It’s a diverse week for classical music |

It’s a diverse week for classical music

Susannah Luthi
Special to The Aspen Times
James Conlon, pictured here in a 2003 concert, will conduct the Aspen Chamber Symphony on Friday in a Prague-themed concert. Alex Irvin/AMFS photo

If you’re looking for the perfect week to explore musical variations at the Aspen Music Festival and School, this may be it, as a colorful and eclectic lineup of 50-plus events moves through a broad spectrum of sounds and ideas.

Tonight, there’s a rarely performed Beethoven Wind Octet (so rare it wasn’t published until long after Beethoven’s death), led by Wind Ensemble conductor and AMFS artist-faculty member Joaquin Valdepenas.

The 8 p.m. concert at Harris Concert Hall will give the audience a glimpse ” or ear ” into what was stylish in 18th century music. The Harmonie, the collection of wind instruments featured in Beethoven’s Wind Octet in E-flat major, was once as fashionable an ensemble as today’s string quartet.

“The writing for this kind of virtuosic wind-playing is certainly present in Mozart’s concertos,” explained Asadour Santourian, festival artistic advisor and administrator. “There is intricacy and creativity in the writing for these instruments, and often people like Mozart and Beethoven would write serenades for this combination of woodwinds.”

Tickets to tonight’s performance are $20.

Wednesday brings a Special Event with pianist, teacher, and conductor Leon Fleisher at Harris Concert Hall. The 8 p.m. program will feature several left hand-oriented piano works ” on which Fleisher became adept when a neurological disorder in his right hand kept him from playing two-handed pieces for years. Tickets are $55.

The week also features James Conlon, a festival alumnus who has conducted more than 240 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, leading the Aspen Chamber Symphony on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Benedict Music Tent. The concert will includes two full symphonies by Erwin Schulhoff ” a Czech composer who’s little known because he died in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Tickets are $63.

There are world premieres of three works, including two by up-and-coming Chinese-American composer Huang Ruo (who recently spent a week in the Roaring Fork Valley teaching composition to local elementary and high school children), and one by David Sampson.

Ruo’s “Childhood Sketches,” a festival commission, will be presented Thursday at 4 p.m. at Harris Concert Hall. Admission is free. His “Three Tenses” will be performed Saturday at 8 p.m. during a recital by the American Brass Quintet at Harris Concert Hall. Tickets are $42.

And there’s festival artist-faculty violist John Graham performing at Saturday’s free Music on the Mountain concert, playing Bach on electric viola. Music on the Mountain starts at 1 p.m. atop Aspen Mountain.

Tickets to Aspen Music Festival and School events are available at Harris Concert Hall, the Wheeler Box Office and the gondola building box office.

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