The First-Ever 'Complete Aspen Music Festival and School (Abridged)’ Comes to New York's SubCulture on April 16

By Louise Burton on Mar 19, 2014 03:36 PM EDT

The Aspen Music Festival is hoping to take the long-distance relationship it currently enjoys with New Yorkers to the next level--with a concert in New York at SubCulture on April 16.

Music lovers know that the 65-year-old Aspen Music Festival and School delivers world-class performances in a beautiful alpine setting, and that its storied music school turns out, generation after generation, some of the great artists of our time, from James Levine to Joshua Bell to Conrad Tao. Many even know that from its earliest days, the festival has been a hub for new music.

But knowing these things is one thing. Living them, feeling them, is another.

And so, in a historic first, the festival is bringing all this to New York--in 100 minutes. It will be, as its title suggests, "The Complete Aspen Music Festival and School (Abridged)." Abridged, because of course one cannot possibly put every piece of music from a two-month festival into 100 minutes (nor is it medically advisable to try).

Aspen is planning to make this New York show an annual event. It will be a free-flowing, shape-shifting evening that will capture the quintessence of the festival's artistic work each year. And in so doing, it will bring that special Aspen elixir to New York audiences.

Aspen music director Robert Spano and president, CEO and Classicalite guest blogger Alan Fletcher will host the evening, which will include appearances by Aspen alumna Dawn Upshaw, Aspen faculty member Steven Stucky, and Spano leading the re-creation of a stand-out performance from last summer's festival, the Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor.

The exact program will be revealed on the night of April 16.

Spano said, "We didn't feel that a standard concert could convey the creative thinking that takes place in Aspen on a daily basis, so we've tried to program something that is part concert, part, I suppose 'happening' and part artistic immersion."

"What I love," he continued, "is that in bringing together alumni, faculty and students, we will recreate that special energy an Aspen participant feels the moment they engage with the festival and school."

In addition to serving as the festival's president, Fletcher is also a composer. "When I write music, I'm working with ideas of inspiration, creation and interpretation," he says. "It doesn't always work, often it doesn't. But when it does, in those magical moments when the alchemy proves true and something of value is formed, the place, the time, who's nearby, it all seems to count, and you remember those things."

Fletcher also notes: "Running a great festival and a great school is a not dissimilar process--you strive to create the circumstances for those magical convergences in time and place. In Aspen I have seen and been lucky enough to be part of some amazing moments over the years. With this first of our planned annual New York shows--each very different from the last--I look forward to trying to have another amazing Aspen moment, but this time in our nation's cultural capital, so that we can conjure that same magic with New York audiences."

More information about Aspen's first-ever concert in New York is available at

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TagsAspen Music Festival and School, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen, SubCulture, Robert Spano, Alan Fletcher, Dawn Upshaw, Steven Stucky

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