Extraordinary Free Classical Music Concerts
The hills are alive with the sound of music! Classical music that is! Truly! From late July until mid to late-August, the Sun Valley Music Festival (formerly Sun Valley Summer Symphony) dominates the nightlife in the Wood River Valley! These spectacular classical music performances mesmerize both locals and visitors attending. Under the direction of Maestro Alasdair Neale, the orchestra finds its home at the Sun Valley Pavillion where design has been inspired by its natural setting among towering pines, majestic mountains, and Baldy views. Imagine sitting under a bright blue Idaho sky as the classical music floats through the air. Do you have goosebumps yet? You should! We are so incredibly lucky! And, we love this time of year!
Widely known as the largest, privately funded, free-admission symphony in the US, the SVMF is one of the high points of any Sun Valley summer vacation. There are many ways to enjoy the vibe, the music, and the kick-back, Ketchum casual lifestyle that has drawn all of us to Idaho.
Here is what we know about a attending the Sun Valley Music Festival….
Want to spread a blanket, bring some chairs, and have a picnic on the Sun Valley lawn? You can. Want to sit inside the Sun Valley Pavillion and enjoy a cocktail at one of its 2 bars? Make certain you arrive early. Need a program? One of the volunteer ushers can help. Want to purchase branded SVMF gear? The Music Festival Store is open before each performance. How about dinner in town after the concert? This can be a great plan and it’s best to make a reservation. Want to introduce young ones to the magic of classical? Consider a spot on the lawn just in case your little Bach needs to stretch or dance. Even though there is plenty of parking, some folks take the bus, walk, or ride bikes. But, wait! What if you can’t make the SVMF’s 6:30 pm start? No worries! Well-informed locals will encourage you to access a sneak peek of the performance by attending the orchestra’s practice during the day. Shhhhhh! Let that be our secret.
What about a look at how it all began….
In 1985, the SVMF was made up of 22 musicians performing the music of Mozart, Wagner, Brahms, Bernstein, and other musical greats in a tent on the lawn in Sun Valley. Old-time locals will remember it well and are in awe of how far the Music Festival has come. Today, the SVMF includes the musical genius of over 114 musicians and renowned featured artists from around the world. Ready for the WOW FACTOR? The SVMF performs to over 50,000 people annually. This is a long way from the old days!
The symphony’s mission has been to “perform exceptional, free-admission classical music concerts that inspire and enrich lives through dynamic, engaging artistic programming and to provide music education programs for youth and adults.” This is precisely what they do! There are internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles. There are educational programs for students of all ages. There is the School of Music and the Summer Music Institute. There is the In-Focus Series offered during the season, while Upbeat with Alasdair is offered year-round. There are Lawn Chats with a featured artist before each concert. There is the annual SVMF Gala celebration featuring appearances by exceptional world-renowned artists such as Chris Botti or Allyson Kraus.
The is no question the Music Festival is extraordinary and fun for all! It is engaging, social, and creative. It encourages a passion for music in the natural world. Take note – pun intended – make this Gem state treasure a part of your Sun Valley vacation! Our hills, valleys, and mountains are indeed alive with the sound of music. For more information, a concert schedule and related details, visit the symphony online: www.svmusicfestival.org