SV Summer Symphony Season to Conclude With Mahler’s Symphony No. 3
One of the Symphony’s Largest Productions
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony will conclude its 2016 season on Thursday, Aug. 18, with one of one of the largest productions in its 32-year history, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.
At 92 minutes, the symphony is the longest one in the standard repertoire. It will have 106 orchestra members plus a women’s chorus and a youth chorus with 30 members each. Soloist Michelle DeYoung, a Metropolitan Opera star, will bring the total number of musicians to 167.
“Perhaps more than any of Mahler’s nine symphonies, the third embodies his dictum that ‘the symphony must be like the world: It must embrace everything,’” Music Director Alasdair Neale said.
Neale recalls that he first thought about performing the work as he was leaving a concert last year, and heard a voice calling, “Hey, Alasdair! I heard we’re doing Mahler 3 next year!”
The voice came from principal trombonist Gordon Wolfe, who was well aware that the symphony has one of the biggest trombone solos of the entire orchestral repertoire.
Neale’s immediate response was that “it could never happen.” Not only does the symphony require more than 150 people, but it also requires a place to put all of them. Such a monumental work, he also realized, would require much more rehearsal time that the two hours allocated for most Sun Valley Summer Symphony concerts.
It all came together. The Women of the American Festival Chorus in Logan, Utah, will be here. The symphony’s School of Music has been teaching a 30-voice youth choir composed of local students. More than 10 hours of rehearsal time have been put into the schedule. The symphony will put some of the extra performers on a stage extension, used for the first time with this season’s opening night performance of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”
DeYoung, the guest mezzo-soprano, has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, and has won three Grammy awards.
The concert will start at 6 p.m., rather than the usual time of 6:30. It will be free, as are all Sun Valley Summer Symphony orchestra concerts.
“Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is an immersive experience that takes us on an incredible journey. I doubt anyone listening to it for the first time will emerge unchanged,” Neale said.
DeYoung also will perform in the all-Ravel concert on Sunday, Aug. 14.
Other programs this season include soloist Augustin Hadelich in Dvorak’s Concerto for Violin in A Minor on Wednesday, Aug. 10; Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor on Thursday, Aug. 11; and “Blockbuster Film Scores,” with guest conductor Michael Krajewski on Saturday, Aug. 13. All of these concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. in the R.E. Holding Sun Valley Pavilion.
The “Musicians’ Choice Chamber Music” concert will be Monday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater in the Community Campus in Hailey.
About Sun Valley Summer Symphony
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, now in its 32nd season, is the largest privately funded free-admission orchestra in America. More than 100 world-class musicians from North America’s most distinguished orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Houston Symphony, convene for July and August concerts in the mountain resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. Internationally renowned guest artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Thomas Hampson, James Ehnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Audra McDonald, Garrick Ohlsson, Midori, Yuja Wang and Deborah Voigt have performed in the spectacular Sun Valley Pavilion, set in front of Bald Mountain and built from travertine hand-selected in Italy for the venue. In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony is involved in the community, sponsoring the year-round School of Music for students ages 9 to 18, Summer Music Workshops and adult education programs. Additional information is available online at svsummersymphony.org.