Housing shortage, rising rents compel Aspen Music Festival and School to reduce number of students

Posted on: March 25, 2022

“The Aspen Music Festival and School has canceled the 2022 concerts for its Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra and reduced its student body by 80 due to the inability to find housing for student musicians,” writes Andrew Travers in Tuesday’s (3/22) Aspen Times (CO). “Music Fest leaders made the decision in February to place the Philharmonic on hiatus when it became clear it would not be able find beds for all of its students, seasonal staff and faculty this summer. The concert cancellations mark a disquieting milestone for Aspen’s ever-worsening housing crisis, as skyrocketing rental and sale prices, proliferating short-term rentals and an influx of new owners choke the ability of the Music Fest—founded in 1949 as the cultural cornerstone of modern Aspen—to fulfill its mission in educating young musicians…. Dropping [the all-student Philharmonic] allowed the Music Fest to reduce its 2022 enrollment by 80 orchestral students, leaving its student body at 480 for the summer. The move … [President and CEO Alan] Fletcher said, was entirely based on the housing situation and not on any change in artistic or educational priorities…. The Music Fest is not reducing its number of faculty for 2022 and is not canceling any guest artist appearances.”