Announcing the 39th Summer Season, July 30-August 24, 2023
Sun Valley Music Festival, the largest privately funded, admission-free classical music festival in the United States, presents over three weeks of world-class performances this summer in a beautiful outdoor alpine setting, featuring the Festival’s all-star orchestra, led by Music Director Alasdair Neale.
This season features performances from renowned guest artists: violinist Augustin Hadelich, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, pianist Yefim Bronfman, guest conductor Stéphane Denève, and a residency with pianist Orli Shaham.
The Sun Valley Music Festival proudly announces its 39th Summer Season, July 30-Aug. 24, featuring Music Director Alasdair Neale, the Festival’s all-star orchestra, and a stellar lineup of guest artists for over three weeks of free concerts in Sun Valley, Idaho’s beautiful, natural surroundings. There is truly a musical experience for everyone to enjoy this summer — whether sitting in the beautiful Sun Valley Pavilion or the adjacent lawn. Pianists Yefim Bronfman and Orli Shaham, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and violinist Augustin Hadelich headline concerts featuring works by Schumann, Ravel, Mahler, and Tchaikovsky. Repertoire highlights include works by contemporary American composers, including Mason Bates, Michael Abels, and Michael Tilson Thomas, alongside cornerstones of the classical music repertoire. These include Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and Debussy’s La Mer. For a very special Pops Night, Stéphane Denève, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony and the recently appointed Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, leads the Festival Orchestra in an evening of the music of John Williams.
Music Director Alasdair Neale comments, “I’m so thrilled to announce the details of the Sun Valley Music Festival’s 2023 Summer Season today. I’ve had a great deal of fun planning everything over the course of the last 18 months, and of course, I can’t wait to put it all into action with my friends and colleagues of the Festival Orchestra and perform for you this summer.”
The Festival’s all-star orchestra is comprised of the finest musicians from orchestras throughout North America. Three chamber orchestra performances kick off the season. For opening night on July 30, “brilliant pianist” Orli Shaham (The New York Times) returns to Sun Valley to perform Ravel’s beautiful and jazz-influenced Piano Concerto in G Major. The program also includes Delights and Dances by Academy Award-nominated American composer Michael Abels, Rossini’s Overture to the Barber of Seville, and The Star-Spangled Banner. On Aug. 1, Beethoven’s charming Symphony No. 2 and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll will be performed. The Festival continues its multi-season exploration of Mozart’s concertos for winds on Aug. 4 with Mozart’s Concerto for Oboe performed by the Festival Orchestra’s Principal Oboe, Erik Behr, alongside Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes.
Other 2023 artistic highlights featuring the full Festival Orchestra include Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 on Aug. 6, Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony plus Mahler songs with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke on Aug. 10, and Stravinsky’s groundbreaking Rite of Spring on Aug. 17. Principal Bassoon Andrew Cuneo performs Mozart’s concerto for the bassoon on Aug. 19 on a program with Debussy’s La Mer and Agnegram by Michael Tilson Thomas. On Aug. 20, Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich performs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto following Florence Price’s Andante moderato. Pianist Yefim Bronfman returns to Sun Valley to perform Schumann’s only piano concerto on Aug. 14. The popular annual post-concert Lawn Party featuring DJ Masonic (aka the composer, Mason Bates) follows this performance.
On the Aug. 12 Pops Night, following the traditional rousing rendition of the Armed Forces Medley, Stéphane Denève leads an evening of the music of John Williams. Music Director Alasdair Neale concludes the summer on Aug. 24 with Mahler’s larger-than-life Symphony No. 5.
Festival Orchestra musicians are joined by renowned guest soloists for chamber music concerts on Aug. 3 with pianist Orli Shaham, Aug. 9 with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and Aug. 21 with violinist Augustin Hadelich, which will feature music by Brahms.
Education Programs – Sun Valley Music Festival Music Institute
The Festival is dedicated to bringing the joy of music into young people’s lives. Now in its 26th year, the Festival’s Music Institute provides year-round music education programs to students of all abilities, from beginning second graders to advanced college undergraduates. This summer, students in grades 2-12 can participate in tuition-free programs for most orchestral instruments, voice, and piano Aug. 7-11, while college undergraduates and exceptional high school students studying piano, strings, and voice can participate in the Advanced Chamber Program July 31-Aug. 12. Participants hone their musical skills and work on performance pieces with Sun Valley Music Festival musicians, conductors, and guest artists – including Orli Shaham and Sasha Cooke – and also attend orchestra rehearsals and concerts. Students’ work culminates with an opportunity to perform from the Pavilion stage. More information about education programs, including registration, which is now open, can be found on the Festival’s website.
How To Attend
Summer concerts are an exciting social experience, where people from all walks of life can enjoy music together, for free. While some seats in the Pavilion may be reserved in advance by donors at certain levels, great seats are always available to the public in both the Pavilion and on the lawn. For concert dates, details, and up-to-date information on attending, visit the Festival website at svmusicfestival.org or sign up for e-news at svmusicfestival.org/subscribe to receive the latest season updates by email. The details for the Gala Concert – taking place Tuesday, Aug. 8 – will be released in mid-February. This fundraising concert is the only ticketed event of the year; sales help keep the rest of the concerts admission-free.