An Eastman Student’s Summer at Aspen

September 6, 2019

Aspen’s Benedict Music Tent

By Jacob Buhler

This summer, I went to the Aspen Music Festival and School to study for eight weeks. I had an incredibly productive summer studying under Paul Kantor, who teaches at Rice University during the school year and taught my professor, Juliana Athayde, in her undergraduate training. In addition to weekly lessons, I was rotated between a few of the orchestras there, playing with the Aspen Conducting Orchestra (under the batons of current Eastman students and alumni!), Philharmonic Orchestra, Festival Orchestra, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.

I had the opportunity to play great repertoire, ranging from the intimate setting of Judith Shatin’s Ruah for Flute and Chamber Orchestra to the massive season finale of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”. Additionally, I played in a festival ensemble with Sarah Chang. This ensemble played gems of the violin repertoire such as Dvorak’s Romance in F Minor and Ravel’s Tzigane with Chang as the soloist, and was the first time I’ve performed under a famous violinist! Aside from my orchestral playing, I performed in a piano quartet with two other Eastman students: Aditi Prakash, viola, and Macintyre Taback, cello. We performed Mozart’s famous Piano Quartet in G Minor, which was a lot of fun to prepare!

I also made sure to take advantage of attending a festival in such a beautiful location and would try to spend as much time in the outdoors when I wasn’t performing or practicing! Aspen is home to many great hiking trails, and even a small trek from the student housing to the downtown area. I also took advantage of many of the fine dining establishments in Aspen and spent a small fortune on fresh pasta, sushi, and baked goods. If anybody is looking for a great summer festival where you can learn a lot, perform a lot, and still enjoy the summer break as a vacation, I would recommend the Aspen Music Festival and School wholeheartedly!

Jake, one of Eastman’s student bloggers for the 2019-2020 academic year, is a senior violin major in the studio of Associate Professor Juliana Athayde.