It is Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Listen carefully and you will hear the telltale signs of the season – the slight creak of wicker picnic baskets settling with gourmet treats and a fine bottle of wine; the hiss of steam as hot iron meets linen; the sticky sound of rosin on a violin bow. If you haven’t already guessed, the season is Symphony Season, that glorious time of the year that began to unfurl its many delights Sunday night at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony brings together the finest musicians anywhere and invites patrons, free of charge, to find a seat under the Pavilion sail or on the vast lawn for a dose of cultural enjoyment that lasts the whole year through. This is the largest privately funded free symphony in America and 2013 marks its 29th magical summer in the Wood River Valley.

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

Sunday’s concert, held on what was arguably the most beautiful night of the summer to date, was a part of the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series that precedes the regular concert season. Featuring members of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony including Maestro Alasdair Neale as Host and Conductor, Teddy Abrams as Host and Conductor, Nicholas Phan, Tenor and Gretchen Van Hoesen, Harp, the series, themed “The Sacred and the Profane: Spirituality Across the Globe and the Ages,” commenced with a performance of Ives’ The Unanswered Question. The In Focus Series continues July 29, July 31 and August 2 at 6 p.m.

Setting the stage for the inaugural evening and the weeks to come was Maestro Alasdair Neale who has led the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 1995. Under his magic baton, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players that present free concerts to more than 50,000 people annually. Maestro Neale’s orchestra includes distinguished and accomplished musicians from throughout North America including the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Throughout the years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has attracted internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jon Kimura Parker, Bernadette Peters, Frederica von Stade, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and many others.  This year, the world-famous violinist Midori will appear as a guest artist on August 4.  Other musicians, dancers, conductors and narrators will also grace the Pavilion stage this season in the role of guest artist.

In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers a variety of education programs for music students of all ages including the School of Music, now in its 14th year, and the Summer Music Workshops, in its 16th year. Upbeat With Alasdair talks given throughout the year and Concert Preview talks given during the symphony season help to educate music lovers of all ages.

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

The Orchestra festival begins on Sunday, August 4, at 6:30 p.m. and features Midori on the violin. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis inside the Pavilion. For those on the lawn, a 14 x 25-foot LED screen shows all Orchestra festival concerts from August 4 – August 20. Low back chairs and picnics are welcome on the lawn. New this year, there will be a kids’ music tent at every evening orchestra concert. For all the protocol of concert going, please click HERE.

If you are in Sun Valley during August, be sure to include the Summer Symphony in your schedule. Call ahead to the Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village and have them create a gourmet picnic for you, including wine if you so desire. Then find a spot on the lawn, close your eyes and prepare to be transported. There is something about live classical music in the mountains that you simply can’t replicate — a wonderful one-of-a-kind way to enjoy the best of Sun Valley.

–RES

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

River Run Rocks

A huge group turned out for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Saturday afternoon at River Run

A huge group turned out for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Saturday afternoon at River Run

It’s spring break and Sun Valley is ready to party!

Sun Valley Resort set in motion the feel good vibe of spring in the mountains on Saturday afternoon, when a crowd estimated at over 1,000 people gathered at the base of River Run to enjoy the sounds of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The afternoon was sunny and warm and concert goers peeled down to t-shirts and ski pants as they enjoyed a cold beer and hot music.

In true Sun Valley style, with the first chords from Lukas Nelson’s guitar, people rushed the dance floor and didn’t sit down again during the entire hour-and-a-half long concert.  The stage, set up just outside of Brass Ranch, offered a large area for dancing and standing and seating room stretched from the bridge to the base of the lifts.  Also in true Sun Valley style, the event drew everyone in town — from 20-somethings to kids in strollers, from retirees to Ketchum’s ubiquitous four-legged friends.

Everyone came out to relax and to enjoy the band’s signature sound. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real stopped in Sun Valley during a tour that next leads to Utah, California and Hawaii. But judging by the number of fans they have in Idaho, hopefully they will return. The four-person band is known for their high-energy performances. Though Lukas is music royalty (his father is Willie Nelson), the 25-year-old lead singer and guitar player has earned his own huge fan base with original music that is less a little bit country, and more a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

Lukas Nelson rocks River Run

Lukas Nelson rocks River Run

Saturday’s concert was the first of four free concerts celebrating spring on the mountain. The Rock ‘n The Sun Spring Concert Series will continue on March 23 with Paranoid Social Club at River Run, on April 6, The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, also at River Run and on April 13, the day before Baldy is set to close for the season with Diego’s Umbrella  at Warm Springs. Concerts run from 4:30 – 6 p.m. This is the first time Sun Valley has ever offered a free après ski concert series of this magnitude with a large outdoor stage and full concert sound system.

The recipe for apres ski spring break style? Eat, drink, be merry

The recipe for apres ski spring break style? Eat, drink, be merry

Next up, Paranoid Social Club is an American Rock band formed in 2002 in Portland, Maine. The band’s debut album Axis II produced the hit “Wasted” which was featured as the theme for Broken Lizard’s cult classic film Beerfest, as well as being the soundtrack to every college party in America, according to the band’s website. Their next album featured the single “Two Girls” which was used in HBO’s series Entourage and Cathouse and gave birth to a house remix album produced by club DJs. I’m guessing Paranoid Social Club will bring the crowd to their feet again.

No explanation needed

No explanation needed

Expect big crowds this weekend for this party band. Find a seat or your spot on the dance floor and enjoy Spring Break Sun Valley style!

Thanks to Sun Valley Resort for making spring skiing even better.

–RES