In a reverse of the out-of-town tryout process, the Aspen Music Festival, which runs for eight weeks each summer in the Colorado mountain town, will bring a one-night version of its offerings to New York next Wednesday, April 16.
"The Complete Aspen Music Festival and School (abridged)," as it is billed, will take place at the intimate downtown Manhattan basement venue SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St. in NoHo. Robert Spano, the music director, along with CEO and President Alan Fletcher, renowned soprano (and Aspen alumna) Dawn Upshaw, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky and a selection of instrumentalists will offer talks and musical works to give a flavor of the summer concerts and happenings.
While the exact program has not been announced, it will include a performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet, which was performed to great acclaim last summer. Players for the evening are expected to include both Aspen Music School students and faculty members (Stucky, along with St Louis Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Halen and violinist ad violist Masao Kawasaki.)
The idea is to convey the unusual mix that the 65-year-old festival presents in more than 300 summer events - concerts, recitals, master classes and staged operas among them. - They take place in several venues that include the covered open-air Benedict Music Tent, the 500-seat wood-lined inside setting Harris Hall, and the historic Victorian-era Wheeler Opera House.
“We didn’t feel that a standard concert could convey the creative thinking that takes place in Aspen on a daily basis,” Spano said in a statement, “so we’ve tried to program something that is part concert, part, I suppose ‘happening’ and part artistic immersion. What I love 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.”
This summer’s Aspen Music Festival gets underway June 26 and runs through August 17, ending with a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Wednesday’s SubCulture evening is sold out, but last-minute returned tickets may be available at $20. The program begins at 7:30 p.m.