Stephen Houghs status as a genius was solidified in 2001, when the MacArthur Foundation granted the British-born pianist one of its so-called Genius fellowships. But the official designation hardly seems necessary. The 46-year-old Hough had already established himself as one of the great pianists of classical music, with a Record of the Year honor from Gramophone magazine (he has since added a second), and appearances with most of the worlds major orchestras. Hough has been expanding his presence as a composer; last year, his cello concerto was premiered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and his two Masses were performed in London. He is also a writer, contributing not only articles on music, but, with last years The Bible as Prayer, a book on theology. Hough appears Thursday, March 6, at Harris Hall in the Aspen Music Festivals Artist Recital series, and the program with works by Mendelssohn, Webern, Saint-Sans, Debussy, Liszt and others is as packed as the pianists trophy case.
Its not quite shorts season yet; that comes in early April with the annual Aspen Shortsfest. But the Wheeler Film Series has a pair of presentations that should remind audiences what a pleasure short films can be. As part of its Oscar Month, the Wheeler is screening all of the shorts nominated for the 2008 Academy Awards, broken into two programs: live action and animated. The Live Action Shorts Program, on Friday and Saturday, March 7-8, features two award-winners from last years Shortsfest: The Substitute, a comedy set in an Italian high school, and Tanghi Argentini, a touching, offbeat comedy from Belgium. Also on the program is the French film The Mozart of Pickpockets, which took home the Oscar statue. The Animated Shorts Program, to be screened Sunday and Monday, March 9-10, includes works from Canada, Russia and France, and the eventual winner, the British and Russian production Peter & the Wolf, a musical set to the Prokofiev score. For those who want more shorts, Aspen Shortsfest opens April 2.
Mollie Favour and Julia Galloway both have strong ties to the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village. Both have been artists-in-residence at the Ranch, and Favours husband, Brad Miller, is a past director of the arts center. Favour and Galloway have a two-person show at the Harvey/Meadows Gallery (owned and operated by two more artists, Sam Harvey and Alleghany Meadows, with their own connections to Anderson Ranch) in Aspen Highlands Village, opening with a reception Saturday, March 8. Galloway, who heads the ceramics department at the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, shows a collection of functional pots, titled Wake Robin. Favour, who splits her time between homes in Woody Creek and Venice Beach, has new works on paper that explore the connection between man and his environment.
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