Got on the Waiting List for the Aspen Music Festival?

February 24, 2018, 12:32 AM · This morning, I received notification that I have been placed on the waiting list for the Aspen Music Festival. Is this something to be proud/disappointed about? I'm unfamiliar with summer programs (as I'm Australian), and I wanted to know if getting on the waiting list is something commendable, or "disappointing".

Thanks in advance!

Replies (5)

February 24, 2018, 1:33 AM · I think probably both...?

Of course no one besides admin would know where you are on the waitlist, but I reckon the odds are in your favor since Aspen is such a large festival with so many students and a lot of people who applied to multiple summer festivals might elect to go somewhere else less expensive (unless you're waitlisted as an orchestra fellow) or another festival for whatever reason.

Good luck and wish you a productive summer wherever you may be!

February 24, 2018, 6:47 AM · Ditto Dorian. Aspen is a high-level festival.
February 24, 2018, 8:33 AM · "Aspen is a high-level festival."
About 8000' if I recall...

Keep in mind that many students that have been admitted aren't necessarily better than you. They may well have had preexisting relationships with their teacher. Same at many programs and schools--if you know someone and they like teaching you then it's easier to get in.

February 24, 2018, 2:38 PM · What Scott said is so true. When I went to Aspen, people described it as a "summer playground" for students of certain schools. A crazy story floated around about a guy who sent in an XXX tape for the audition because he knew his teacher also teaching at Aspen wouldn't bother to look at it. You get the idea.
Edited: February 28, 2018, 9:06 AM · I think being placed on the waiting list is a plus. There are some very, very high level students in Aspen, and if your playing had no merit in their opinion, they would say no.

While things like Dorian and Scott are likely true (I was an example of that, my violin teacher during high school was on the faculty, and he was willing to teach me in Aspen if I went. I am not sure if I would have been accepted without a connection or not.) Overall, the level of students at the festival if higher now than when I attended because there are many more applicants for each spot now.

If you are applying for a spot and have no connections then getting on the wait list is good. There are few spots left after "preexisting relationships" and if they are considering you, you have done some good things for sure. Like all competitive things in music, you have to interpret results. Without knowing your age and goals for music, it is hard for someone that doesn't know you to make a value judgement on something like this.

I hope you get in off the wait list. It's beautiful place to spend the summer and there some wonderful concerts and masterclasses for the duration of the festival.

I wanted to add a story which really illustrates the difference in the levels while I was there. I played in the back of the seconds in the lowest student orchestra. Every year, the festival had a competition where the winner soloed with the orchestra. In this particular year, the competition piece was the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1. First rehearsal, we are about to start and the conductor asks if anyone in the orchestra is in the competition. If they were, then they could play the piece with the orchestra - a very nice opportunity. Nobody in the orchestra raised their hand (many of them, like me, could not play this piece or certainly did not have it ready to play with an orchestra)so the conductor takes the solo part, puts in on a stand and tells the concertmaster to play it. She says something to the effect of "I haven't played this piece and it's really not in my repertoire." The conductor basically says just sight read it, it will be fine. So we get started and the concertmaster, a 19 year old, sight reads the Paganini Violin Concerto on the spot. It wasn't perfect, but let's put it this way - we were not stopping in rehearsal for the solo violin part. For me it was one of those moments where you realize that some people are a whole lot better at playing the violin than you are lol.

So it gives you an idea of how wide the range was. People who cannot play the Paganini Violin Concerto to those who can pretty much sight read it.

The winner of the competition that year was Peter Winograd who now plays with the American String Quartet.

So while it's true that not everyone may be a future star in the music school, the upper end of the students there is VERY high.

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