To top the 2010 Sun Valley Summer Symphony would appear to be a challenge for 2011. The symphony's incredible list of guest performers and performances were enjoyed by thousands of people. For 2011, don't expect anything less.
"The overview of this season is to be a spotlight on the orchestra," said Jennifer Teisinger, Sun Valley Summer Symphony executive director. "Last season was about the artists in front of the orchestra. We will have guest soloists, but we will be doing works to showcase the orchestra."
In its 27th season, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony will include five chamber music and 10 orchestra performances. All performances will showcase the world-class orchestra and feature internationally renowned guest artists. In keeping with its mission, all orchestra concerts have free admission at the symphony's home at the Sun Valley Pavilion, at Sun Valley Resort.
"Over the last few months, I've had the pleasure of assembling a variety of programs, which I hope will excite and entertain in equal measure," said Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale. "In addition to the distinguished roster of soloists, I'm particularly happy to note that the orchestra itself will be spotlighted in a number of pieces that will showcase our national 'all-star' team of musicians from across the country and beyond."
Neale said Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony will be performed for the first time in Sun Valley, and Mahler's First and Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony will also be performed again. In all three works, audiences will have a chance to reflect on the extraordinary wealth of musical talent that descends on the Wood River Valley each summer.
The free orchestra concerts begin on Monday, Aug. 1, with Sun Valley favorite Jean-Yves Thibaudet performing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. New this season is the symphony's Artist in Residence program, with Thibaudet as the first performer to hold this title. Thibaudet will be involved in every facet of Sun Valley Summer Symphony activities, including working with Summer Music Workshops students, as well as performing as a chamber and orchestra musician.
In addition, the symphony and Sun Valley Resort have committed to working together to provide a large-scale LED screen and permanent infrastructure to mount it. Plans for the screen are to have it be erected on the southeast corner of the Pavilion lawn in a similar position as it was located in 2010.
"One of the big successes of last summer was the addition of the large LED screen on the lawn, said symphony President Brittain Palmedo. "We are enthusiastic to have the opportunity in the 2011 season to offer free concerts to even larger audiences with the return of the big screen."
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony season begins as it has in past summers with a week of chamber music performances. With a new name and thematic programming vision, the Edgar M. Bronfman "In Focus" series debuts on Sunday, July 24, and continues with performances on July 26, 28 and 29. The purpose of the series is to go inside the music and learn more about a specific musical theme. The debut "In Focus" series this summer will explore the theme "Vive la France." Focusing on French classical music, each concert begins at 5:30 p.m. with a lecture and musical demonstration of the chamber music concert, which follows at 6:30 p.m. The "In Focus" series will incorporate a range of chamber music and recital repertoire from sonatas to duets, quartets and culminate with a chamber orchestra performance on Friday, July 29.
Also happening for 2011, the symphony will join forces with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and the Community Library of Ketchum in a first-time collaboration to explore minimalism as a movement in the visual arts, music and architecture. The collaboration, "How Much Less is More," will have programs at all three organizations that will relate to minimalism as it manifests itself in each of their particular artistic arenas. The exhibition and exploration takes place from Aug. 4 through Sept. 30.
The symphony will explore minimalism as a compositional foundation in works by John Adams including "The Chairman Dances" on Aug. 4 and a work by Nico Muhly "Wish You Were Here" on Aug. 7.
The Ketchum-based Sun Valley Center for the Arts will present work by Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Fred Sandback, and Sol LeWitt alongside contemporary artists Wes Mills, Stuart Arends, Richard Tuttle, and Ruth Laskey, complemented by lectures and gallery talks Aug. 5 to Sept. 30.
The Community Library is planning lectures and panel discussions on both minimalist architecture and minimalism in literature and their contemporary manifestations.
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony schedule of performances and events can be found at www.svsummersymphony.org. For more details, call 622-5607.
Sabina Dana Plasse: email@example.com