Nation’s largest admission-free, privately supported festival of classical music presents 36th Summer Season as virtual festival from July 27 to August 19 via
Sun Valley Music Festival web site (
Presented as free, one-time-only webcasts developed by Music Director
Alasdair Neale in collaboration with Creative Director James Darrah, new programming reimagines the Summer Season while preserving
many previously announced elements including:
  • Performances by guest artists Leila Josefowicz, Daniil Trifonov, Orion Weiss, and ensembles Time for Three and Villalobos Brothers; newly announced guest artists include composer / performer Mason Bates and genre-defying ensemble The 442s
  • Series celebrating 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, including guest appearances by Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford
  • Events ranging from solo recitals to chamber concerts to full orchestral performances—recorded in cities across North America
Left to right: Sun Valley Music Festival Music Director Alasdair Neale; violinist Leila Josefowicz;
pianist Daniil Trifonov; pianist Orion Weiss; composer / performer Mason Bates
SUN VALLEY, IDAHO (July 1, 2020) — Festival Music Director Alasdair Neale and Executive Director Derek Dean today announced the schedule of online events for the recently announced, virtual reimagining of the 36th annual Sun Valley Music Festival Summer Season. These premiere webcasts, produced by this summer’s Creative Director James Darrah, are being specially created for these digital proceedings and will air online as free, one-time-only events over the three weeks when the live, in-person Festival had been scheduled to take place—Monday, July 27, to Wednesday, August 19. All concerts will be webcast at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time via the Sun Valley Music Festival web site (
Local and federal regulations permitting, these digital events will also be projected for viewers on the Lawn of the Sun Valley Pavilion, allowing audiences in Sun Valley to enjoy each concert outdoors with appropriate social distancing. For more information on viewing from the Lawn, visit
Music Director Alasdair Neale said:
“This Summer Season is designed, first and foremast, as a big virtual bear hug to the community, which has supported us for over 35 years. We want to give back to everyone who has invited us into their homes by inviting them into our homes and our lives. We also see this as a unique opportunity to share the Festival experience with viewers around the world. Our mission is to enrich, inspire, and instill in our community a lifelong love of classical music through extraordinary, free concerts and education programs, and this year, that mission goes online!”
Since 1985, the Festival has brought together world-class musicians from distinguished orchestras across North America to perform three weeks of chamber and orchestral concerts free to the public each summer in the scenic, Rocky Mountain resort city of Sun Valley, Idaho. The transformation of the upcoming Summer Season into a free, online festival will allow musicians to make music, faculty to teach, students to learn, and audiences to enjoy music from anywhere, all while following local and national safety guidelines and practices.
The Festival is working with more than 100 sound and video professionals nationwide to record this summer’s 14 concert programs, which will feature a varied repertoire—from solo compositions by Debussy and Missy Mazzoli, to chamber works by Brahms and Osvaldo Golijov, to orchestral music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mason Bates. Key elements of the original Summer Season lineup will be preserved, including event dates and times, which are identical to those previously announced as main-stage, evening concerts at the Sun Valley Pavilion. These concerts will feature all previously announced guest artists, with violinist Leila Josefowicz performing music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, pianist Daniil Trifonov giving a solo recital of Beethoven and Mussorgsky, pianist Orion Weiss appearing on several programs as both a solo and chamber artist, and ensembles Time for Three and the Villalobos Brothers performing in the Festival’s Pops Concert. Newly announced guest artists include the genre-defying acoustic quartet The 442s, which also performs on the Pops Concert, and composer Mason Bates, who performs the electronics part in his orchestral work Mothership.
A recurring theme throughout the summer will be the music of Beethoven, in keeping with the planned Beethoven @ 250 celebration. Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford, who had been scheduled as a guest speaker at the Festival, will now provide musical commentary to online audiences. The Festival’s annual Gala concert—featuring Broadway stars Audra McDonaldKelli O’Hara, and Brian Stokes Mitchell—will also take place virtually. For years, this has been the only event for which the Festival charges admission, but this summer, as a gift back to the community, the Festival presents the concert free of charge on Monday, August 3.
To create the 2020 Summer Season, the Festival is recording Orchestra members and guest artists at halls, schools, and homes in cities across North America, including Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Rochester, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto. Programs will include single-location, socially distanced performances; multi-location, video-synced performances; and performances that include elements of both, as in the case of orchestral works, which will feature musicians conducted in person by Alasdair Neale as well as orchestra members performing their parts remotely. Programs will also feature commentary from Mr. Neale, as well as his conversations with guest artists and Orchestra musicians.
For a complete schedule of online events, see below.
About the Sun Valley Music Festival
The Sun Valley Music Festival was founded by Carl and Julianne Eberl in 1985 on a mission to inspire the Sun Valley, Idaho community and instill a lifelong love of classical music through admission-free concerts and tuition-free educational programming. The Festival Orchestra has grown from 20 members at its founding, to now more than 100 musicians from North America’s most distinguished ensembles, making it the largest, privately funded orchestra devoted exclusively to free performances.
Orchestra members hail from more than 45 different ensembles and institutions, including the Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto Symphonies; the Cleveland, Louisville, and Minnesota Orchestras; and the Chicago Lyric, Dallas, Houston Grand, and Washington National Opera Orchestras; among many other ensembles.
The Festival presents its three-week Summer Season every July and August and has hosted a variety of internationally renowned guest artists, including Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Gautier Capuçon, Midori, Frederica von Stade, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Since 2008, the Festival’s summer performances have taken place at the R.E. Holding Sun Valley Pavilion. Each February, the Festival also presents a Winter Season at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum, Idaho.
Through the Sun Valley Music Institute, the Festival strives to introduce every Wood River Valley student to the joys of classical music, to inspire the next generation of music lovers. Its year-round and summer programs provide tuition-free instruction for string, piano, and voice students of all skill levels—from elementary through high school—that goes beyond the fundamentals and embraces the entire musician.
For more information, visit
About Music Director Alasdair Neale
Alasdair Neale is now in his 26th year as Music Director of the Sun Valley Music Festival. Through his artistry, vision, and commitment to the Sun Valley community, he has taken the Festival to new artistic heights and brought in such acclaimed guest artists as Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Yuja Wang, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Mr. Neale has also served as the Music Director of the Marin Symphony since 2001, and is the 11th Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, beginning with the 2019–20 season. He has guest-conducted numerous orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic; the Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Sydney, and Toronto Symphonies; the Royal Scottish National and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras; and the Orchestre Métropolitain, among many others. In March 2002, he collaborated with director Peter Sellars and composer John Adams to open the Adelaide Festival with a production of the oratorio El Niño.
Mr. Neale holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a Master’s from Yale University, where his principal teacher was Otto-Werner Mueller. He lives in San Francisco.
For more information, visit
# # #
Monday, July 27 – Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Webcast via Sun Valley Music Festival web site (*
Projected for viewers on the Lawn of the R.E. Holding Sun Valley Pavilion
(300 Dollar Road — Sun Valley, Idaho  83353)**
Alasdair Neale, Music Director
Sameer Patel, Associate Conductor
Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra
2020 Lead Production Team:
James Darrah, Creative Director
Adam Larsen, Director
Alex Nichols, Director
Brian Staufenbiel, Director
*One-time-only webcasts
**Local and federal regulations permitting; learn more at
Monday, July 27, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT 
MASSENET: Meditation from Thaïs
Juliana Athayde, Violin — Concertmaster, Rochester Philharmonic
     Orion Weiss, Piano
     (recorded in Rochester)
BIZET: Suite from Carmen
Jesse Clevenger, Horn — Houston Symphony
Ian Mayton, Horn — Houston Symphony
Brian Thomas, Horn — Houston Symphony
William VerMeulen, Horn — Principal Horn, Houston Symphony
     (recorded in Houston)
BEETHOVEN: IV. Allegro (Finale) from Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
     Festival Orchestra — Alasdair Neale, Conductor
     (recorded in San Francisco Conservatory and locations across North America)
Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
 LECLAIR: Sonata in E minor, Op. 3, No. 5
Rebecca Corruccini, Violin — Minnesota Orchestra
Milana Reiche, Violin — Minnesota Orchestra
     (recorded in Minneapolis)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”)
     Orion Weiss, Piano
     (recorded in New York’s DiMenna Center)
Thursday, July 30, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
SUSATO: Four Renaissance Dances
Karen Donnelly, Trumpet — Principal Trumpet, National Arts Centre Orchestra
Nicholas Hartman, Horn — Toronto Symphony
Andrew McCandless, Trumpet — Principal Trumpet, Toronto Symphony
Tim Smith, Trombone — Buffalo Philharmonic
Gordon Wolfe, Trombone — Principal Trombone, Toronto Symphony
     (recorded in Toronto)
BACH: Cello Suite No. 6 (excerpts)
Amos Yang, Cello — Assistant Principal Cello, San Francisco Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco)
SALONEN: Lachen verlernt (excerpts)
     Leila Josefowicz, Violin
     (recorded in Scarsdale, NY)
BERNSTEIN: Suite from West Side Story
Karen Donnelly, Trumpet
Nicholas Hartman, Horn
Andrew McCandless, Trumpet
Tim Smith, Trombone
Gordon Wolfe, Trombone
     (recorded in Toronto)
Friday, July 31, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
Kristin Ahlstrom, Violin — Associate Principal Second Violin, St. Louis Symphony
Peter Henderson, Piano — Artist-in-Residence, Maryville University
Bjorn Ranheim, Cello — St. Louis Symphony
     (recorded in St. Louis) 
GALA CONCERT – Broadway’s Brightest Stars…
Monday, August 3, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

     (recorded in New York) 
Award-winning artists Audra McDonaldKelli 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, recorded in New York. It will be presented admission-free for all as a thank-you from the Music Festival to the community.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
MOZART: The Marriage of Figaro Overture
HANDEL: “Ombra mai fu” from Xerxes
Eric Gaenslen, Cello — Freelance, San Francisco Bay Area
Jeremiah Shaw, Cello — Telegraph Quartet; Faculty, San Francisco Conservatory
Margaret Tait, Cello — San Francisco Symphony
Amos Yang, Cello — Assistant Principal Cello, San Francisco Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco)
Si-Yan Darren Li, Cello — Faculty, Cleveland Institute of Music
Marc Damoulakis, Percussion — Principal Percussion, Cleveland Orchestra
     (recorded in Cleveland)
REICH: Mallet Quartet
Marc Damoulakis, Percussion
Ian Ding, Percussion — Freelance, Chicago
Charles Settle, Percussion — Principal Percussion, Toronto Symphony
Joseph Tompkins, Percussion — Faculty, Rutgers University
     (recorded in Cleveland)
Thursday, August 6, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 (“Spring”)
Juliana Athayde, Violin — Concertmaster, Rochester Philharmonic
     Orion Weiss, Piano
     (recorded in Rochester)
BATES: Mothership
     Festival Orchestra — Alasdair Neale, Conductor
Mason Bates, Electronics

Ian Ding, Percussion — Freelance, Chicago
Shawn Weil, Violin — St. Louis Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco Conservatory and locations across North America)
FAMILY CONCERT – Inspiring Duos
Saturday, August 8, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

     (recorded in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco)
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 and the San Francisco Symphony! 
Sameer Patel, Host
Eric Gaenslen, Cello — Freelance, San Francisco Bay Area
Polina Sedukh, Violin — San Francisco Symphony
Adrienne Sengpiehl — Freelance, San Francisco Bay Area
Susan Warner, Clarinet — Assistant Principal Clarinet, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Amos Yang, Cello — Assistant Principal Cello, San Francisco Symphony 
Sunday, August 9, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31, No. 3
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
     Daniil Trifonov, Piano
     (recorded in New York’s DiMenna Center)
Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
DEBUSSY: Arabesque No. 1, L. 66
Julia Coronelli, Harp — Principal Harp, Milwaukee Symphony
     (recorded in Milwaukee)
SCHUMANN: Romance, Op. 94, No. 2
Erik Behr, Oboe — Principal Oboe, Rochester Philharmonic
     Orion Weiss, Piano
     (recorded in Rochester)
GERSHWIN: Three Preludes
Jason Shafer, Clarinet — Principal Clarinet, Colorado Symphony
     (recorded in Denver)
MAZZOLI: Vespers
Polina Sedukh, Violin — San Francisco Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco)
TCHAIKOVSKY: III. Allegro molto vivace from Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 (“Pathétique”)
     Festival Orchestra — Alasdair Neale, Conductor
     (recorded in San Francisco Conservatory and locations across North America)
Friday, August 14, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
Linda Lukas, Flute — San Francisco Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco)
DEBUSSY: String Quartet
Edgar M. Bronfman String Quartet
Jeremy Constant, Violin — Assistant Concertmaster, San Francisco Symphony
Polina Sedukh, Violin — San Francisco Symphony
David Gaudry, Viola — San Francisco Symphony
Amos Yang, Cello — Assistant Principal Cello, San Francisco Symphony
     (recorded in San Francisco)
Saturday, August 15, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
Peter Henderson, Piano — Artist-in-Residence, Maryville University
Bjorn Ranheim, Cello — St. Louis Symphony
Erin Schreiber, Violin — St. Louis Symphony
Shawn Weil, Violin — St. Louis Symphony
Shannon Williams, Viola — St. Louis Symphony
     (recorded in St. Louis)
POPS NIGHT – New Musical Frontiers
Sunday, August 16, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

     (recorded in locations across North America)
One of the most exciting musical developments in recent years has been the increasing popularity of ensembles who use their classical training to seek out new musical frontiers or, to misquote the commander of the Starship Enterprise, to boldly go where no musicians have gone before. Prepare to explore the musical universe’s outer boundaries with intrepid ensembles, including Time for ThreeThe 442sVillalobos Brothers, and more.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT
Program to be announced during the performance.
All programs, artists, dates, and times subject to change.
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