Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, music fest team up again |

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, music fest team up again

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Marty Sohl |

ASPEN – The town has much to offer when it comes to the arts: theater, literature, music, dance and much more. Rare is the occasion, however, when two of these art forms join forces on one stage. So when that happens, it’s an event not-to-be-missed.

“This collaboration between the music festival and ballet is becoming a tradition … something the arts community really embraces and looks forward to,” said Tom Mossbrucker, artistic director of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, which joins forces with the Aspen Music Festival and School tonight for its annual collaborative evening of dance and music at the Benedict Music Tent. “There is a lot of chemistry and artistry to the evening’s performance, and the venue only enhances the uniqueness of the experience. It is truly a special evening.”

As in years past, the event will feature the 10-member Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Co. performing to live music; new this year, the full Aspen Concert Orchestra will play.

“After last year’s spectacular collaboration, we all immediately knew we had to do this again,” said Aspen Music Festival and School President Alan Fletcher. “This year we bring a full orchestra on-stage with the troupe, complete with conductor and soloists. The evening promises to be even grander, even more artistically rich than last year.”

Lending to the richness of this year’s collaboration are the works to be performed, both by the orchestra and the dancers, and the passion with which they perform them.

“It has been wonderful to see the development of the program during our studio sessions with the musicians,” Mossbrucker said on Friday, when the company was deep in rehearsals. “It is just so amazing to see the musicians doing what they do best, and the dancers do what they do best, and to see how they complement one another on the stage together.”

The evening begins with the American debut of Mozart a 2, choreographed by France’s Thierry Malandain, founder of the company Temps Present and former director of Ballet Biarrit. Mozart a 2 highlights selections from Mozart piano concertos No. 2 in B-flat major, K. 3; No. 4 in G major, K. 41 and No. 21 in C major, K. 467. The piece shows Malandain’s fascination with bringing old stories and classical music to life through a modern point of view, according to Fletcher, and will feature piano soloist Nansong Huang.

Then, between ballets, the Aspen Concert Orchestra, led by Case Scaglione, will perform Cuatro estaciones portenas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) by Piazzolla/Leonid Desyatnikov and featuring violinist Helen Kim.

The evening wraps up with Trace, an ASFB-commissioned ballet by choreographer Helen Pickett that debuted in February. The piece, set to Musica Ricercata By Ligeti and 13 Preludes by Rachmaninoff, features pianist Jiayan Sun and will be performed en pointe.

For those who saw ASFB’s most recent performance at the Aspen District Theatre – an edgy world premiere of a new ballet by Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto, as well as an encore performance of Nicolo Fonte’s contemporary In Hidden Seconds – tonight’s performances promises to showcase the company’s diversity.

“Tonight’s performance is beautiful,” Mossbrucker said. “With the live orchestra and under the tent, it really shows off the lyrical, artistic side of the company – a very different side, in a very different type of performance, which is something we’ve found Aspen audiences really appreciate.”

Tonight’s performance is at 8 in the Benedict Music Tent. Tickets are $65 and are available at the AMFS box offices at Harris Concert Hall, at the Wheeler Opera House, by calling 970-925-9042 or visiting

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