A violin

Announcing the 2020 Summer Season

The Nation’s largest admission-free, privately supported classical music festival presents its 36th Summer Season this July 27 to Aug. 19 in Sun Valley, Idaho

The Sun Valley Music Festival today announced the 36th annual Summer Season, which takes place from July 27 to Aug. 19 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Since 1985, the Festival has brought together world-class musicians from distinguished orchestras across North America to perform three weeks of free chamber and orchestral concerts each summer. This season’s lineup includes a special “Beethoven @ 250 series;” concerts featuring guest artists Leila Josefowicz, Daniil Trifonov, Orion Weiss, and string trio Time for Three; and—performed by the latter—a triple concerto by Kevin Puts, a Festival co-commission with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Florida Orchestra. All Festival performances take place at the state-of-the-art Sun Valley Pavilion amphitheater at 6:30 p.m., except where specified otherwise.

Music Director Alasdair Neale said:

“I’m looking forward to this summer’s festival for so many reasons: the celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, for one; the return of Time for Three, for another. Then there’s Daniil Trifonov, the sensational pianist who’s electrified the world’s great concert halls whilst still in his twenties. But most of all I’m looking forward to making music again in the unmatched setting of the Sun Valley Pavilion with my dear friends and colleagues from top orchestras around the country. So many of them—like me—cannot resist the siren song of Sun Valley and the pleasure of performing for our devoted and appreciative audiences each summer!”

The season opens with a series of events commemorating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Titled “Beethoven @ 250,” this special celebration encompasses orchestral performances, chamber music recitals, and guest artists, both in the morning (10:30 a.m.) at The Community Library and in the evening (6:30 p.m.) at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Pianist Orion Weiss, Gilmore Young Artist Award winner and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, will perform July 27 and 30 for the celebration. The Community Library and the Music Festival are collaborating to bring Author, composer, and noted Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford to Sun Valley. His 2014 book “Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph was selected as Editor’s Choice in “The New York Times’” Book Review. Swafford will offer two lectures in the John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall at the Community Library on July 29 and 31.

The summer will also showcase several guest artists joining the Festival Orchestra, including “Musical America’s” 2019 Artist of the Year, pianist Daniil Trifonov on Aug. 4. Trifonov has been described by the London “Timesas “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.” His many awards and honors include a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and both First Prize and Grand Prix at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Avery Fisher Prize violinist Leila Josefowicz performs Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, a work she has performed with top orchestras around the world, on Aug. 9. Saturday, Aug. 15 sees the return of Time for Three to the Pavilion stage, performing a new composition by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Kevin Puts. A co-commission of the Sun Valley Music Festival, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Florida Orchestra, the work was written for the genre-defying string trio. The traditional “Armed Services Medley” will open this evening of American music. Jacomo Bairos will guest conduct the Pops concert on Aug. 16 with contemporary Mexican ensemble The Villalobos Brothers, followed by a post-concert lawn party with the ensemble.

The season’s orchestral program highlights include Jennifer Higdon’s “blue cathedralwith Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances on Aug. 6, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 on Aug. 11, Debussy’s “La Meron Aug. 14, and—to close the season—Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique on Aug. 19. On Aug. 8, the Festival’s Family Concert will feature music that depicts the American west, like Rossini’s Overture to “William Telland Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story,” before students of the Festival’s Music Institute Advanced Chamber Program join the orchestra to perform selections from Copland’s “Rodeo.”

A complete list of 2020 Summer Season performances and events can be found here.

In addition to its lineup of all admission-free concerts, the Festival offers summer education programs through its Music Institute, providing instruction for most orchestral instruments as well as piano and voice. Students range from second graders to advanced college undergraduates, who travel from across the country to hone their skills, develop their artistic sensibilities, and make music (and new friends) in the Festival’s unique environment. This year, programs for students in grades 2-12 are offered from Aug. 3-7. The Advanced Chamber Program takes place from July 27 to Aug. 8 and is geared towards experienced students who are committed to serious study in their discipline. Students will work directly with Festival musicians, conductors, and guest artists (including Orion Weiss and Leila Josefowicz) and attend orchestra rehearsals.

 Registration for the Music Institute’s summer programs is now open here on the Festival website.

For the latest Sun Valley Music Festival news and information, including complete concert listings and education programs, visit the Festival website at svmusicfestival.org or sign up for e-news at svmusicfestival.org/subscribe.

Pianist Orion Weiss, July 27 and 30Orion Weiss
Pianist Daniil Trifonov, Aug. 4
Daniil Trifonov
Violinist Leila Josefowicz (shown performing Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto at BBC Proms with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) performs with the Sun Valley Music Festival Aug. 9.


Time for Three, Aug. 15
Time for Three
Villalobos Brothers, Aug. 16

Click here for complete summer concert listings.