The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) is one of the world’s premier classical music festivals, bringing together superstar artists and emerging young artists from the most prestigious orchestras and conservatories in the world for more than 400 events in 8 weeks. This year, our 2017 season runs from June 29 through August 20.
One wonderful thing about the AMFS is how many opportunities there are to experience world-class performances for free. Whether you’re dipping your toe in classical music, or you’re an enthusiastic fan seeking musical immersion this season, this list of free AMFS options will be the perfect guide for your summer.
1. Lawn seating
The AMFS is known around the world for its incredible orchestras. A lovely way to experience these weekly concerts also happens to be absolutely free; simply bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the music from the David Karetsky Music Lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent.
Because our Tent walls are actually adjustable louvers, the sound quality from outside the venue is extraordinary. There’s nothing quite like sitting outside, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of Aspen on a perfect summer day, and listening to classical music.
During the season, come by the Benedict Music Tent at 6 pm on Wednesdays to hear the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, at 6 pm on Fridays to hear the Aspen Chamber Symphony, and at 4 pm on Sundays to hear the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
2. ACA Orchestra
Although the Lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent is an excellent option, you can also experience an orchestra concert inside the Tent for free with our series of Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra concerts. These events take place at 4 pm on July 3, 11, and 18 and August 1, 8, and 15, and are led by students in the AMFS’s prestigious conducting program. A different student conductor leads each movement of each piece, making the pacing a bit more digestible for newcomers and fresh and exciting for seasoned concert-goers.
3. Music on the Mountain
What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than picnicking at the top of a mountain with beautiful chamber music being played nearby? You can do just that with the AMFS’s Music on the Mountain series (1 pm Saturdays from July 8 through August 12). Though a gondola ticket or strenuous hike to the top of Aspen Mountain is required, the event itself is free of charge, and it offers a great casual atmosphere that proves classical music is just as vibrant outside the concert hall.
4. Music with a View
This series, in collaboration with the Aspen Art Museum, combines phenomenal visual art with chamber music performed by some of the AMFS’s top students and visiting musicians. Head to the Roof Deck Sculpture Garden at the museum and enjoy one-hour performances as well as refreshments available for purchase from SO café. Music with a View takes place at 6 pm on Tuesdays from July 11 through August 15 (no event on August 1).
5. Spotlight Recitals
Sprinkled throughout the season are Spotlight Recitals, featuring a juried selection of the AMFS’s brilliant student musicians performing chamber music masterworks. The programs and performers are announced at the events, so what you end up hearing is always a fun surprise. Spotlight Recitals take place at Harris Concert Hall, Aspen Community Church, Aspen Chapel, and Christ Episcopal Church. Visit the AMFS’s online calendar at www.aspenmusicfestival.com/events/calendar for exact dates, times, and locations.