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Busy, and shorter, Aspen Music Festival season on tap

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Christian SteinerCellist Alisa Weilerstein, an alumna of the Aspen Music School, returns to perform at the 2010 Aspen Music Festival.
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ASPEN – Aspen’s classical music fans will have to wait a bit longer than usual for the music to begin this year. The Aspen Music Festival summer season has been cut by a week, with that week being chopped off the front end of the festival season.

But fans can start getting excited about what they will hear once the festival gets under way. The Music Festival has released a preview look at the schedule for the 2010 summer season, which features eight weeks – instead of the usual nine – of daily events, including symphonic concerts, chamber music, opera, master classes, lectures and more.

Among the calendar highlights are the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2; the Aspen debut of Broadway singer Audra McDonald; an appearance by the trio of Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain; an evening of Baroque concertos conducted by Nicholas McGegan; and a rare presentation of the Beaumarchais Opera Trilogy – the three operas that focus on the character of the barber Figaro.

David Zinman, the festival’s music director, will make five appearances over the summer, including the first symphony concert of the season – featuring the Aspen Chamber Symphony and violinist Gil Shaham in a program that includes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major – and the final event of the festival – with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and a program of selections from Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major, “Romantic.” Guest conductors appearing on the podium include James Conlon, Edo de Waart, Robert Spano, Jeffrey Kahane and Leonard Slatkin.

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Musicians scheduled to perform at the 2010 festival include violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Leila Josefowicz and Julia Fischer; vocalists Isabel Bayrakdarian and Michelle DeYoung; pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Simone Dinnerstein, Vladimir Feltsman, Stephen Hough and Marc-Andre Hamelin; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; and ensembles the Emerson String Quartet, the American Brass Quintet and the string trio Time for Three.

Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2 – titled “American Four Seasons” and inspired by Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” – will be performed by violinist Robert McDuffie on July 22. The piece was co-commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival.

McDonald, a four-time Tony Award winner, headlines the season benefit performance on July 24 at Harris Hall. The trio of banjoist Fleck, bassist Meyer and tabla player Hussain is set for Aug. 18.

McGegan will conduct an evening of Baroque music that features violinists Shaham, Adele Anthony, Herbert Greenberg, Cho-Liang Lin and Naoka Tanaka playing works by Vivaldi, Telemann and others.

And the Aspen Opera Theater Center will become only the second company to present the Beaumarchais Trilogy of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Corigliano’s “The Ghosts of Versailles” – three operas based on the characters from Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’ “Figaro” plays.

The theme of the 2010 festival is The Magic Years, with a focus on repertoire created in the first decade of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, periods of unusual innovation and productivity.

The 2010 Aspen Music Festival runs July 1 through Aug. 22. For further information on the program, season pass options and tickets, go to aspenmusicfestival.com.

stewart@aspentimes.com


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