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Aspen Music Festival and School

The Aspen Music Festival and School, founded in 1949, is an internationally renowned classical music festival that presents world-class music in an intimate, small-town setting. It is also one of the world's premier training grounds for pre-professional musicians. The Festival and School was founded by intellectuals and visionaries Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke of Chicago and is rooted in the lofty idea that it is the combination of art and nature that fosters the growth of the human spirit. Fifty six years later, this guiding principle still informs every aspect of the organization.

The nine-week program provides a diverse combination of classroom and practical experiences designed to encourage students to develop their talents and skills to the fullest. A broad curriculum includes individual lessons, master classes, concerts, and recitals.

800 young musicians attend the School from throughout the United States and the world. Almost 40 nations are represented, including Australia, China, Iceland, Mexico, Sweden, and Venezuela. The AMFS annually invites more than 165 music teachers and 70 guest artists from all corners of he globe to attend.

The master teacher/apprentice relationship, the foundation of music education, finds full expression at the School. As part of their training, Aspen students have the unusual opportunity to perform as fully participating orchestra members with some of the world’s finest musicians, under the leadership of world-renowned conductors. Musicians of all ages learn from their instructors not only in the classroom, but also as they perform side-by-side with them in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony. In addition, the School maintains three orchestras composed entirely of students – the Sinfonia, the Aspen Concert Orchestra, and the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra.

Alumni of the AMFS fill important professional music positions around the world, performing in top-tier orchestras, opera houses, and on music school faculties. Sarah Chang, James Conlon, Lynn Harrell, Renée Fleming, James Levine, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Susan Mentzer, Itzhak Perlman, Leonard Slatkin, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Dawn Upshaw are among those whose careers have roots at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

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