A musical homecoming for violinist Simone Porter at the Aspen Music Festival

03.02.17
Simone Porter
The Aspen Times

Aspen has had a front-row seat for the phenomenal rise of violinist Simone Porter, from her first summer studying at the Aspen Music Festival and School as a precocious 10-year-old to the acclaimed beginnings of her international career.

Now 19, Porter will take the stage at Harris Concert Hall this evening in a musical homecoming to Aspen, where she spent seven summers as a student.

This marks Porter's second performance in the Music Festival's annual winter music recital series. Including accompaniment from pianist Armen Guzelimian, the recital will feature seminal violin sonatas by Mozart and Brahms. Also included is Arvo Pärt's "Fratres," which was included in Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood's score for the 2007 film "There Will Be Blood."

Porter has been in the spotlight since soon after first coming to Aspen nine years ago: giving a head-turning performance with the Seattle Symphony at age 10, being featured on National Public Radio's "From the Top" at 11, making her international debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at 13 and making her professional debut at 15.

"Aspen is my home away from home, and I really grew up there and developed there musically and was surrounded by so many young people who share a passion for classical music," Porter told The Aspen Times before one recent summer performance. "That collective energy was phenomenal and made me fall in love with the place."

A Seattle native, Porter spent her formative summers studying with Robert Lipsett in Aspen.

"Being there and experiencing everything the festival and Aspen has to offer, it makes you a better person and a better musician," she said.

Aspen Music Festival vice president for artistic administration Asadour Santourian recalled hearing the self-possessed young Porter for the first time when she played him a piece by Pablo de Sarasate.

"I was bowled over by the fact that, alongside all the bravura that she executed, she actually was keenly interested in communicating the musical material in the piece," he said. "Since then, it's been a wonderful journey, and it's a wonderful magic carpet ride with her artistically. She's been able to evolve herself into an exceptional communicator through her instrument."
 
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