Aspen’s music scene has something for everybody |

Aspen’s music scene has something for everybody

A recent set of letters to the editor responding to commentary that initiated with Aspen Chamber CEO Debbie Braun, was followed by a Denver visitor’s comments about the Aspen Music Festival, a tit for tat seemingly questioning the relative value of AMFS to the local community in comparison to other events like “the Ideas Festival, Food & Wine Classic as well as Jazz Aspen, which attract thousands of visitors to Aspen.”

This reading of the state of culture and the economy in Aspen in 2019 completely misses the point. Vail and other Colorado resorts that now feature summer arts programming, whether symphonies, jazz, pop or other genres, all initiated these programs in an attempt to emulate Aspen’s leadership in developing a summer economy to balance the winter ski industry that grew in Colorado.

Today Aspen’s diverse music scene, including AMFS (70 years and counting!), is unparalleled in any community of 5,000 persons anywhere, and along with the many other decades old institutions which present and nurture Ideas, visual arts, dance, film, theatre, jazz and its musical siblings. … This diversity and sheer excellence collectively make Aspen the one-of-a-kind small town, accessible cultural mecca in the Rockies it is recognized as today.

In the words of the legendary American jazz big-band leader, composer, arranger and pianist Duke Ellington, when asked if jazz could be considered equivalent in quality and importance to European classical music, replied: “There’s only one kind of music … good music … and that’s what we play!”

So whatever your taste, be it Bach or rock, jazz, blues, opera, chamber, indie, symphony, funk, world or soul, if it’s true excellence you seek, you can and will find it (and with a knowledgeable and appreciative audience) all in Aspen.

So see you at the show. Any show!

Jim Horowitz

Founder, President and CEO, Jazz Aspen Snowmass