2020 Summer Season

All 2020 summer concerts are broadcast live on the Festival website. Viewing in-person from the Pavilion Lawn may be available, health guidelines permitting. Visit the Festival website for up-to-date information on attending concerts online or in person at the Lawn.
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July 2020

Opening Concert

Monday, July 27, 2020, 6:30 PM

Music Director Alasdair Neale opens the season with a surprise twist. Assistant Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and guest artist Orion Weiss follow with Massenet’s famous Meditation from his opera Thaïs. Once a humble tune to cover a scene change, it has become one of classical music’s most captivating episodes. Also on the menu, noted gourmet and virtuoso William VerMeulen leads a quartet of horn players in excerpts from Bizet’s endlessly tuneful Carmen. And finally, the orchestra will raise the roof with the triumphant finale of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

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French Elegance, German Passion

Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 6:30 PM
Orion Weiss

Milana Elise Reiche and Rebecca Corruccini play Jean-Marie Leclair’s elegant Sonata in E Minor for Two Violins. A leading musical light in mid-18th-century Paris, Lecair’s fame today rests on virtuoso works for his own instrument: the violin. Beethoven’s music inhabits the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, and nowhere is his temperament more apparent than in the turbulent “Appassionata” piano sonata. Acclaimed American pianist Orion Weiss explores Beethoven’s dark night of the soul.

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From Bach to Bernstein and Beyond

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 6:30 PM
Leila Josefowicz

A quintet of the orchestra’s acclaimed brass players kicks off a musical journey with music of the Renaissance. Then, Amos Yang delves into the baroque with the last of Johann Sebastian Bach’s iconic Cello Suites. Heading into the 1950s, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story gets the brass treatment, while celebrated violinist Leila Josefowicz brings you into the 21st century with an excerpt from Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen Verlernt (Laughing Unlearnt), a modern work in the form of a chaconne that neatly lends a nod back to Bach.

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Beethoven’s Archduke

Friday, July 31, 2020, 6:30 PM

Festival mainstays Kristin Ahlstrom, Bjorn Ranheim, and Peter Henderson will be your guides through Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat Major. Better known as the “Archduke,” its dedicatee was Archduke Rudolph of Austria, a musical dilettante and gifted amateur pianist. Full of originality, the 45-minute work was Beethoven’s final full-scale piano trio and ranges from joy to sadness with outbursts of bluff good humor. The work’s first performances with the increasingly deaf composer, accompanied by Ignaz Schuppanzigh on violin and Josef Linke on cello, would mark Beethoven’s last public appearance as a pianist.

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August 2020

Gala Concert: Broadway’s Brightest Stars…

Monday, August 3, 2020, 6:30 PM
Kelli O'Hara, Audra McDonald, and Brian Stokes Mitchell

Award-winning artists Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian Stokes Mitchell present a special, once-in-a-lifetime performance for the 2020 Gala. In a typical year, tickets sold for the annual fundraising concert help keep the rest of the year’s performances free. But this summer’s Gala will be different. Now, these musical superstars will craft a unique program, for you, broadcast live from the East Coast. It will be presented admission-free for all as a thank-you from the Music Festival to the community.

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Strings and Mallets

Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 6:30 PM
Underside of a Marimba

Sit back and enjoy a quartet of cellists led by Amos Yang playing cleverly arranged versions of Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro; Handel’s “Ombra mai fu,” the famous aria from Xerxes sung in appreciation of a plane tree; and even a hit song by the Beatles. Keeping things contemporary, Si-Yan Darren Li and Marc Damoulakis play Osvaldo Golijov’s haunting Mariel for Cello and Marimba before a quartet of percussionists round things off with Steve Reich’s hypnotic Mallet Quartet for Marimbas and Vibraphones.

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Beethoven and Bates

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 6:30 PM
Mason Bates

Violinist Juliana Athayde and pianist Orion Weiss perform Beethoven’s effervescent “Spring” Sonata. Published in 1801, the work finds the composer in game-changing mode as he anticipates the Romantic-era gestures of Mendelssohn and Schumann. From the innocence of the opening Allegro to the joyous Rondo Finale, you can almost smell the Austrian countryside. In Mothership—a dancing scherzo where improvising soloists “dock” with the orchestral mothership—Music Director Alasdair Neale and the full orchestra will demonstrate why Mason Bates is one of America’s most popular and performed contemporary composers.

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Family Concert: Inspiring Duos

Saturday, August 8, 2020, 6:30 PM
Child playing violin

Enjoy some positive family dynamics in this survey of Festival orchestra musicians and their talented offspring. From their homes to yours, members of the orchestra team up with their kids to perform selections of their choosing. Like most family gatherings, expect some cute moments and perhaps some surprises—one musician’s son has already soloed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony!

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Daniil Trifonov: Musical Pictures

Sunday, August 9, 2020, 6:30 PM
Daniil Trifonov

Grammy Award-winning pianist and 2019 Musical America Artist of the Year, Russian-born Daniil Trifonov brings his vibrant musical talent to bear on a pair of colorful masterpieces. First up is Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 18, known as “The Hunt,” thanks to a buoyant horn-call motif in the finale. In it, you’ll notice playful high spirits are to the fore, yet there’s room for tenderness, too. Then, nothing conjures images quite like Pictures at an Exhibition. A gallery guide in musical form, the half-hour work—originally written for and played tonight by solo piano—paints a series of vivid musical canvases connected by Mussorgsky’s famous “Promenade” theme.

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Color and Light

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 6:30 PM

A musical smorgasbord opens with harpist Julia Coronelli playing Debussy’s shimmering “Arabesque No. 1” (you’ll recognize it) followed by Schumann’s dreamy “Romance” for Oboe and Piano played by Erik Behr and guest artist Orion Weiss. Clarinetist Jason Shafer finesses Gershwin’s jazz-inflected Three Preludes before Polina Sedukh performs a 21st-century masterwork: Missy Mazzoli’s evocative Vespers for amplified violin and electronic soundtrack. Concluding the concert in martial style, Music Director Alasdair Neale conducts the orchestra in the colorful third movement from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pathétique.”

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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