2020 Summer Season (now moving online)

Concert dates, times and guest artists scheduled July 27-Aug. 19 remain planned but broadcast live on the Festival website. New repertoire to be announced late June. Lawn attendance with physical distancing possible, conditions permitting. Click here for full press release
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July 2020

Beethoven @ 250: “Emperor” Concerto

Monday, July 27, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Orion Weiss

One of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, pianist Orion Weiss tackles one of the greatest concertos ever written. Filled with joy, beauty, and heartbreaking tenderness, this is not the stomping and thrashing-about of Beethoven’s caricature. From the opening movement’s rising “fountains” of piano to the ever-so-soft transition from second to final movement, the romance of this piece distinguishes it from classical predecessors. The program opens with the Prometheus Overture, a delightful piece which ushered in Beethoven’s most prolific period.

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Beethoven @ 250: Chamber Music @ the Library

Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 10:30 AM
The Community Library, John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall, 415 Spruce Avenue
Ketchum, ID 83340 United States
Beethoven @ 250

Festival Orchestra musicians, cellist Amos Yang and pianist Peter Henderson perform Beethoven sonatas at an informal mid-morning concert at The Community Library as part of the Festival’s Beethoven @ 250 celebration.

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Beethoven @ 250: Symphony No. 2 and Violin Romances

Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Beethoven @ 250

In his second symphony, Beethoven begins opening up the tightly bound symphonic form he inherited from Haydn and Mozart. He begins with a languid, 33-measure introduction, creates lyrical and funny passages, inserts the first scherzo ever to appear in a symphony, and writes two of the longest codas yet heard in the first and fourth movements. It’s a light-hearted and easy-going work. Beethoven’s two violin romances open the program, charming pieces that helped establish his bona fides as an orchestral composer.

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Beethoven @ 250: Chamber Music and Lecture @ the Library

Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 10:30 AM
The Community Library, John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall, 415 Spruce Avenue
Ketchum, ID 83340 United States
Beethoven @ 250

Noted Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford presents a short talk followed by a Beethoven cello sonata performance with Festival Orchestra musicians, cellist Amos Yang and pianist Peter Henderson at an informal mid-morning concert at The Community Library as part of the Festival’s Beethoven @ 250 celebration.

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Beethoven @ 250: Chamber Music @ the Library

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 10:30 AM
The Community Library, John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall, 415 Spruce Avenue
Ketchum, ID 83340 United States
Beethoven @ 250

Festival Orchestra pianist Peter Henderson performs Beethoven sonatas at an informal mid-morning concert at The Community Library as part of the Festival’s Beethoven @ 250 celebration.

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Beethoven @ 250: Orion Weiss in Recital

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Orion Weiss

This program opens with one of Beethoven’s first published works, his spirited piano trio in G major. A sign of the 24-year old composer’s ambition, it’s one of the first trios ever written with four movements. After that, the mood darkens as Weiss tackles Beethoven’s turbulent and tragic Appassionata. Legend has it Beethoven conceived the raging finale while howling into the wind on a rainy walk through the countryside, returning quickly to his studio to compose the most powerful music written for solo piano up until that point.

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Beethoven @ 250: Lecture @ the Library

Friday, July 31, 2020, 10:30 AM
The Community Library, John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall, 415 Spruce Avenue
Ketchum, ID 83340 United States
Jan Swafford

Noted Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford presents a talk about the monumental Eroica Symphony at an informal mid-morning lecture at The Community Library as part of the Festival’s Beethoven @ 250 celebration.

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Beethoven @ 250: “Eroica”

Friday, July 31, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Beethoven @ 250

Beethoven’s “Heroic” symphony rewrote the rules for the genre. It was more massive, ambitious, and innovative than any music that came before. In many ways, it represents the turning point from classical to romantic music. It’s more emotional—more heroism, despair, mourning, and triumph than audiences had ever heard—with the emotions driving the music through Beethoven’s innovative use of rhythm as an equal partner to melody. Reflecting on Eroica, Leonard Bernstein marveled at “the mysterious genius of a man who is capable of uniting all contradictions into one single, perfect entity.”

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August 2020

Trifonov Plays Brahms

Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Daniil Trifonov

Hailed by The Times as “the most astounding pianist of our age,” Daniil Trifinov was Music America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, spent the 2018-19 season as Artist-in-Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic, and joins the New York Philharmonic in that role this season. Breaking from his crazy schedule, he’ll debut in Sun Valley, performing one of the most-loved concertos ever written, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Brahms started this “burst of pure, utter, natural genius” when he was 20 and completed it at the ripe old age of 25.

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Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair Neale Conducting

This program opens with the beautiful blue cathedral, which Grammy award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon wrote in memory of her younger brother, incorporating references to their life together. Similarly, Rachmaninoff’s last major composition, the Symphonic Dances, is considered a summation of his life as a composer. In it, he samples parts of his own First Symphony, a melody from the Dies irae (Day of Wrath) from the requiem mass, and his All Night Vigil. Rachmaninoff seems to be summing things up: on the final page of the score, he wrote “I thank Thee, Lord.”

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“It’s where we all gather: it’s the center of town life

With picnic basket, folding chairs, blanket, and our two kids in tow, we find ‘our spot’ on the lawn and settle in for what we know will be a wonderful evening of music, fine dining, and chatting with friends old and new. As the glorious music wafts over us and the mountains start to change color in the background, we enjoy a wonderful family night out. And it’s free!"

—Sun Valley Resident and Lawn Super-Fan

Sun Valley Summer Symphony attendee

“Everything comes together here to create truly moving musical experiences—whether you're a devoted classical music fan, or just out for a great evening.

The elevation, mountains, trees, endless sky—combined with the most welcoming of communities—inspires me and all our musicians to bring the ideas and passions of composers from across the centuries to life."

—Alasdair Neale, Music Director

Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrates its 35th season and Music Director Alasdair Neale outside in front of mountain