Sun Valley Music Festival Announces 40th Summer Season: July 29 – August 22 —Celebrating 40 Years of Free Music—
The largest privately-funded, admission-free classical music festival in the United States presents four 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.
Renowned guest artists include Meechot Marrero, Jeffrey Zeigler, Stephen Hough, Leonidas Kavakos, Vinay Parameswaran, and Garrick Ohlsson.
The Sun Valley Music Festival proudly announces its landmark 40th-anniversary season, from July 29 to August 22, at the Sun Valley Pavilion, in the beautiful, natural surroundings of Sun Valley—the country’s original destination ski resort. Curated by Music Director Alasdair Neale, the 2024 summer season will feature the all-star Festival Orchestra—which comprises the finest musicians from orchestras throughout North America—performing with a stellar lineup of world-renowned guest artists that includes violinist Leonidas Kavakos, pianists Stephen Hough and Garrick Ohlsson, soprano Meechot Marrero, and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler.
“I’m looking forward to this milestone 40th-anniversary season,” commented Neale, who will conduct 11 of the 14 Summer Season programs. “As befits the occasion, we’re celebrating decades of musical excellence with a top-notch lineup of great music and great artists. And it all takes place in the unparalleled setting of the Sun Valley Pavilion against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains.”
To celebrate 40 years of free classical music concerts, the Sun Valley Music Festival Summer Season includes two world premieres commissioned by the Festival: a cello concerto by the Pulitzer Prize finalist and multi-GRAMMYⓇ-nominated composer Andy Akiho, performed by former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler; and a season-opening fanfare by Timothy Higgins, principal trombone of the San Francisco Symphony. Stephanie Childress returns as the Music Festival’s Associate Conductor to lead several performances, including Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 (“Linz”), Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, and Rossini’s William Tell overture. Major orchestral repertoire includes Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Saint-Saёns’s Organ Symphony, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Brahms’s Violin Concerto, Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, and Ravel’s Boléro. All concerts are offered free of charge, with ample seating inside the Sun Valley Pavilion and on the lawn, featuring a state-of-the-art big screen and sound system.
This year the Festival welcomes the acclaimed Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos, a frequent fixture with major orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and the London Symphony. Kavakos makes his Sun Valley debut performing Brahms’s Violin Concerto, a celebration of the soloist’s technique and musicianship. Sir Stephen Hough, a MacArthur fellow and one of the most distinctive artists of his generation, also makes his Sun Valley debut, performing one of the most popular and beloved works of all time, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Hough will also perform chamber music with Festival musicians, including Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 and his own Sonatina Nostalgica.
Pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the only American to have won first prize in the International Chopin Piano Competition, will perform Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as well as an all-Chopin solo recital. Soprano Meechot Marrero, whom El Nuevo Día called, “a revelation… a young Puerto Rican star with a great career ahead,” returns to Sun Valley to sing familiar songs and arias with the Festival Chamber Orchestra. Marrero will also sing Schubert’s The Shepherd on the Rock in a chamber concert.
Additional programs feature Astor Piazzola’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires; Gabriela Ortiz’s Antrópolis, a piece inspired by the music of Mexico’s nightlife; Jessie Montgomery’s effervescent Strum, which, according to the composer, “draws on American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement;” and Quinn Mason’s A Joyous Trilogy, which he calls “the very embodiment of happiness.” For Pops Night, the Festival will screen the blockbuster film Raiders of the Lost Ark with the orchestra playing the acclaimed John Williams score — one of the most memorable and iconic in the history of cinema — under the direction of conductor Vinay Parameswaran.
Education Programs: Sun Valley Music Festival Music Institute
In addition to presenting first-rate classical music performances, the Sun Valley Music Festival is dedicated to bringing the joy of music to young people’s lives. Now in its 27th year, the Festival’s Music Institute provides year-round music education programs to students of all abilities, from second graders to college undergraduates. This summer, students in grades 2-12 can attend programs for most orchestral instruments, voice, and piano from August 5 to 9. College undergraduates and exceptional high school students studying piano, strings, and voice can participate in the Advanced Chamber Program from July 29 to August 10. Students hone their skills and work on select pieces with Festival musicians, conductors, and guest artists — including Marrero, Akiho, Zeigler, and Hough — and also attend orchestra rehearsals and concerts. Their experience culminates with an opportunity to perform on the Sun Valley Pavilion stage. Thanks to the generosity of Music Festival donors, students pay only nominal registration and materials fees. More information about education programs, including registration, which is now open, can be found at svmusicfestival.org/summer-programs.
How to attend
Summer concerts offer 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–for free–to the public both in the Pavilion and on the lawn. For concert dates, details, and updates, please visit www.svmusicfestival.org or subscribe to the Festival’s e-news at svmusicfestival.org/subscribe. Details about the fundraising Gala will be announced in February. This concert is the only ticketed event of the year; sales help keep the rest of the concerts admission-free.