2019 Summer Concert Series

Extraordinary, admission-free performances, a spectacular setting—and truly something for everyone: July 29-August 22
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July 2019

Mozart and Bach Violin Masterpieces

Monday, July 29, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Ray Chen and Juliana Athayde

Virtuoso violinist Ray Chen won the Yehudi Menuhin and Queen Elizabeth competitions (the only violinist to win both), wears Armani (his sponsor), and made Forbes’s 2018 list of the 30 most influential Asians under 30. The summer’s opening night includes Chen soloing in Mozart’s delightful and inventive 5th Violin Concerto, and joining Festival Assistant Concertmaster Juliana Athayde to weave together a beautiful stream of independent and overlapping melodies in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.

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The 20th Century Chamber Orchestra

Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair conducting the Festival Orchestra

Three 20th century composers riff on the styles exemplified by Bach and Mozart in the opening program. Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” evokes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, while Prokofiev channeled Mozart and Haydn in structuring his lovely “Classical Symphony.” Ravel orchestrated his suite for small orchestra titled Le Tombeau de Couperin in a baroque style, delivering a surprisingly light-hearted memorial for friends lost in World War I.

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August 2019

Thibaudet and Capuçon in Recital

Thursday, August 1, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Cellist Gautier Capucon and Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Virtuosic French artists present a stunning recital (without orchestra). Pianist and Sun Valley favorite Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns with one of the world’s leading cellists, Gautier Capuçon, for a week-long residency. Their program continues the thread of works inspired by earlier composers with Brahms’s Cello Sonata No. 1, which pays homage to Bach’s The Art of the Fugue, and Shostakovich’s Sonata in D Minor, a beautiful piece written in 1934 but structured in classical form.

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An Evening with Richard Strauss

Friday, August 2, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair Neale and French Horn Soloist Bill VerMeulen

Alasdair Neale and Principal Horn William VerMeulen both celebrate 25 years with the Festival this season, and this program pairs them up on Strauss’s fiendishly difficult Horn Concerto. Strauss wrote it for his father, who was Germany’s leading horn virtuoso. However, upon seeing the score, Strauss senior pragmatically decided to cede the glory to another player. Providing comic relief to the program, Strauss’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme offers a humorous satire on social climbing.

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Thibaudet Plays Gershwin

Sunday, August 4, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Jean-Yves Thibaudet brings to life George Gershwin’s follow-on to Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin packs this concerto full of jazz, blues, Charleston dance rhythms, and ragtime. Bernstein’s glittering Candide Overture opens the program, and Respighi brings it home with the thundering closing of Pines of Rome. If the ground doesn’t tremble under the marching of Rome’s triumphant legions, we’re not doing it right!

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A French Evening with Gautier Capuçon

Monday, August 5, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Cellist Gautier Capucon

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…

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Beethoven’s 7th

Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair Neale conducting the Festival Orchestra

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.

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Beethoven and Shostakovich Quartets

Thursday, August 8, 2019, 6:30 PM
Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, 100 Saddle Rd.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
String Quartet

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.

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Family Concert: Kids’ Choice—5 Minutes That Made Me Love Classical Music

Saturday, August 10, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
A child playing a cello

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.

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Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 6:30 PM
Sun Valley Pavilion, 300 Dollar Rd
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 United States
Alasdair conducting the orchestra

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.

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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