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Rebirths and Revisions In the Arts

Culture doesn't end when school does. A few of summer's prime offerings in music, theatre and art.

The exoskeleton of the new Sun Valley Summer Symphony pavilion.

The exoskeleton of the new Sun Valley Summer Symphony pavilion.

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The mountains’ majesty, the roaring rivers, the ever-present sun. Sun Valley is enough to visit for its natural amenities and those assets have inspired such incredible art opportunities for those who merely express an interest. The arts community here has it all, from professional theatre, to community festivals, art shows and galleries, street fairs and concerts. This year finds the arts in a period of unprecedented growth. Here’s a glimpse of what is on the horizon.

Sun Valley Summer Symphony: A very special summer concert series

Constructed over the winter after being the recipient of one of the largest amounts of concrete ever poured in the state of Idaho, the Sun Valley Music Pavilion built by Sun Valley Company with a $3 million contribution by Sun Valley Summer Symphony (SVSS), seats its first audience on Sunday, August 3.

For the occasion, SVSS Music Director Alasdair Neale has commissioned a short, dramatic piece by Kevin Puts, one of the top composers in the country and one of the few composers able to make a living solely by writing music.

“He’s doing a celebratory fanfare piece of eight to 10 minutes for the Sunday, August 3, opener,” executive director Jennifer Teisinger says. “Then Gil Shaham plays the Brahms Violin Concerto and the orchestra plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. We can hardly wait.”

Teisinger said the Music Pavilion, a seasonal structure built with the superior acoustics of wood, will be nothing like the white tent that has been the flagship for SVSS for more than 15 years. In honor of the new facility, SVSS has scheduled more guest artists than usual, including violinist Joshua Bell.   

Pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Orion Weiss will also play. This year, Guest Conductor Erich Kunzel puts together a pops concert with an Olympic theme.

The 14 free-admission concerts offered by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony are only the beginning for the Music Pavilion. Sun Valley Co. plans to bring performers into the space as well as rent it to other organizations. For instance, when the SVSS leaves, the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference will take over.

Built with two soaring arches and a fabric roof reminiscent of a tent, the new facility will seat 1,500 people inside. Thousands more people will be able to bring picnics and look into the Pavilion while the orchestra plays. With the tent, the orchestra was not visible to those sitting outside. The building sits near the intersection of Dollar Road and West Lake Road in Sun Valley, with a carpet of grass extending on the north side.

“It’s something like the Sydney Opera House,” says Mark Hofman, community development director for the city of Sun Valley. “Not as big, but definitely as dramatic.”

The facility has been designed with such capacity and sound quality that the full 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be able to perform in the Music Pavilion for the annual fund-raiser concert on August 9, a feat that would have been impossible in the former tent.

“I’d certainly call it the art event of the summer,” says Teisinger. >>>


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