About The Symphony

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony

The mission of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony is to provide exceptional, free-admission classical music performances that inspire and enrich lives through dynamic and engaging artistic programming and educational and cultural opportunities.

Our History

The largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrates 30 seasons in the glorious Idaho mountains. Founded in 1985 as the Elkhorn Music Festival by Dr. Carl Eberl, professor emeritus at the College of the City University of New York, and his wife Julianne, the orchestra grew from 22 musicians to 55 at the time of his retirement. Under the leadership of Maestro Alasdair Neale since 1995, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players and presents free concerts to over 50,000 people annually.

Maestro Neale, now in his 20th Sun Valley Summer Symphony season, conducts a full symphony orchestra that includes distinguished musicians from major orchestras 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. The Sun Valley Summer Symphony also presents the In Focus Series which precedes the regular concert season and features members of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Throughout the years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has attracted internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Eugene Brancoveanu, Chris Botti, Christine Brewer, Yefim Bronfman, James Ehnes, Vadim Gluzman, Denyce Graves, Horacio Gutierrez, Nathan Gunn, Lynn Harrell, Leila Josefowicz, Erich Kunzel, Audra McDonald, Midori, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jon Nakamatsu, Christopher Parkening, Jon Kimura Parker, Bernadette Peters, Gil Shaham, Frederica von Stade, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Deborah Voigt, Yuja Wang and Shai Wosner.

In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has a variety of education programs for music students of all ages. The School of Music is in its 15th year and the Summer Music Workshops celebrates its 17th season this summer. As part of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony adult education programs, the community is invited to learn about music to be performed through Upbeat With Alasdair talks given throughout the year and Concert Preview talks given during the symphony season.