2020 Summer Season

Extraordinary, admission-free performances, a spectacular setting—and truly something for everyone: July 27-August 19
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August 2020

Family Concert: The American West

Saturday, August 8, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Sun Valley Pavilion

Join Associate Conductor Sameer Patel and the Festival Orchestra for an evening of music inspired by the old west. The program will include music from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, and classic western films. Saddle up, don your cowboy hat and celebrate the western frontier, its great landscapes and traditions, and the music that's been inspired by our history and surroundings, from the big screen to the concert stage.

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Russian Masters

Sunday, August 9, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Leila Josefowicz

Violinist Leila Josefowicz is a passionate advocate of contemporary music, with several living composers having written concertos for her. In this concert, she plays Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D, a rhythmic, pulsing piece with Baroque overtones. Stravinsky basically invented his own format for this concerto, creating two “arias” in the middle to showcase gorgeous violin-playing, including a rare (for Stravinsky) bit of reflective melancholy in the second. Stravinsky’s charmingly playful Scherzo à la Russe opens the program, while Tchaikovsky’s timeless Romeo and Juliet closes it.

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Beethoven @ 250: The “Archduke” Trio

Monday, August 10, 2020, 6:30 PM
Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, 100 Saddle Rd.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
Beethoven @ 250

The last full-scale piano trio that Beethoven wrote is a masterpiece. At nearly 45-minutes long, it’s practically a symphony for the violin, cello, and piano. The mood is genial, and the third movement features an absolutely delightful theme and five variations. Beethoven allows the three instruments to share melody and accompaniment equally, weaving them together in moods ranging from joy to sorrow but always with a beautiful light shining through.

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Memories of Mendelssohn and Mazzoli

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
French horn

Thirteen years after walking through Scotland with a friend, Felix Mendelssohn completed his “Scottish” symphony inspired by sights, sounds, and moods from his visit. Don’t expect bagpipes, though—“No national music for me!” Rather, he wrote of his inspiration: “It is in pictures, ruins, and natural surroundings that I find the most music.” If you wonder how Mendelssohn held onto those memories, look no further than this concert’s opening piece, Missy Mazzoli’s These Worlds in Us. Of the title, she writes: “we accumulate worlds of intense memory within us.”

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Mozart and La Mer

Friday, August 14, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Inside a bass clarinet

Mozart completed his clarinet concerto in 1791, just months before he died. It’s equally full of grace and gravity, with the clarinet providing unusually dark undertones, a sense of sadness hiding behind beauty. As for Debussy’s La Mer, some scholars call it “the greatest example of an orchestra impressionist work.” Debussy himself said that anyone applying the term impressionism to music was “an imbecile.” Either way, it expresses Debussy’s memory of his “old friend the sea, always innumerable and beautiful.”

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American Music with Time for Three and Aaron Copland

Saturday, August 15, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Time for Three

Following the annual Armed Forces Medley, Sun Valley favorites Time for Three return to the Pavilion stage for the first time since August 2017. The Festival has co-commissioned a concerto for them by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. Puts wrote “Hymn to the Sun,” the very first music ever played in the Pavilion. This concert also features another American composer, Aaron Copland, and his ballet suite Billy the Kid, which tells the tale of the famous outlaw.

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Pops: the Villalobos Brothers

Sunday, August 16, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Villalobos Brothers

The Villalobos Brothers join the Festival Orchestra for an evening of
Latin-inspired music. One of today’s leading Contemporary Mexican ensembles, this group of singers, songwriters, and composers (comprised of three violinists and a guitarist) have performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations. Their rich compositions honor Mexican folk music, fusing it with intricate harmonies of jazz and classical stylings. Following the concert, they’ll move to the lawn to lay down some backtracks and lead a dance party to Afro-Colombian beats.

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Lawn Party – ¡Fiesta de baile!

Sunday, August 16, 2020, 7:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Villalobos Brothers performing

Dance the night away with one of today’s leading Contemporary Mexican ensembles—the Pavilion lawn becomes a "fiesta de baile" with the Villalobos Brothers.

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Festival Brass

Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Bell of a French Horn

Join the Festival’s acclaimed brass sections (horns, trumpets, trombones, and tuba) for an evening of spectacular music featuring arrangements of well-known pieces and perhaps an original composition. Following the popular success of the “Hornucopia” and “Brasstacular” concerts in recent years, the musicians decided to join forces across all brass instruments to put together this special program. The concert will be held in the Pavilion, in order to accommodate the expected crowd.

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Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair Neale conducting

The season closes with Hector Berlioz’s masterpiece written around a set of autobiographical episodes. In his words, “I conceive an artist, gifted with a lively imagination, who sees for the first time a woman who realizes the ideal of beauty and fascination that his heart has so long invoked, and falls madly in love with her.” It doesn’t go well. It didn’t in real life either. But the world got the Symphonie Fantastique, the most remarkable first symphony ever written by anyone (well, until maybe Mahler).

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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