Wednesday, June 8, 2016
America’s top ski resorts, which tend to be full of luxury hotels, great restaurants, shopping and outdoor activities, also offer an incredible lineup of music, from classical to jazz, bluegrass, rock, and contemporary. Many of these destinations are also “off season” bargains in summer.
Sun Valley, ID: America’s very first destination ski resort also has one of the most well-established musical events, the Sun Valley Symphony, celebrating 31 seasons as the largest privately funded, free-admission symphony in America. A summer tradition (June-August), the symphony attracts locals and visitors alike who picnic on the lawn with Champagne and extravagant hampers. There are also 1,600-seats inside the beautiful purpose built pavilion. This season’s highlight is Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” reimagined in a grand production using immense and elaborate puppets to bring the ballet to life (August 1).
Telluride, CO: A major attractions since 1977, the Telluride Jazz Festival (August 5-7) uses limited ticket sales to foster an intimate format and gives visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the open air Telluride Town Park music venue, with a soundtrack provided by acclaimed artists, Grammy Award winners, innovators, and some of the best student bands in the country. This year’s guest of honor is John Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen. At night the music moves into historic indoor music venues for late night “Jazz After Dark” performances, offering up-close viewing of artists. On Sunday, a New Orleans party kicks off with a second line brass band parade down Main Street with colorful floats, costumes, beads and decorations.
Aspen, CO: Founded in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School is a premier classical music festival and summer educational program, bringing together top music students, artist-faculty, and performers to create transformative educational experiences. More than 600 talented young musicians travel from across the globe to study with the world’s top music teachers, who represent nearly all the major U.S. orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The 2016 season offers nearly 300 musical events, including operas, orchestral concerts, chamber music, recitals, and master classes. The main venue is the 2,050-seat Benedict Music tent, which also offers additional lawn seating. Highlights this summer include Renee Fleming performing with the Aspen Festival Orchestra and a recital by Philip Setzer, David Finckel and Wu Han (June-August).
Vail, CO: Vail has the biggest lineup of summer music festivals and events, and many weeks you can go to a free concert Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Hot Summer Nights Free Concert Series, held most Tuesdays, ranges from rock to country to bluegrass to funk, at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater. On four Wednesdays in June and July is the Vail Summer Bluegrass Series, featuring national-level, award-winning, high-energy talent, performing at the Arrabelle at Vail Square in the Lionshead base area. The 22nd Annual Vail Jazz Festival (June 26-September 5) is one of Vail’s iconic summer events and includes 40 shows over 12 weeks, concluding with the Labor Day Weekend Vail Jazz Party, when top jazz musicians converge on the town for over 30 hours of live jazz. Shows are throughout the village.
But Vail’s biggest attraction is Bravo!, a ticketed event. The six-week Bravo! Vail Music Festival (July 1 – August 6) is in its 29th year and attracts some of the highest quality classical musicians in the world today. It claims to be the only festival in North America hosting three of the world’s finest orchestras in a single season – each summer, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic take up residence in Vail, with programs of great classics, plus jazz and pops. New this year, Bravo! begins a three-performance residency with London’s internationally acclaimed chamber orchestra Academy of St. Martin in the Field (June 23, 25 and 26). In addition, world-renowned chamber music artists perform a diverse and eclectic series throughout the festival.
Jackson, WY: Held on in Sundays in Teton Village, Concert on the Commons is unusual among all of the festivals in that it is the only one where food and drink are provided by the Four Seasons Jackson, one of just four Forbes 5-Star ski-in/ski-out hotels in the world, with beer, wine, specialty cocktails, and a plethora of food options (Teton Village shops also offer food and drink to bring to the concert). Teton Village is the resort base of the famed Jackson Hole ski resort outside of Jackson proper, home to the area’s top hotels including the Four Seasons, Teton Mountain Lodge and Terra, and the ski resort runs scenic chairlift and tram rides all summer long. As the gateway to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Jackson is the rare ski town that is actually busier in summer than winter, and especially so this year, with the Centennial of the National Park Service, of which Yellowstone was the first. Occupancy and prices for hotel rooms will be at all-time highs, so it’s nice that Concert on the Commons, a fun summer concert series held each Sunday, is free.
Olmsted, Larry. "Music Lover's Dream: Summer At Ski Resorts." Forbes. June 03, 2016. Accessed June 08, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2016/06/04/music-lovers-dream-summer-at-ski-resorts/#6ccbaa2a354c.