Saturday concert features world-class talent

Saturday, July 29, Salidans are in for a treat at the Salida Aspen Concert. The exciting part is that we won’t know the nature of this treat right now because the performers coming are students at the Aspen Music Festival and School and are in the process of being selected at this time.

Most of the performers at Salida Aspen Concerts are established international stars before they play here. But once a year, Aspen Music Festival and School also provides young talent – students at the school. These are not ordinary “students.” Most are good enough to go on to professional careers shortly after completing their studies.

And some of those students have become really great stars. The best example is soprano Renee Fleming. She is THE greatest living soprano, although early this year she announced she would step down from the toughest roles in opera, such as the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. She made her last performance in that role this spring at the Metropolitan Opera.

She performed at Salida Aspen Concerts on July 13, 1988, performing songs by such composers as Franz Schubert and Antonio Vivaldi. For an encore, she sang the mystical “Song to the Moon” from Antonin Dvorak’s opera Rusalka. Almost single-handedly, as she grew to become a star, she put that opera in the repertory. And she has devoted much time to broadening out and bringing great singing to a large audience. In 2014, she became the first operatic star to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl.

Two years earlier, on Aug. 9, 1986, Salidans got a real treat. Violinist Gil Shaham, only 15 years old, played with a pianist. Now, Gil Shaham is one of the handful of great violinists. He plays throughout the world, often performing with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham. She played at Salida Aspen Concerts July 28, 2012. She frequently performs on radio and television. We didn’t get her as a young talent, however. She was an established star by the time she played here.

Pianist Gustavo Romero performed July 27, 1985. That was three years before he would get his bachelor’s degree at Juilliard School in New York. He now travels the world and is also a professor of music at a Texas university. He has performed with many of the greatest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic. The Washington Post has called him a “pianist of genius.” The New York Times has lauded his “great agility, adequate power and an unusually large repertory of colors and dynamic levels.”

Joyce Yang astonished the musical world by getting the silver medal in the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at age 19. Two years later, she played at Salida Aspen Concerts for the first time. The audience was thrilled. This year will be her 11th appearance in the last 12 years at Salida Aspen Concerts. She has soloed with almost all the great orchestras – the New York Philharmonic more than 30 times. She loves Chaffee County – one of the reasons we are able to get her back continuously.

Flutist Nadine Asin played in Salida July 27, 1996, and July 11, 1998. She has played with the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera orchestras. She is on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and is also on the adjunct faculty at New York’s Juilliard School, where she got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The program begins at 7:30 p.m. at Salida High School auditorium, and performers will be interviewed on stage at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door, but students K-12 get in free, and adults bringing a student pay only $10.