This Summer, classical music lovers and intrepid explorers alike will flock to the western mountains of America for another season of music-making. Far from the opulent concert halls that dominate the annual festival series, this breathtaking natural setting allows audiences to indulge in the pure escapism of classical music…
This year sees a focus on inclusivity and accessibility, with a number of festivals offering free performances and world premieres of diverse emerging talent. With numerous performances across June, July and August, IAM spotlights three unmissable festivals that will have you booking your flights and packing your bags!
Bravo! Vail Music Festival
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Bravo! Vail Music Festival’s 36th season boasts the repeat appearance of world-renowned resident orchestras, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. The festival will also feature London’s acclaimed Academy of St Martin in the Fields under the direction of Joshua Bell, the chamber ensemble opening the first night of the festival.
Alongside this impressive line-up, the festival also places an emphasis on inclusivity, with numerous Community Concerts, Family Concerts, an Immersive Experiences series and Inside the Music sessions, where experts give their insights into the music performed at the festival. Not to be overlooked are Bravo! Vail’s celebrated chamber music performances featuring ensembles such as the Dover Quartet, Dalí Quartet, Sandbox Percussion and pianists Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Bravo! Vail also continues its New Works Symphonic Commissioning Project, with world premieres by Anna Clyne (The Philadelphia Orchestra) and Nina Shekhar (New York Philharmonic), along with the Colorado and Bravo! Vail premiere of a work by Angélica Negrón (Dallas Symphony Orchestra).
Bravo! Vail Music Festival takes place in Vail Valley, Colorado from 22 June to 3 August
Grand Teton Music Festival
In celebration of its 62nd Summer Season, the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) will grace the foothills of the Teton Mountain Range once again. Under the music direction of Sir Donald Runnicles, the season will include numerous orchestral and chamber music performances. The Festival Orchestra will feature heavily, with early highlights including Bruch’s Violin Concerto with James Ehnes before moving to Strauss’s epic Ein Heldenleben. The festival will also feature Gateway Series concerts with four diverse artists and ensembles, as well as GTMF’s newly launched opera initiative and Sunday Matinee Piano Recital series.
Following its debut last year, the opera initiative will feature a semi-staged production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, featuring seven world-class opera soloists. This year’s festival will also see a number of special events, including an evening with six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, the ever-popular Patriotic Pops concert and a free Family Concert. With eight weeks of unmissable performances, the Grand Teton Music Festival promises to be one of the best places to hear classical music this summer.
Grand Teton Music Festival takes place at Jackson Hole, Wyoming from 30 June to 19 August
Sun Valley Music Festival
After last summer’s acclaimed festival, Sun Valley Music Festival’s 39th Summer Season will gather musicians from distinguished ensembles across North America to perform over a dozen live concerts as one orchestra. As a pioneer in the accessibility of classical music, the festival will follow its unique admission-free model, allowing a diverse range of audiences to attend. Renowned guest soloists include violinist Augustin Hadelich, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, pianist Yefim Bronfman, guest conductor Stéphane Denève, and a residency with pianist Orli Shaham.
Befitting its breathtaking setting, the festival will feature Dvořák’s Symphony No.8, evoking scenes of local pastoral beauty and themes from Bohemian folk music, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No.5, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Debussy’s La Mer. Alongside these cornerstones of classical music repertoire, the programme will also include works by contemporary American composers including Mason Bates, Michael Abels and Michael Tilson Thomas.
With diverse programming, star-studded guest artists and a breathtaking setting, the Sun Valley Music Festival is the perfect addition to your summer calendar.
Sun Valley Music Festival takes place at Sun Valley, Idaho from 30 July to 24 August