The Festival reimagines upcoming Summer Season with online broadcasts

Current concert dates and times remain scheduled as planned, but new repertoire from the Festival Orchestra and guest artists will be delivered live, online from the Festival website.

 New musical selections and concert formats will be announced late June.

The Sun Valley Music Festival is going online this summer and work is underway to create an entirely new season of music. Concert dates remain the same; broadcasts will take place live, on the Festival website July 27-Aug. 19 on evenings currently scheduled for a performance. The Festival’s Music Institute summer education programs will also be delivered online. This transformation will allow musicians to make music, faculty to teach, students to learn, and audiences to enjoy music all while accommodating guidelines for health and safety that may be in place in July and August, as well as personal preferences for attending.

“While we will all miss the social gatherings of the summer, this transformation also gives us the chance to produce all-new programs from our musicians in their homes and hometowns. We’re looking forward to delving into a great treasure trove of music one doesn’t usually hear at an orchestra concert. We’ll have the opportunity to get to know the musicians in a more relaxed and intimate environment. And, most of all, we will be able to further strengthen the bonds that already tie us together so wonderfully.”

—Alasdair Neale, Music Director

The season is transforming out of an abundance of caution with regard to in-person gatherings, not only in the seating areas of the Pavilion and other performance venues, but also in the homes of housing hosts, in classrooms of students and faculty, in areas used for various Festival dinners and receptions, as well as in spaces used by the musicians, volunteers, and crew including the Pavilion stage, backstage, and rehearsal areas.

This shift does not rule out the possibility of in-person attendance if health guidelines permit. While the Pavilion interior and seating will not be used, the Big Screen and sound system on the lawn may be activated, in addition to the online broadcasts, allowing audiences to gather outside to enjoy each concert. The Festival is exploring many options and protocols to ensure the safety of guests who may wish to enjoy concerts from the lawn, including reserved seating with limited capacity, carefully managed entry and exit, an additional screen, and physical distancing and other safety measures. Conditions in the Wood River Valley will be monitored closely, and attendance on the lawn could be closed at any point to prioritize safety. No matter what, online broadcasts will be available.

All guest artists and orchestra members remain slated to perform. Local favorites Time for Three and pianists Orion Weiss and Daniil Trifonov will all create special performances, and Leila Josefowicz and the Villalobos Brothers will also make appearances. Programs will include chamber music and full orchestra works, along with storytelling and conversation, all designed to bring the community together around music. A series of concerts and lectures celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth remains, with a few repertoire adjustments. Many of the large orchestral programs scheduled this summer will be moved to the 2021 season.

Notable among the changes, the Gala fundraising concert will remain as scheduled, but will be broadcast online and offered for free to everyone as a thank you to the community. Guest artists Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Kelli O’Hara will create a special, once-in-a-lifetime concert, featuring a tribute to Earl Holding and Family, to be broadcast from the East Coast on August 3. Tickets already purchased for the concert will be refunded, with no action required by purchasers.

“For many years, the annual Gala Concert has been the only event for which the Sun Valley Music Festival charges admission. This year, as a gift back to the community, the Festival is pleased to offer the concert for free to everyone. The guest artists are truly excited to put together a unique program for Sun Valley audiences, including the tribute to Earl Holding and Family. It’s going to be a very special evening.”

—Derek Dean, Executive Director

All concerts will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time on the Festival website. And all performance broadcasts are live, not available on demand or for download, so please be sure to attend on the scheduled dates. An announcement later in June will outline the exact repertoire and concert format, as well as protocols and health guidelines for attending concerts should the lawn at the Pavilion be available.

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

Video caption: Music Director Alasdair Neale announces a reimagined Sun Valley Music Festival Summer Season this year, which remains scheduled as planned (July 27-Aug. 19) but will be broadcast online so all can attend.