Music fest celebrates Mozart |

Music fest celebrates Mozart

Susannah Luthi
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen Music Festival and School resident artist and pianist Joseph Kalichstein offers an all-Mozart recital tonight at Harris Concert Hall. (Courtesy AMFS)

On Jan. 27, 1756, classical music’s greatest prodigy was born.

A star performer and a composer from age 5, with more than 620 works catalogued before his untimely death at age 35, Wolfgang Amade Mozart changed the history of music during his brilliant but short-lived career.

“The name Mozart has immediacy and relevance in every household,” said Asadour Santourian, Aspen Music Festival and School artistic advisor and administrator. “There’s a universality to this magnificent composer who was recognized as a prodigy in his time, but had to wait to be recognized as a prophet many years after his passing.”

Mozart wrote it all ” concertos, symphonies, chamber works, operas, and Masses. And, notes Santourian, he “was revolutionary without being purposeful about it.”

Last January, the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth was cause for celebration the world over. This summer season, the celebrations continue at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Starting with Monday’s Chamber Music concert, which opened with resident artist Rita Sloan performing Mozart’s Variations on “Salve tu, Domine,” this second mini-festival of the 2006 Aspen Music Festival season ” “Mozart: Prodigy or Prophet?” ” explores the composer’s genius through a range of virtuosic interpretations.

“Mozart wrote works of inspiration for himself, his sister, family outings, friends’ gatherings, commissions and on assignment,” explained Santourian. “The mini-festival’s programming illustrates this variety of works ” from unusual combinations such as the violin and bass duos, to Nocturnes for voices, clarinets, and basset horns, as well as the magnificent major works that have endured the test of time.”

AMFS resident artist and pianist Joseph Kalichstein’s recital at 8:30 p.m. today focuses exclusively on Mozart with two piano concertos, plus the Piano and Wind Quintet in E-flat major, also featuring festival resident artists Stephen Taylor, Bil Jackson, Nancy Goeres, and Jennifer Montone.

Thursday’s Recital by the Ying Quartet ” the much-acclaimed ensemble of siblings and AMFS alumn ” is presenting Mozart’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, “Hunt,” in which Mozart payed homage to his great predecessor, Franz Josef Haydn.

Then, the Aspen Chamber Symphony concert Friday at 6 p.m. in the Benedict Music Tent introduces conductor Andrey Boreyko ” chief conductor of the Jenaer Philharmonie in Germany, and principal guest conductor of the Vancouver Symphony ” to Aspen festival audiences.

He will conduct Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski, who is on an international tour of Mozart performances in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. On the Friday program, Anderszewski will present Mozart’s graceful, popular ” though posthumously published ” Piano Concerto No. 23.

A violin and bass sonata, a piano quartet, a clarinet quintet, and an outside look at Mozart (through Alfred Schnittke’s Moz-Art) form the resident artist Chamber Music concert program on Saturday, July 29 at 4 p.m.

It’s all to show, as Santourian says, “the juxtaposition of other composers’ works intended to provide a framework or continuity of the evolution of his composition.”

Finishing the week is a much-anticipated performance by two budding musical superstars ” 14-year-old Peng Peng and 12-year-old Conrad Tao, both Aspen festival fellowship students. They are each composers as well as pianists, and have garnered critical acclaim and countless concert hall appearances already, and together they are performing Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in F major.

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