2020 Summer Season
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Music Director Alasdair Neale serves up a French sandwich with a hearty slab of Saint-Saëns nestled between slices of Ravel. First, we hear Neale’s orchestration of Ravel’s lovely and cheerful Minuet from his Sonatine for Piano. Then Capuçon, “the prototype of the romantic musician” (Washington Post), tackles Saint-Saëns’s brilliant Cello Concerto. Finally, we hear Ravel’s choreographic poem La Valse, which starts out cheerful like the Sonatine, but then turns malevolent, corrupting its graceful themes. Take that, lovely little minuet…Find out more »
Richard Wagner tells you what you need to know about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7: “All tumult, all yearning and storming of the heart, become here the blissful insolence of joy, which carries us away with bacchanalian power through the roomy space of nature, through all the streams and seas of life, shouting in glad self-consciousness as we sound throughout the universe the daring strains of this human sphere-dance.” The Egmont Overture foreshadows the evening’s theme of triumph over oppression.Find out more »
The Edgar M. Bronfman String Quartet concludes its exploration of Beethoven’s late quartets with his Grosse Fuge, a monumental piece that began as the final movement of an earlier quartet but was so imposing that his publisher convinced him to publish it alone. It’s paired with Shostakovich’s 14th Quartet, wherein Shostakovich gave the lead role to the cello.Find out more »
Inspired by a popular New York Times article, “5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Classical Music,” Festival musicians, their children, and Music Institute students were asked for ideas on what pieces made them fall in love with classical music. Their answers created this program.Find out more »
In 2014, the BBC Proms commissioned Anna Clyne to write an “exuberant” piece. She delivered Masquerade, which makes a perfect prequel for Prokofiev, who said he wanted his 5th Symphony to “sing the praises of the free and happy man—his strength, his generosity and the purity of his soul.” His optimistic symphony cheered its Russian audience at its premiere in 1944, and is one of the great orchestral works of the 20th century.Find out more »
Mason Bates, Musical America’s 2018 Composer of the Year, returns for a week-long residency. In Liquid Interface, he uses the orchestra, recorded sounds, and electronics to evoke the soothing and menacing aspects of water in its various forms. Concertmaster Jeremy Constant and Principal Violist Adam Smyla open the program with Mozart’s Concerto for Viola and Violin. Mozart loved the viola as much as the violin, and this work showcases the range of the two instruments.Find out more »
Former Sun Valley Music Festival Assistant Conductor Teddy Abrams returns to lead an all-Gershwin program. Singer, songwriter, actress, Broadway, and YouTube star Morgan James sings your favorite Gershwin songs, while Abrams himself takes to the keyboard for Rhapsody in Blue.Find out more »
Mason Bates brings back Devil’s Radio, an orchestral piece commissioned by the Sun Valley Music Festival for its 30th Anniversary in 2014. This year also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with Passage, a piece Bates wrote for mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke that incorporates excerpts from John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot” speech. Finally, fly beyond the moon to Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in Holst’s character study of the solar system, The Planets.Find out more »
Musicians of the Sun Valley Music Festival curate and perform a program of pieces they love.Find out more »
Life, death, and rebirth. Mahler’s modest ambition to express the totality of the human condition journeys through love, hope, nostalgia, humor, despair, a face-melting shriek of death, and finally a glorious resurrection. Does it succeed? Alasdair Neale recalls his first hearing at age 13: “It rocked my world – I had never imagined music could have that level of visceral, emotional impact.”Find out more »
“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!"
Pre-Concert Chats (on hiatus, will return in 2021)
Located on the lawn next to the Paver Bar, these 30-minute chats offer insightful, entertaining introductions to the concerts 45 minutes before every performance at the Pavilion, except the Gala. Join in person or stream on your phone from the Festival website.
For more information, visit watch and listen
Kids’ Music Tent (on hiatus, will return in 2021)
Held in the canopy at the back of the Pavilion lawn during summer performances, children ages 4-8 can explore music with local music educator Lisa Pettit through hands-on projects and activities for FREE while you attend the concerts. It’s free—of course—but reservations are required.
For more information, visit attending a concert
Festival Store (open in 2020, with health precautions)
The Festival Store is open every concert day during the Summer Concert Series from 1:00 PM through 1/2 hour after the performance. It is closed during the concert. The Store is your source for information, Festival swag and CDs, picnic supplies, and lost and found.
For more information, visit Festival Store
“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."