Aspen moves to New York

Aspen moves to New York


norman lebrecht

March 14, 2014

The festival is planning a metro showcase. Interestingly enough, not at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center.





For the first time, Aspen brings its artistic work

to a New York stage.


The innovative evening at SubCulture will be hosted by Aspen Music Director Robert Spano and

President and CEO Alan Fletcher.


It will also feature Aspen alumna Dawn Upshaw and a fresh mix of professionals and students from the AMFS.

Wednesday, April 16, 7:30 p.m. 
At SubCulture, 45 Bleeker Street (downstairs) 
Tickets are $20 and available


  • ed says:

    Spano has the NYC connection- formerly with the Brooklyn Philharmonia (1996- 2004), as well as the Atlanta Symphony since 2001. Interesting choice for Aspen Music Director. His predecessor, David Zinman, was well respected and very popular- he was hugely loyal to the teachers and students- but resigned under difficult and somewhat messy political circumstances a couple of years ago created by a series of controversial Board decisions that resulted in some cutbacks and firings that may or may not have been necessary, given that the Festival has a very strong donor base.

    Maybe others can provide more background.

  • To a considerable degree, Aspen is summer camp for a bunch of New York musicians. In that respect, the Aspen festival in NYC is just Aspen staying home.

    Same story for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival which is also a summer camp for New York musicians plus a few others. And about 90 to 95% of the musicians at the Santa Fe Opera come from outside of New Mexico just for the summer. I hope that someday Americans give more thought to better supporting genuinely regional culture.

  • Emil Archambault says:

    A complete abridged festival…hmmmm…Interesting oxymoron!

  • You need to hear Stelly Stell’s new song”Kouvalao”. It’s among the finest Greek Hip Hop songs of 2014!!

  • For the 2014 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival there are 37 musicians from the New York area out of 82. Seven are New Mexico residents and other musicians come from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, California, and Oregon as well as the UK, Germany and France.

    • Seven New Mexicans out of 82 musicians, and probably on the lower rungs. That’s what I mean about our lack of regional culture. New Mexico is really lucky to have the festival, but some of us have a vague feeling that it isn’t really ours, that it doesn’t really represent our state.

      For the most part, this isn’t the Festival’s fault. It’s a larger problem with how the arts are funded in the USA, the way they have to oriented around financial centers where they wealthy live in order to draw wealthy donors. For a very poor place like NM, the money and the artists thus have to be brought from outside and centered in a summer haunt for the rich. If the festival really belonged to NM, it would not only regularly perform in Santa Fe, but also in places like Albuquerque, Roswell, Deming, Silver City, Gallup, and Las Cruces. Thank you for your kind response.

      • I looked at the wind players for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. 9 of the 15 players come from the NYC area (60%.) (I included Northern NJ and Southern CT because these are part of the NYC metro area.) 6 come from other states, and several of those have backgrounds working with the Lincoln Center Chamber players (based in NYC.) 0% come from NM.

        I’m sure that if I looked at the pianists and top string players, the numbers would be similar. I do not see even one musician from NM in a top position.

      • Hi Bill,

        In a sociopolitical context, you are right. To me, this looks like an American version of the Swiss Verbier Festival where you can count the number of Swiss performers each summer on one hand (except perhaps for the fringe and student events. Even in the festival orchestra, Swiss players are in the minority). And the artistic level is so high in both venues!

        But we know that having international stars performing at these festivals is important touristically, as well as musically, because of the audience they draw (multimedia broadcasts amplify this effect, too). As long as the wealthy tourists leave some of their money in NM, and the festival can get by without draining local budgets, then I am for it. Please don’t forget that local young talent who — for whatever reason — is staying in NM at home during the season, are hopefully inspired to further their musical activities by having such a festival at their doorstep.

        Look at festivals like Marlboro in Vermont … hard to find local talent that would attract the same audience! Probably could say the same about most other festivals, too.

        • As an afterthought, I’d like to add that the Lucerne Festival has done an enormous amount to bring young Swiss talent into the festival performances. I’m sure that there is some potential in every international festival to achieve more of this kind of artistic integration, especially regarding the advancement of young and promising talent.

          • All true, what Bob and Steven say. There is, however, a big difference because Switzerland does strongly support regional culture with full time orchestras in Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne, Basel, and Lugano among others. And with full season opera houses in Geneva, Bern, Basel, Lucerne, St. Gallen, and Zurich. And all of this for a country with a population of only 8 million — about the same size as NYC. Imagine if NYC had 6 full season opera houses and about the same number of full time symphony orchestras.

            So yes, the Swiss import musicians for festivals, but they generously support local culture too. The NM Symphony, by contrast, went bankrupt about three years ago. It came back as the NM Phil. The musicians no longer have contracts and are paid by the service, even though they serve a city with a metro pop. of 900,000 and a state with close to 2 million people.

            And in the SFCMF’s defense, even if they tried to perform around NM, they would probably find very little interest. Interest in culture is built over time and with consistent and adequate financial support. For now, we’ll just have to be content with the SFCMF summer camp festival for rich second homers in a gentrified Santa Fe. It creates a kind of surface culture without the societal depth genuine culture would be.

  • In 2008 the Santa Fe Chamber Muisc Festival began a series of summer concerts in Albuquerque. This season we will have 4 Wednesday night performances at Simms Center at the Albuquerque Academy. Some years ago the festival had annual state tours which were stopped for financial reasons.

    The Festival’s radio series, produced and distributed internationally by WFMT in Chicago, is broadcast throughout the state.