Join the First Take crew each Thursday at 8:35 AM as they talk about Colorado’s cultural scene with Arts District host Carrie Saldo. Below is the summary from September 17, 2015. 

audio clips from season 4 premiere of “Arts District:” Aspen Music Festival, Denver Art Museum

Arts District launches its fourth season with even more stories of artists living and working in Colorado. And a series of new segments will demonstrate how anyone can enjoy art – no PhD in Art History required. 

Music Among the Aspens, Far From Leisure

In May 2015, the New York Times called the Aspen Music Festival and School one of 50 Essential Summer Festivals. While it presents a few concerts in the winter, summer is high season for the festival when it is home to more than 300 classical music events seen by an estimated 70,000 people. Its school has graduated a long list of renowned alumni including violinist Joshua Bell and conductor James Levine.

“We are dealing with the crème of the conservatory and school of music crème,” said Asadour Santourian, Aspen Music Festival and School artistic administrator. “They are looking for an opportunity to practice their art in a safe haven. A safe environment to perform your first concerto, your first sonata or a real opportunity to prepare for that international competition.”

In readying themselves for those experiences, students work with internationally renowned faculty and staff. It is often rigorous.

“Many times you ask very difficult things of them,” said Robert Lipsett, Aspen Music Festival and School violin teacher. “Things that in their mind they may not think they are even capable of or that are even possible. And you need to foster that as a teacher.”   

While that typical teacher-student relationship is developed, it is also transcended when the two perform side-by-side at the festival for thousands of people. 

“On top of the intensity that comes from playing your instrument, this environment that we are in is intense,” said Usha Kapoor, Aspen Music Festival and School violin student. “The mountains are huge, the rivers are fast, and so you feel energized by the things around you.”

Colorado From A Less-Familiar Vantage Point

For one of his latest fine art projects photographer Alec Soth fixed his camera lens on everyday people, barren landscapes and quirky details of local culture.

The road trip is not a new concept in photography nor is it novel for Soth, he’s often snapped pictures peripatetically. Colorado Dispatch, on display at the Denver Art Museum, was shot in various communities in the Centennial state.

“There is a power to photography in that it gives light to people’s lives and a lot of people are hungry for attention, not in a crass way, but in a meaningful way,” Soth said. “And I do honestly love these interactions and want to show people’s lives.”

Colorado is one of nine states Soth collaborated coverage of with writer Brad Zellar. Each culminated in a printed dispatch, or news bulletin, that reported on the circumstances they encountered. To give the project the look and feel of newspaper photography Soth shot black and white images. Unlike a newspaper, Soth’s photographs were not accompanied by cutlines that provide context or explanations for subjects and settings. 

“I want people to be confused and maybe a little startled by the pictures. In that sense it’s almost like they are on the trip, they’re having this encounter and they have to sort it out themselves,” Soth said.

Denver Art Museum Curator Eric Paddock said Soth’s photographs are at once current and reminiscent of depression-era photography some 75 years ago. 

“You look at these things and at first they seem quirky and maybe a little off putting,” Paddock said. “But that’s the challenge of the work and it’s also the reward of the work is to look at … people who are unusual or are doing odd things and to kind of recognize yourself or recognize all of humanity in that one picture.”

Arts District Season Four Sneak Peek

In addition to bringing you more stories from visual and performing artists living and working in Colorado, Arts District’s fourth season offers novel ways to learn about art. Three new segments airing throughout the season and anchored by yours truly will help you get that done:

Art by the Numbers: Where we help you fill in the blanks, making it easy to enjoy art. The ideas and tips from art-smart types will enrich museum experiences wherever you roam.  

Inside the Arts: Enter through stage doors and loading docks for unprecedented access into the city’s visual and performing arts venues. And learn what makes arts leaders and their organizations tick.

State of the Arts: Our panel of local experts discusses what’s not to be missed, what you skip, and the inside scoop on the latest arts news headlines.

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