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Best Bets: Aspen Music Festival and School

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For eight weeks each summer, Aspen comes alive with music. The Aspen Music Festival and School, “the United States’ premier classical music festival,” showcases more than 300 events—with the musicians averaging just 21.9 years of age. It’s a win-win: Students get to perform in breathtaking mountain venues in front of massive audiences, while also furthering their music education.

There are still a slew of top-tier performances to catch before the festival wraps on August 18. The highlights:

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Live Radio Taping. Watch how the sausage is made during live tapings of NPR’s From the Top (August 4) and classical show Performance Today (August 12). Both at Harris Concert Hall, 8 p.m., $25

Emerson String Quartet. For 34 years, this quartet remained unchanged. Now, making his Aspen debut, is new member and cellist Paul Watkins. August 8, Harris Concert Hall, 8 p.m., $65

Harris Hall 20th Anniversary Concert. Since opening its doors in 1993, Harris Concert Hall has been a performance and recording mecca for artists. In celebration, a dozen musicians will take the stage and play the classics. August 13, Harris Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m., $75

Family Concert. Teach your kids about music in a laid-back environment with a pre-concert talk (including light eats) followed by a performance of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. August 14, Meadows Hospitality Tent, 5 p.m., free

L’incoronazione di Poppea. The Aspen Opera Theater Center presents Claudio Monteverdi’s Italian opera. August 15 and 17, Wheeler Opera House, 7 p.m., $25–$50

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Closing Night. The season ender from the Aspen Festival Orchestra features American bass-baritone Eric Owens (don’t miss the small-group dinner with the musician earlier in the week) in celebrating Wagner and Verdi’s “most powerful operatic moments.” August 18, Benedict Music Tent, 4 p.m., $78

Image courtesy of Alex Irvin

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