Summer in the valley is synonymous with symphony. The sumptuous and splendid season of free symphony music began on Monday and continues tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 3, through Aug. 15 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Totaling 11 concerts in all, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony's main season attracts nationally acclaimed guests artists including, in previous years, Gil Shaham, Christopher Parkening, Joshua Bell, Frederica von Stade and Jon Kimura Parker.
Guest artists serenading the valley this season include conductor Eric Kunzel, who is returning for the third time to conduct the Pops Night on Aug. 6 and cellist Lynn Harrel, performing Elgar's Concerto for Cello in E minor, Opus 85 on Monday, Aug. 8. Mezzo Soprano Susanne Mentzer will enhance the Chamber Evening on Tuesday, Aug. 9, and Cuban pianist Horacio Gutierrez will join the orchestra on Sunday, Aug. 14, in a rendition of Brahms' Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Opus 15.
On Friday Aug. 5, students of the Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops, sponsored by the SVSS, will have an opportunity to perform in one of two concerts as part of a daylong family festival featuring children's activities in the morning. The 3 p.m. concert will include the Prelude Orchestra, Woodwind Ensemble, other small ensembles, and piano students of all levels. The 6:30 p.m. concert will feature advanced and intermediate students on piano and in the Chorus, the Chamber Music Ensemble and the Sun Valley Youth Orchestra.
The evening concert will conclude with the Sun Valley Youth Orchestra and Chorus performing a special arrangement of "Hail, Judea, happy land" from Händel's oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus.
The eighth annual Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops take place all this week and are made possible through collaboration between SVSS and Blaine County music educators. Artistic Director Virginia Allen, a faculty member at The Juilliard School, and Summer Music Workshop Coordinator Sara Gorby expect more than 130 elementary, middle and high school student-musicians to participate in this free, five-day workshop.
Masterfully overseeing the events of the 2005 symphony season is music director and conductor Alasdair Neale. Neale has once again planned a varied and exciting musical season, challenging all involved with major pieces, including Schubert's Symphony No.9, also known as the "Great," and Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Neale succeeded founder Dr. Eberl as the symphony's conductor in 1995. Now in his 11th season, he conducts a full symphony that boasts distinguished musicians from across the country. Participants are members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony and the St Louis and National Symphony orchestras. Leading artists from across Idaho also participate.
All are welcome at the symphony's free concerts that take place under the symphony tent on the Sun Valley Lodge esplanade. Picnics and canine friends are welcome on the grass surrounding the tent.
Wednesday, Aug. 3: William VerMeulen, Horn R. Strauss: Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Opus 11. Holst: Excerpts from "The Planets."
Thursday, Aug. 4: Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944, "Great."
Friday, Aug. 5: Family Festival.
Saturday, Aug. 6: Pops Night.
Sunday, Aug. 7: Dvorák: Romance in F Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 11. Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, "From the New World."
Monday, Aug. 8: Bunch: Symphony No. 1: Lichtenstein Triptych. Elgar: Concerto for Cello in E minor, Opus 85.
Tuesday, Aug. 9: J Brahms: Songs for Alto, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91. Respighi: Il Tramonto (The Sunset) for Voice and String Quartet.
Thursday, Aug. 1: Dvorák: Cypresses for String Quartet (Selected Movements). J Brahms: Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34.
Saturday, Aug. 13: Debussy: Nuages and Fetes from "Nocturnes." Chausson: Poeme, Op. 25. Ravel: "Rapsodie espagnole."
Sunday, Aug. 14: Brahms: Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15.
Monday, Aug. 15: Stravinsky: Suite from "The Firebird" (1919). Stravinsky: "The Rite of Spring" Part I: The Adoration of the Earth. Part II: The Sacrifice.