Announcing the 2021 Summer Season, a “Season to Celebrate” July 26-August 19

The largest admission-free classical music festival in the United States presents its 37th Summer Season with live concerts featuring classical mainstays and a special celebration honoring frontline heroes


Music Director Alasdair Neale leads the Festival Orchestra in the world premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Freedom Songs with soprano Julia Bullock, plus violinist Joshua Bell performs for the fundraising Gala Concert; additional guest artists include violinist Vadim Gluzman, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, pianist Joyce Yang, The Villalobos Brothers, and conductor Jacomo Bairos

Collage of 2021 Summer Season musicians

The Sun Valley Music Festival plans a return to in-person concerts with its 37th Summer Season July 26-August 19, 2021 at the state-of-the-art Sun Valley Pavilion in Idaho. The season features over a dozen admission-free concerts alongside multiple outreach and education events, all presented safely in a beautiful, outdoor setting. Since 1985, Festival Orchestra musicians have come together from distinguished ensembles across North America to perform orchestral and chamber concerts each summer. Guest artists this year include world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell headlining the annual fundraising Gala Concert, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, soprano Julia Bullock, pianist Joyce Yang, Mexican ensemble The Villalobos Brothers, violinist Vadim Gluzman, composer Jessie Montgomery, and conductor Jacomo Bairos.


Music Director Alasdair Neale shares the excitement about returning to in-person performances:

“Our 2021 season reflects the great joy that all of us on stage and in the audience feel in being able to resume live music-making again. The musicians and I look forward to returning to our beloved Wood River Valley to perform in the beautiful Sun Valley Pavilion and share our passion and enthusiasm with the community once more.”


Chamber Orchestra Concerts and Chamber Recitals

The Festival launches the Summer Season with three chamber orchestra concerts starting with the season opener on July 26, followed by performances on July 27 and 31. A chamber recital on July 29 features acclaimed violinist Vadim Gluzman, and Festival Orchestra musicians team up to perform in small ensembles on August 3 and 17.


Festival Orchestra Concerts

Festival Orchestra performances kick-off on August 2 with a concert tribute to frontline heroes in our community — those in healthcare and emergency services who worked so hard to improve our lives this past year. One of the most celebrated violinists of his era, Grammy Award-winner Joshua Bell joins the Festival Orchestra on August 4 for the annual fundraising Gala Concert. Ticket sales for this event help keep the rest of the season’s performances admission-free. Gala Concert details, including on-sale dates, will be announced in the spring.

On August 7, the Festival Orchestra proudly performs the world premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Freedom Songs, featuring soprano Julia Bullock. As the lead commissioner of this new work, the Festival is proud to count among its co-commissioners the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Grand Teton Music Festival, Kansas City Symphony, and Virginia Arts Festival.

Other 2021 artistic highlights include cellist and MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow Alisa Weilerstein’s Festival debut on August 12 and “knockout” pianist (The New York Times) Joyce Yang on August 15. Contemporary Mexican ensemble The Villalobos Brothers take the stage for the annual Pops concert on August 14 with a spirited evening of Latin-inspired music. Plans include continuing the festivities post-concert with a lively lawn party with Latin flair – a true ¡Fiesta de baile!


Education Programs – Sun Valley Music Festival Music Institute

In pursuit of its mission to instill a lifelong love of classical music in the community, the Festival supplements concerts with summer education programs through its Music Institute. Students in grades 2-12 can participate in programs for most orchestral instruments, voice, and piano August 2-6, 2021 while college undergraduates and exceptional high school students studying piano, strings, and voice can participate in the Advanced Chamber Program July 26-August 7, 2021. Participants hone their musical skills and work on performance pieces with Sun Valley Music Festival musicians, conductors, and guest artists – including Vadim Gluzman, Julia Bullock, and Joyce Yang – while also attending orchestra rehearsals. More information about the education programs, including registration, which is now open, can be found here.

For up-to-the-minute details, including concert dates and information, visit or sign up for e-news at Concert schedules and repertoire are subject to change to meet health needs. Seating and attendance protocols will be determined closer to the start of the Summer Season, based on health guidelines. Visit the Festival website at for up-to-date information on attending.