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MONDAY, JULY 2, 2018

VOL 29, NO. 2

ALSO NOTE: Coupon Inside! July 6: Ray Chen and Bizet’s Symphony No. 1 On Friday, July 6, the Aspen Chamber Symphony presents Bizet’s prodigious Symphony No. 1, lead by Nicholas McGegan. Mark your calendars for this rare treat! Also on the program, Ray Chen performs Mozart’s Fifth Violin Concerto.

Fourth of July Band Concert! Don’t miss the AMFS annual free fourth of July band concert at the Benedict Music Tent at 4 pm. Lawrence Isaacson leads the AMFS band in stirring patriotic favorites by Sousa and others.

Violinist and AMFS alumnus Stefan Jackiw plays Korngold’s Violin Concerto with the Aspen Festival Orchestra on July 8.

Jackiw plays Korngold’s ‘cinematic’ concerto AMY HEGARTY

Festival Focus Writer

Stefan Jackiw has been coming to Aspen since before he started playing the violin at the age of four. The thirty-three-year-old, Boston-born musician tagged along when his parents— both physicists—made annual trips to the Aspen Center for Physics, and, in 1997, studied at the Aspen Music Festival and School as well. That fall, at age twelve, he launched his

solo career when he performed Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Pops, led by conductor Keith Lockhart. This summer, Jackiw returns to Aspen for two technically demanding and artistically varied concerts. On July 8, he performs Korngold’s Violin Concerto with David Robertson and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and three days earlier, on July 5, he appears in recital as a member of the JCT Trio, which makes its Festival debut.

“This violin concerto is full of hurdles. It is both technically virtuosic and musically challenging,” says AMFS Artistic Advisor and Vice President for Artistic Administration Asadour Santourian. “And Stefan is absolutely equal to the task.” “When we think of Korngold, the first thing we think of is film music,” Jackiw says, referring to the composer’s scores for movies See Jackiw, Festival Focus page 3

Hannevold, Valdepeñas join for Strauss Duet JESSICA CABE

Festival Focus Writer

Bassoonist Per Hannevold and clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas have been working together as artist-faculty members at the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) for 25 seasons, so having conversations through the music they play is nothing new. But on Sunday, July 8, their chemistry and musical mastery will be front and center when they perform Strauss’s Duet-Concertino with the Aspen Festival Orchestra under conductor David Robertson. “I’ve been working with Per since he joined the faculty in Aspen in 1993,” said Valdepeñas, who has been on faculty at the AMFS since 1984. “So we go back a long way. We know how we play and

how we breathe, so this will be very fun.” Hannevold said it’s rare to have the kind of musical understanding he and Valdepeñas have with one another. “We have been sitting next to each other for 25 years,” Hannevold said. “So we know each other really well, and we don’t have to say anything. I know what he’s going to do, he knows what I’m going to do. We never argue, and he’s a joy to play with.” “The Strauss Duet-Concertino is really a very playful work for the two instruments and their colleagues,” said Asadour Santourian, artistic advisor and vice president for artistic administration for the AMFS. “At this point in his career, Strauss’s later works are very conversational. He creates

a dialogue for the two instruments with each other and the two instruments with the orchestral forces. And there’s no other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century melodist superior to Strauss, so the work is full of tunes. He chooses to employ them differently than a soaring aria that he would write for soprano voice; rather, he exploits the technical abilities of these instruments in a very conversational manner.” While the piece is technically difficult for the strings, Hannevold said the greatest challenge for him will be the endurance it requires. “Usually it’s not so hard, but in another setting you would come in and play that piece and nothing more,” he said. “But in Aspen, it’s part of the deal that

See Strauss, Festival Focus page 3



MONDAY, JULY 2, 2018


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All-student orchestra triumphs performing core repertoire CHRISTINA THOMSEN Festival Focus Writer

On Wednesday nights at the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), there are orchestral performances that offer audiences fresh perspectives on core repertoire played by the world’s elite music students. While the AMFS’s prestigious Friday night Aspen Chamber Symphony and Sunday afternoon Aspen Festival Orchestra pair music students onstage, side-by-side with their mentors, it is Wednesday night’s Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) concerts, when students fill every seat on the stage at the Benedict Music Tent, that truly complete the educational mission of the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS). This all-student orchestra gives young musicians the opportunities and responsibilities of professional musicians in principal positions; it is where they truly come center-stage and shine.

In addition, the programming—meant to give developing musicians core training—offers audience members a chance to revisit many favorites. Works to be performed by the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra this year include masterworks such as Stravinsky’s beloved Firebird Suite, Holst’s The Planets, Ravel’s Bolero, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Not least, audience members get to hear these orchestral favorites for just $25. “Many would have trouble distinguishing this orchestra from a professional one,” says AMFS Vice President and Dean of Students Jennifer White. While brass students rotate between orchestras, string players who have achieved a certain level of performance experience and expertise are given the role of section principal in APO. The musician in this role determines the musical cues and direction of their section.

“I had to know my part well enough to make fingerings and bowings for the entire section,” says Jessy Kim, violinist. “It is truly rewarding to see the progress that we made during rehearsals.” “We have been cultivating our top conductors and soloists to appear with APO,” says Asadour Santourian, vice president for artistic administration and artistic advisor. “They present absolutely brilliant and radiant performances of the challenging core of the repertoire.” The repertoire is intentionally programmed to give students experience with masterworks, and, he says, “it’s a wonderful experience because many of these string players are playing these parts for the first time and doing so brilliantly.” In this week’s concert (which is on Thursday, July 5 due to the annual fourth of July concert), the 2017 Dorothy DeLay Prizewinner, nineteen-year-old Aubree Oliverson, steps up on stage to deliver Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto. This work begins with dark lyricism, continues with a radiantly arching second movement and ends in a spiky and muscular rondo with the soloist furiously dancing in 5/4 time. Also, on the program are Debussy’s Rondes de Printemps, embedded with French folk tunes; and Brahms’s melodic Second Symphony. Join these aspiring young musicians as they step into the spotlight, “Loyal patrons of this ensemble get to observe this group improve week after week,” and this, says White, “exemplifies the mission of the AMFS.” The Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra performs every Wednesday at 6 pm at the Benedict Music Tent.


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MONDAY, JULY 2, 2018 3

Jackiw: Trapani, Ives, and Ravel in JCT Trio recital Continued from Festival Focus page 1

such as Kings Row, Captain Blood, and The Sea Hawk, plus his Oscar-winning scores for Anthony Adverse and The Adventures of Robin Hood. While living in Vienna, where he grew up, “Korngold was hailed as one of the future giants of twentieth-century classical music,” Jackiw says, “but then he emigrated to the United States and made a home in Los Angeles and really made his career and his fortune writing film music.” Jascha Heifetz premiered the Korngold concerto with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1947, but it wasn’t until decades later that the work found its place within the violin repertoire. “It’s sort of come into vogue recently,” Jackiw says, noting that it seems to be programmed “much more now than it was ten years ago.” While writing this concerto, Korngold drew on themes from several of his film scores. And while the piece isn’t technically film music, Jackiw says, “it does have this cinematic, Hollywood-like quality; this epic scope of Romanticism; a heart-on-your-sleeve tunefulness; and, especially in the third movement, a sense of madcap high jinks.” In addition to the Korngold, the July 8 program includes


Richard Strauss’s Duet-Concertino, featuring clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas and bassoonist Per Hannevold— both members of the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) artist-faculty—Ravel’s La valse, and Play: Level 1 by Andrew Norman, an AMFS alumnus and Musical America’s 2017 Composer of the Year. Norman was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1979 and “is one of the most important young American composers,” Fletcher says. Play, which won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2017, is “a very ambitious, very challenging, and extremely listenable work,” he adds. Santourian says that, in Play, “we can see Andrew’s own compositional voice growing stronger, more colorful, more daring, and more adventuresome in instrumentation, orchestration and in musical matter that he employs to create a work.” Prior to his performance with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, Jackiw appears on July 5 as part of the JCT Trio, which comprises two other Aspen alumni: cellist Jay Campbell and pianist Conrad Tao. “I think our program is a good representation of where our interest, as a trio, lies,” Jackiw says. “We’re opening

Harris Concert Hall: 9 am through the intermission of the evening concert, daily. Wheeler Opera House: 9 am–5 pm daily.

Finckel-Wu Han quartet recital and program CHRISTINA THOMSEN

Festival Focus Writer

Some artists bring brilliance to performing, some bring it to teaching, some bring it to both. Longtime Aspen artist-faculty cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han are just such artists, and in two public performances at the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) coming up, their brilliant musicianship and mentorship will both be on display. David Finckel, a former member of the renowned Emerson String Quartet, and Wu Han, an accomplished pianist and Aspen alumna, are the artistic directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) and Music@Menlo as well as AMFS artist-faculty members. The duo, also married, have championed the genre of chamber music all their careers. Since taking over the CMS in 2004, the husband and wife team have “forged it into an unstoppable entity—an exploding star in the musical firmament” (The Wall Street Journal). Finckel and Wu Han will be joined by violinist Arnaud Sussmann and violist Paul Neubauer for a piano quartet recital in Harris Concert Hall on July 7. Sussmann, a frequent performer at the CMS, performed a trio recital with Finckel and Wu Han last year in Aspen, while Neubauer, a talent who became the youngest principal member of the New York Philharmonic when he was twenty-one, is making his debut in Aspen this summer. The curated recital program travels from early Beethoven to Brahms in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Beethoven works at the beginning of the program are two of three pieces he wrote to introduce himself to the Viennese music scene early in his career, says Finckel, “He chose chamber music to show his skill. I think that speaks for the inherent value of chamber music as a genre.” The final piece in the program, Brahms’s First Piano Quartet is a large symphonic work. Says Finckel, “not only is it one of the great pieces of Brahms, it’s one of the all-time great pieces of chamber music.” The monumental

with a short, newish piece by Christopher Trapani that’s very atmospheric and sort of ethereal. Then we have Ives’s Piano Trio, which is one of my favorite pieces. It combines Ives’s thorny, curmudgeon personality with a wicked sense of humor and a desperate sense of nostalgia, which manifests itself in musical quotations from tunes and hymns he grew up listening to.” The program closes with Ravel’s Piano Trio, which, Jackiw says, “is obviously a masterpiece from the past, but it’s kind of in a similar sound world as the Trapani. It’s ethereal and gauzy but has its own kind of perfumed luxury.” The JCT Trio features musicians who “play both old music and new music incredibly well,” Jackiw says. “Jay approaches old music with the same sense of discovery and feeling of novelty that he approaches new music. Conrad is a composer, and, when it comes to how he approaches music, I really feel that there’s a layer of understanding that’s unique to a composer’s viewpoint. So, with this trio project, there’s something very fresh for both the listener and the collaborator—something that’s unencumbered by the weight of tradition and the weight of doing things the way they’ve always been done.”

final movement, the gypsy rondo, says Finckel, reflects Brahms’s love of folk music: “He loved to walk in the park in Vienna and sit there and listen to the park bands playing.” In addition, Finckel and Wu Han run the elite FinckelWu Han Chamber Music Studio for trios; it is one of five chamber music programs that students can audition for at the AMFS. For the past five years, they have hand-selected young performers for this program, then placed students in ensembles, and given hands-on instruction culminating in a studio recital. For the first two weeks of the AMFS’s 2018 season, the approximately twenty students in the program will live, breathe, and perform chamber music. Says Asadour Santourian, AMFS vice president for artistic administration and artistic advisor, “Finckel and Wu Han have a unique way about them in bringing out or encouraging the imagination of the groups.” Finckel and Wu Han are joined by Arnaud Sussmann and Paul Neubauer for a recital on July 7. The students of the Finckel-Wu Han Chamber Music Studio perform a free recital on July 9.

AFO: artist-faculty

members, Strauss Continued from Festival Focus page 1

when you play solo, you also have to go back into the orchestra and finish the program. So the greatest challenge for me will be the endurance, perhaps.” That said, these soloists will surely make the work look easy. Santourian said the opportunity to present this playful, melodic work while also being able to feature two longtime artist-faculty members is a treat. “We love to feature our faculty in every summer,” he said. “We have a number of them in recitals and orchestral appearances, and this performance is a continuing practice of that endeavor.” Like nearly all artist-faculty members at the AMFS, Hannevold and Valdepeñas have rather impressive day jobs when they aren’t spending their summers performing, and training the next generation of world-class musicians in Aspen. Hannevold is principal bassoonist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and teaches at the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen. Valdepeñas is principal clarinet with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the Glenn Gould School. While their year-round work is very rewarding, they agree that there’s something special about teaching in Aspen. “Aspen is special because you get students from so many different places,” Hannevold said. “It’s very competitive to get in, so all the students we get are really, really high-level. It’s every teacher’s dream.” Valdepeñas said in addition to the high level of his students’ musicianship, there’s also a high level of energy in Aspen that is unmatched. “Aspen is fantastic because there are so many young people that the energy level is incredible,” Valdepeñas added. “It’s so different from professional orchestras. I learn something every day as well, so it’s very satisfying.” Hannevold and Valdepeñas will perform with the Aspen Festival Orchestra at 4 pm on Sunday, July 8, under conductor David Robertson. Also on the program is Andrew Norman’s Play: Level 1, Ravel’s La valse and violinist Stefan Jackiw performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major.

Profile for Aspen Music Festival and School

Festival Focus July 2, 2018  

Festival Focus July 2, 2018