Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrates its 35th season and Music Director Alasdair Neale outside in front of mountain

2019 Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season Features Renowned Soloists and Chamber and Symphonic Masterpieces

This summer, the Symphony celebrates 35 years with a blockbuster lineup of soloists from across the globe including Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Gautier Capuçon, and concludes with Mahler’s Epic Symphony No. 2

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrates its 35th season and Music Director Alasdair Neale’s 25th anniversary with a blockbuster lineup of admission-free concerts this July 29 – Aug. 22.  The Summer Concert Series will feature three guest artists in residence, an exploration of chamber orchestra masterpieces, evenings of French music and Gershwin favorites, education programs, and full symphonies including Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection.”

Season highlights include residencies and solo performances beginning opening night with Mozart’s 5th violin concerto featuring the dazzling violinist, Ray Chen, well-known to young musicians for his comedic and stereotype-smashing social media posts. Following, Sun Valley favorite Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns with fellow French virtuoso, cellist Gautier Capuçon for a week-long residency. They team up Aug. 1 for a recital featuring works by Brahms and Shostakovich. Thibaudet will then play Gershwin’s piano concerto on Aug. 4 with the orchestra, and Capuçon will take his turn on Aug. 5 with Saint-Saëns’s cello concerto. Former Sun Valley Summer Symphony Associate Conductor and current Louisville Orchestra Music Director, Teddy Abrams, will lead Pops Night Aug. 17 with Broadway singer Morgan James, presenting an evening of George Gershwin favorites. Mason Bates returns as composer-in-residence with his water-inspired symphony “Liquid Interface” on Aug. 14. He’s featured again on Aug. 18 bringing back “Devil’s Radio” — a piece commissioned by the Symphony for its 30th anniversary — and debuting “Passage,” featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and excerpts from John F. Kennedy’s famous Moonshot speech.

“For this major anniversary season, I’m delighted to be able to bring so many outstanding guest artists to Sun Valley for our audiences,” says Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale. “I’m especially grateful that they will spend time here, mingling with our patrons and with students in our Music Institute programs. We will continue our tradition of presenting new pieces while also performing some of the best-loved works in the repertoire.”

The season begins with concerts exploring the role of the chamber orchestra in detail, including 20th-century works by Ravel, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev that were inspired by their baroque and classical forebears. Following, major orchestral pieces include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 on Aug. 7, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 on Aug. 13, and Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 2 for the season finale on Aug. 22. On every critic’s list of the 10 greatest symphonies ever written, Mahler’s 90-minute masterpiece explores the totality of the human condition, from life and death to rebirth. With the American Festival Chorus and soloists, the orchestra will swell to well over 300 musicians on stage for this performance. As to its impact, Maestro Neale recalls his first hearing, at age 13: “It rocked my world – I had never imagined music could have that level of visceral, emotional impact.”

This season is also the 22nd year of the Symphony’s Music Institute Summer Programs, which will run July 29 through Aug. 10. The Institute offers 1-week programs for elementary through high school students of all abilities in piano, voice, woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion, and a 2-week Advanced Chamber Music Program for college undergraduates and exceptional high school students. All programs feature outstanding faculty, including Music Director Alasdair Neale, Associate Conductor Sameer Patel, and many musicians from the Sun Valley Summer Symphony orchestra. Additionally, guest artists Ray Chen, Gautier Capuçon, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet will spend time coaching and mentoring young students. Thanks to the generosity of Symphony donors, all programs are tuition-free, with only minimal costs for registration and materials. Registration is available on the Symphony’s website at The application deadline is April 1 for the Advanced Chamber Music Program and May 1 for the one-week programs.

All concerts in the 2019 Summer Concert Series will begin at 6:30 p.m. The Symphony will release details in February for its annual Gala performance. Visit the Symphony website at for complete 2019 season details and the latest information, news, and event information.

View summer concerts

View summer education programs