Thursday, August 13, 2020
Sun Valley Music Festival Adds Mason Bates, the 442s to Its Summer Lineup
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Brian Stokes Mitchell had the COVID crud early on but recovered to sing to front line workers from the balcony of his New York apartment.
   
Friday, July 3, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Normally, the buzz come symphony season is about the hundred-some musicians who crowd onto the stage of the Sun Valley Pavilion, bows in hand and trumpets against pursed lips.

This summer’s Sun Valley Music Festival will be just as dependent on more than a hundred sound and video professionals who will capture performances from musicians nationwide.

Film director James Darrah will join Music Director Alasdair Neale in creating a pandemic symphony season that can be seen from the sofa in your living room or on the Pavilion Lawn in front of one or maybe even two jumbo screens.

The Sun Valley Music Festival has announced its new repertoire for its reimagined 36th annual summer season, which begins Monday, July 27, and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Guests artists who were announced in pre-pandemic times, including Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara and Brian Stokes Mitchell, will perform. A few new artists will perform along with the Festival Orchestra, as well.

They include Mason Bates, a Grammy award-winning American composer who treated symphony audiences to a concert of electronic dance music last summer. Also, the 442s, a genre-defying acoustic quartet made up of the St. Louis region’s finest jazz and classical musicians and named for the modern standard tuning concert pitch of 442 Hz.

And, yes, the Sun Valley Music Festival will still perform a series of Beethoven masterpieces designed to celebrate 250 years of the composers’ birth.

Celebrated masterworks for solo, chamber and orchestra—think Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Bernstein’s Suite from “West Side Story” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”—will also be performed in new and exciting ways. Did we mention the Beatles will even get their due?

The mood will be lighthearted and joyful during a time that has resembled “The Twilight Zone.”

The online presentation will offer viewers personal glimpses of orchestra musicians as the cameras go into their homes, while fulfilling the Festival’s mission of instilling a love of classical music through extraordinary free concerts.

“This summer season is designed, first and foremost, as a big virtual bear hug to the community, which has supported us for over 35 years,” said Alasdair Neale. “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.”

The entire season will feature new content, unlike virtual concerts taking place across the United States that involve reruns of concerts performed last year or even before.

There’ll be 14 concert programs, with performances staged at concert halls, universities and homes in such cities as Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Rochester, San Francisco, St. Louis and Toronto.

Some will be video-synced performances and full orchestra works featuring musicians conducted in person by Alasdair Neale. Neale will offer commentary and engage in conversations with guest artists and orchestra musicians.

Beethoven scholar Jan Swafford, who had been scheduled as a guest speaker during the season, will provide musical commentary to online audiences.

Reservations to attend on the lawn will be required; access won’t be available until the gates open at 5 p.m. to ensure attendees can arrive, be seated and exit following safety guidelines. The Festival will provide more information about the lawn in coming weeks.

The Lawn Party, Pre-Concert Chats, Kids’ Music Tent and Family Night Instrument Petting Zoo will return next year after a hiatus this summer.

All concerts are free and will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time at www.svmusicfestival.org. The broadcasts will not be available on demand or for download.

Opening Concert

Monday, July 27, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

SMITH:  Star Spangled Banner

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 and locations across North America)

 

French Elegance, German Passion

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)

 

From Bach to Bernstein and Beyond

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)

 

Beethoven’s Archduke

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: Broadway’s Brightest Stars…

Monday, August 3, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

     (recorded in New York)

Award-winning artists Audra McDonald, Kelli 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.

 

Strings and Mallets

Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

MOZART: The Marriage of Figaro Overture

HANDEL: “Ombra mai fu” from Xerxes

BEATLES: TBA

     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)

GOLIJOV: Mariel

     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)

 

 

Beethoven and Bates

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, Electronica

     Ian Ding, Percussion — Freelance, Chicago

     Shawn Weil, Violin — St. Louis Symphony

     (recorded in San Francisco 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

 

Daniil Trifonov: Musical Pictures
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)

Color and Light

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 and locations across North America)

 

French Impressions

Friday, August 14, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

DEBUSSY: Syrinx

     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)

Brahms’s Magnum Opus

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 Three, The 442s, Villalobos Brothers, and more.

Season Finale: Encores

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 6:30 p.m. MT

Program to be announced during the performance.

 

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