Sun Valley Music Festival Presents a New Upbeat with Alasdair, In Person and Online

Music Director Alasdair Neale will provide an insider’s perspective on the role a conductor plays in leading the orchestra, this January 5, in the return of his popular speaking series at the Community Library.

People have been using batons to “conduct” since the end of the 7th century, and the practice has become increasingly prevalent since. But why? As modern instruments developed, resulting in larger ensembles, helping musicians play together became more difficult. Conductors do that, but much more. They also shape phrases and interpret the composer’s intent. Find out how it all works, when Music Director Alasdair Neale hosts the next installment of his popular Upbeat with Alasdair speaking series, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), in person at the Community Library and livestreamed on the Festival’s website and YouTube channel.

The Upbeat with Alasdair series provides a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on music and upcoming Festival performances. It also offers the community a chance to get to know more about Alasdair Neale, the Festival Orchestra, and guest artists, and includes the opportunity to ask Maestro Neale questions. Recent presentations have examined themes such as how classical music illustrates the human condition, complete with musical and visual examples, and previews of major works such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.

Music Director Alasdair Neale said:

“Everyone has a pretty good idea of the basics of what a conductor does, but I thought it would be fun to go under the hood and take a closer look at all the nuts and bolts. I hope you’ll join me!”

Viewers can enjoy the talk in person at the Community Library lecture hall (415 Spruce Ave, Ketchum) or broadcast live on the Festival website ( and YouTube channel ( Doors open at 6:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).

Reservations are required to attend in person and begin Friday, Dec. 17, at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) on the Festival’s website, or you may contact the Festival office at [email protected] or 208-622-5607. Reserve your seats early, as space is currently limited to 100 people in the Library’s lecture hall. Reservations are accepted in the order they are received; reservations made online are received faster. Once reservations are full, you can join the wait list by contacting the Festival office. Capacity is unlimited for the online broadcast and reservations are not required to watch online. Only in-person attendees will be able to participate in the Q&A session that will take place towards the end of the presentation.

The Festival is committed to bringing programming to the community safely. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is currently required by the Community Library to attend this event in the John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall (a physical vaccination card or a photo of your vaccine card are both acceptable). A recent negative test cannot be accepted as a substitute. Masks are required at all times inside the Library. Guests without proof of vaccination will be seated in a location within the Library, outside the lecture hall, where they can watch the online broadcast.

For the latest news and information on the Sun Valley Music Festival, including upcoming Winter and Summer concert updates, visit the Festival website at or sign up for e-news at