Announcing this Summer’s Reimagined Concerts

The summer’s scheduled concerts will take place, broadcast online and on the Pavilion Lawn (health conditions permitting) with all previously scheduled guest musicians and a few new featured artists participating.

The Sun Valley Music Festival is pleased to announce repertoire for the recently reimaged 36th annual Summer Season. Concerts will now be produced by a team of more than 100 sound and video professionals capturing performances from musicians nationwide, led by Alasdair Neale and directed by acclaimed opera, theater, and film director James Darrah. Guest artists announced earlier, along with a few new artists, will perform along with the Festival Orchestra. Highlights including a series of Beethoven masterpieces celebrating 250 years of the composers’ birth remain, with the addition of celebrated masterworks for solo, chamber, and orchestra performed in new and exciting ways, including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Bernstein’s Suite from “West Side Story,” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” And while the season will be different, it will also be lighthearted and joyful—an opportunity for you to get to know your orchestra and enjoy their talents in new ways.

Music Director Alasdair Neale explains:

“This Summer Season is designed, first and foremost, as a big virtual bear hug to the community, which has supported us for over 35 years. We want to give back to everyone who has invited us into their homes by inviting them into our homes and our lives. We also see this as a unique opportunity to share the Festival experience with viewers around the world. Our mission is to enrich, inspire, and instill in our community a lifelong love of classical music through extraordinary, free concerts and education programs, and this year, that mission goes online!”

While many performing arts organizations are producing virtual concerts, the Festival’s season will be unique in terms of producing an entire season of new content, at orchestra scale, filmed in multiple locations throughout North America. The possibility of in-person lawn viewing (if health guidelines allow), and the ability to share the concerts free to a worldwide audience will distinguish this season further. Anticipate 14 new concert programs—each with its own style—with performances captured with orchestra members and guest artists at concert halls, universities, and homes in cities across North America, including Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Rochester, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto. Programs will include single-location, socially distanced performances; multi-location, video-synced performances; and full orchestra works featuring musicians conducted in person by Alasdair Neale as well as orchestra members performing their parts remotely. Programs will also feature commentary from Mr. Neale, as well as conversations with guest artists and orchestra musicians.

Key elements of the original season lineup will be preserved, including event dates and times announced earlier this year. All previously announced guest artists will perform, including pianist Daniil Trifonov giving a solo recital of Beethoven and Mussorgsky, pianist Orion Weiss appearing on several programs as both a solo and chamber artist, Sun Valley favorites Time for Three, and appearances by violinist Leila Josefowicz and the Villalobos Brothers. Other programs will feature two new artists: the 442s and Mason Bates. A recurring theme throughout the summer will be the music of Beethoven, in keeping with the planned Beethoven @ 250 celebration. Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford, who had been scheduled as a guest speaker during the season, will provide musical commentary to online audiences. And, the Festival’s annual Gala concert—featuring Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian Stokes Mitchell—will also take place virtually. For years, this has been the only event for which the Festival charges admission, but this summer, as a thank-you to the community, the Festival presents the concert broadcast free of charge on Monday, August 3.

Click here for complete Summer Season concert details

The season was transformed out of an abundance of caution regarding in-person gatherings. The health and safety of the audience, musicians, and staff alike are of the utmost importance. In the coming weeks, the Festival will publish a detailed guide on attending concerts on the lawn (health conditions permitting) this summer at There you’ll also find tips on getting the best online broadcast experience. Content will be updated daily while health conditions are monitored closely to ensure the most up-to-date safety protocols are in place. New this year, reservations to attend on the Lawn will be required, and access won’t be available until the gates open at 5:00 PM. This will help ensure attendees can arrive, be seated, and exit following safety guidelines. Past activities such as the Lawn Party, Pre-Concert Chats, Kids’ Music Tent, and Family Night Instrument Petting Zoo will return next year, after a hiatus this summer.

All concerts are free, broadcast at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time on the Festival website ( All performance broadcasts are not available on demand or for download, so please be sure to attend on the scheduled dates.

For the latest news and information on the Sun Valley Music Festival, visit the Festival website at or sign up for e-news at