1990-96 returns after an absence of several years.Among the other instrumentalists set to appear are pianists Yefim Bronfman, Joyce Yang, Joseph Kalichstein, Wu Han, Vladimir Feltsman and Misha & Cipa Dichter; cellists David Finckel, Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; bassist Edgar Meyer; guitarist Sharon Isbin; and soprano Dawn Upshaw. Conductors for the season include James Conlon, David Robertson, Nicholas McGegan, James DePreist and Murry Sidlin. David Zinman, the festivals music director, is shaping up to have his usual busy summer, with four concerts announced so far.Balancing the season are tastes of several new things. Conductor Peter Oundjian will lead Aspen orchestras in two world premieres: Peter Liebersons Suite from Ashokas Dream, with the Aspen Festival Orchestra; and, with the Sinfonia, the Concerto for Two Violins, by former composer-in-residence George Tsontakis and commissioned by the Music Festival. The bluegrass-oriented quintet the Punch Brothers led by mandolinist Chris Thile, who made his Music Festival debut last summer will have their first Aspen appearance. Among the musicians making their Aspen debuts are Armenian/Russian violinist Sergey Khachatryan, who, according to Fletcher has been getting astounding notices all over Europe and New York.Also receiving positive attention has been Fletchers own Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra premiered the piece last year, and it has since been played in Prague, with several more performances about to be added. It will have its Aspen debut by the Aspen Chamber Symphony, conductor Andrey Boreyko and clarinetist Michael Rusinek.The Aspen Opera Theater Centers season features performances of Puccinis La bohme, Brittens The Rape of Lucretia and Mozarts Don Giovanni.Additional highlights include performances of Bachs complete Brandenburg Concertos over two nights; a song recital of works featured in the 1949 Aspen Music Festival; a genre-jumping concert featuring Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas; and a duo recital by Sharon Isbin and violinist Mark OConnor. The season opens and closes with two big bangs: The first Sunday afternoon concert will feature the Aspen Festival Orchestra, led by Zinman, playing Mahlers Fifth Symphony and, with Gil Shaham, Mozarts Concerto No. 2. The season ends with a performance of Verdis Messa da Requiem.The Music Festival will continue its collaborations with two other local arts organizations. Singer Natalie Cole, backed by bassist Christian McBride and an orchestra, will be presented in association with Jazz Aspen Snowmass. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will return to the Music Festivals Benedict Music Tent, where they will dance to live accompaniment from festival musicians.The 2009 Aspen Music Festival season runs from June 25 to Aug. 23. The complete program will be released in April. For tickets and further information, go to

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