Facts About the Sun Valley Summer Symphony

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2019 Concert Dates

Winter Festival: February 19-24
In Focus Series: July 28-August 2
Orchestra Festival: August 5-22


  • Founded in 1985, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony is the largest privately funded free-admission orchestra in the country.
  • The symphony consists of over 100 musicians from major orchestras across the United States and Canada, including those in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.
  • Guest artists have included Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Thomas Hampson, James Ehnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Audra McDonald, Yuja Wang, and Deborah Voigt.
  • The 2019 season is Alasdair Neale’s 25th as Music Director. Maestro Neale is the second music director, following Dr. Carl Eberl who founded the festival with 22 musicians.
  • More than 50,000 people attend Sun Valley Summer Symphony concerts and events each year. Orchestra concerts have an average audience of approximately 4,000. The largest single concert audience was 10,417 for STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE – IN CONCERT in 2018.
  • The annual Gala is the only ticketed concert of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony season. Proceeds from the Gala help keep the rest of the concerts admission-free. The best-selling American instrumental jazz artist in the world, trumpeter Chris Botti, appeared at the 2018 Gala. Past Gala performers include Diana Krall, Garth Brooks,  the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Renée Fleming.
  • The In Focus Series, with smaller ensembles, offers three to four performances preceding each season’s orchestra festival.
  • More than 1,000 individual donors support the free concerts and music education programs annually. In addition, 14 percent of the budget comes from Gala ticket revenue.
  • Concerts are held in the spectacular R. E. Holding Sun Valley Pavilion, built from travertine hand-selected from the Mariotti quarry in Italy by the owners of Sun Valley Resort. The Sun Valley Summer Symphony contributed $3 million toward construction of this world-class venue, which opened in 2008.
  • The “Big Screen” on the lawn shows the action on the stage for every orchestra concert. An eight-person video production team provides live concert coverage during the symphony season.
  • The Sun Valley Summer Symphony is committed to music education. The year-round School of Music and the Summer Music Institute teach more than 300 students annually. Students from 27 states have attended the Institute.
  • The School of Music opened in January 2001. Private lessons, ensemble coaching, and music theory instruction are offered for elementary through high school string, vocal, and piano students. The School of Music works closely with the Blaine County School District, which is recognized as one of the best communities in music education by the National Association for Music Merchants.